Make an inexpensive (but beautiful) Fall Leaves Garden Flag using a Dollar Store Placemat! Pull out your sewing machine (or skip the stitching and use your iron and some hem tape instead.) You can have a gorgeous fall garden flag in an hour or less. Plus, this is the perfect activity to do with the kids before school starts.

Sure, we’re in the thick of a heat wave here in Raleigh, NC. But luckily fall is around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about fall decorating! I like to create a beautiful garden flag for each season using a few simple supplies from the Dollar Store. Ready to make one? Great, let’s get to it.


*Optional: hand sew or use hem tape if you don’t have a sewing machine


1. Fold over the top of your placemat 2 inches. Stitch across the edge. (I used a decorative stitch, but a straight stitch is fine too.)

2. Create a stencil using a Silhouette, other craft cutter, or use pre-cut letter stencils. Adhere the stencil to the placemat. (Place centers of letters if needed.)

3. Squeeze out a small amount of fabric paint onto a paper plate.

4.  Pounce or use a stencil brush to dab paint over the stencil. For more colorful letters, use yellow on one side and orange on the other. Let the colors overlap in the middle.

5. Remove stencil. Allow the fabric paint to dry.

6. Arrange and pin silk leaves onto garden flag.

7. Stitch leaves onto the flag along the “veins”.

8. Trim the excess threads off the flag.

9. Lay flag out on a flat surface.

10. Paint on glittery curly trails to simulate the path of a falling leaf.

When the flag is dry, thread it onto a garden flag stand and place it by your entryway. At the end of the season, store the flag flat to keep it looking fresh for many years to come.

If you liked this tutorial you may like my other garden flag tutorials:





Valentine’s Day

I hope you enjoy this fall season and experience beautiful fall weather soon!

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Have you ever wanted to learn about Installing Concrete Paver Edging?

Edging can be a beautiful and decorative addition to your landscaping. It can delineate two different landscape materials, but can also prevent lighter weight materials (like mulch and fine gravel) from washing out during rain storms. Ultimately landscape edging is one element that easily adds value and a professional touch in your yard. Hello, it’s Diane + Dean back again to share how to install concrete paver edging around an area in your backyard.

There are many types of edging you can chose from. Landscape edging is available in many materials: plastic, steel, poured concrete, stone, and wood. It’s up to you to choose materials that will fit with your landscape style. But, today we’ll be showing you how to install concrete paver edging, which is beautiful, long lasting, and can be a very affordable choice for edging around your flower beds or garden. Ready to learn how to install your own concrete paver edging? You can definitely do this!

Installing Concrete Paver Edging Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Installing Concrete Paver Edging Instructions:

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

In the above photo we used plastic edging at first. We installed it while building out this gravel pathway but it wasn’t performing the way we had hoped for in this particular area. Anytime we had a lot of rain, the gravel would wash over the plastic. We decided to scrap the plastic edging and use some extra concrete pavers to provide more stability between the two areas.

Step 1: Use a shovel or use your hands to dig out an area slightly wider than the pavers. Dig down about an inch so the pavers will be slightly raised above the ground level.

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Step 2: Level the dirt (base) so that the pavers will be level when laid next to each other. (You may need to remove any leaves or fallen tree debris to achieve a nice level surface.

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Step 3: Starting at one end, begin laying your pavers next to each other.

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Work one paver at a time, adjusting the soil underneath to level it with the adjacent stones.

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Step 4: Using the rubber mallet, strike the end of each paver to secure it as tightly as possible to the previously laid one. To help achieve a level paver line, you may use the mallet to pound the top of the pavers as well.

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Step 5: When you arrive at a curve in your design, create a gradual bend. Make sure the corners of the pavers meet at one point. You may have to re-position the pavers a few times to get it to fit just right!

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Tips for working with curves:

  • Equal the spacing between pavers, so that the gap is similar for each paver. Instead of a large gap between two pavers, spread the gap over multiple pavers (5 or 6) so it isn’t as drastic a turn.
  • Use a garden hose or string to lay out curves, but you can also use spray marking chalk to help with the layout. Draw a curve on the ground using the marking paint and step back to take a look. If you don’t like it or want to fix specific areas on the curve, scratch the paint off with your foot and re-draw your line.
  • Check your work as you go along! Step back, take a deep breath and see if you need to make adjustments. Don’t try to conquer Rome in a single pass! We have found that by stepping back to look at the projects as you go is a great way to make adjustments instead of having to go back when you think everything is done. It is also a great way to appreciate the work you have completed so far and gain a greater sense of accomplishment.

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Step 6: Fill in the gaps with landscape gravel if creating a pathway.

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Where the pavers do not meet completely, fill in with small landscape gravel to give a cohesive look.

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Fill your second area with a contrasting material (like mulch, pine straw, soil, grass or other natural elements.

Installing Concrete Paver Edging

If you liked this post on concrete paver edging you may also want to see how we built a concrete paver walkway.


Installing Concrete Paver Edging

Want more landscaping ideas? See how to add a mulch and stone path in a few hours:

How to Create an Inexpensive Stone & Mulch Walkway

Or learn the basics of landscaping your yard:

Landscaping 101: Tools, Planting, and Adding Color to your Landscaping | Pretty Handy Girl


Pin for later!

Installing Concrete Paver Edging | Pretty Handy Girl

using a grid to hang indoor plants

DIY living wall tutorialDIY Living Wall Planter Tutorial

For anyone who lives in a “not so sunny” place (and needs a quick pick me up from the dull grey skies), you’ll find this easy DIY Living Wall Planter Tutorial just what you’ve been craving. Even if you live in the sunshine state, bringing the outdoors inside may have a lot of benefits for your health.  According to the NASA clean air study (which was led by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America), certain indoor plants naturally remove toxins from your indoor air.

This project was inspired by our outdoor green wall. We thought it would be fun to create a wall planter for indoor use. Similar to an outdoor living wall, an indoor one gives a natural feel to any empty space in your home.

Diane and Dean's Outdoor Living Plant Wall

Do you have a blank wall that needs some decor?  Why not dress up this space with a mini living wall? This project is easy enough for the beginner do it yourself-er, so let’s get started.

DIY Living Wall Planter Tutorial Materials:


DIY Living Wall Planter Tutorial Instructions:

The wall grid we found in the organization aisle at Lowe’s Home Improvement store was under $6.00.  It measures 22 inches by 24 inches. The size was prefect, but I wasn’t crazy about the color.

organizer re-purposed as living wall planter

Spray paint the wall plant holder if you wish. You can use spray paint you have on hand or purchase the color of your choice.  (I almost chose a rustic bronze to match the bronze iron farmhouse bed but decided to paint it white.)  The great news is that you can always paint over it if you tire of the original paint or decide to move it to another room.  Obviously, you want to spray paint in a well ventilated area. Let the grid dry. (It should dry within 30 minutes or so.)

How to DIY a living wall

Step 1: Eyeball or measure a spot on the wall to hang your living wall.

Hold the wall plant holder up on the wall. Use a level to make sure your holder is level.

level to align wall grid

Hold up the Blecka hooks and mark the holes with a pencil. Drill the drywall anchor into the wall at these marks. (Alternatively, you can attach the hooks to wall studs.)  This wall grid is not extremely heavy, so securing the hooks to studs is optional.)

ikea blecka hook to hang wall grid

Step 2:  Hang the wall plant holder onto the Blecka hooks (make sure it is completely dry before hanging.)

How to DIY a living wall

Step 3:    Place your plants into the planters. You can leave them in the original plastic pots they came in and simply place them into the holder. (When you water the plants the water can actually drain down to the plastic holder. Periodically pour out any water that accumulates.)

ivy plants and Ikea plastic bins

Step 4:  Now, for the fun part! To finish off your living wall planter, slide the plastic containers onto the wall grid. Play around with the placement of the plants until it appeals to your eye.

ikea organizer used for living wall

(Note: the plastic bins from IKEA with the wide hook on the back are perfect for this project. If you purchase different bins, you might need to add your own hooks.)

Feel free to use your imagination with this project.  Use succulents, different color plants, flowers, or something totally different like office utensils if hanging in a home office.

DIY Living wall

My white living wall hanger is hung on a wall painted with Magnolia Homes Brand “Shiplap” paint. The greenery stand out on the light colored walls.  Imagine what you can do with copper sprayed grid on dark or light colored walls! You can also spray paint the Blecka hooks to blend into the wall. Go ahead and get spray paint happy with the white plastic plant holders. Bright colors could really bring this project to life!

Living wall planter

We thought a little greenery in our newly remodeled farmhouse guest bedroom would add the perfect natural element.  Have fun with this quick and easy mini living wall project that brings natural elements indoors.

DIY Living Wall Planter Tutorial

How to Compost - Magnificent Garden Soil| Pretty Handy Girl

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you compost? Oh my gosh, if you don’t, why not?!!! It is easy, it’s great for the environment and it will result in amazing nutrient rich soil that surpasses anything you can buy from a store! Some of the additional benefits are that you will reduce the amount of trash you produce and keep things out of the landfill.

Keep reading to learn How to Compost and create your own magnificent garden soil!

Now, I totally understand if you are living in the big city in an apartment and really don’t have space for compost let alone potted plants (but if you do want to compost, read more about worm composting in a container.) However, f you have a yard, you really should be composting! It’s easy, it takes very little time, and my little wiggly BFFs (aka worms) do all the work for you.

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

That’s right, they eat up all your kitchen and yard waste and turn it into beautiful black soil. How do they do it? If I tell you, you have to promise that you won’t get grossed out. They poop it out. LOL. Yup, compost is decomposition and worm castings (a nicer word for worm poop.) Please don’t run away, find out how easy it is to create this magnificent garden soil.

Here’s the basics for how to compost and get top quality soil for your garden and landscaping for FREE!

How to Compost – Magnificent Garden Soil Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

  • Spading ForkHow to Compost
  • Sealed bucket or container to store kitchen scraps:

Attractive Compost Pails I wouldn't mind having in my kitchen!

Blue and White Floral CrockSea Blue Compost CrockGreen Stoneware Crock
 Copper Compost Bin  |  OXO Flip Lid Compost Container  |  Red Ceramic Crock
Green Metal Pail  | Bamboo Compost Pail  | Sprout Compost Container


What can be composted?

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Kitchen scraps
    • raw fruits
    • vegetables
    • egg shells
  • Coffee grounds and the filter
  • Newspapers, non-glossy cardboard, paper towels
  • Leaves (brown for carbon and green for nitrogen rich)
  • Grass clippings
  • Plant & flower clippings
  • Yard waste

What can’t be composted?

  • Meats
  • Dairy products
  • Processed foods
  • Plastic
  • Man made substances
  • Metals

Okay, you get the picture. Only raw fruits and veggies (and egg shells), okay?


Your pile doesn’t have to be anything special. A simple a hole in the ground is fine. Find a partially shaded spot in your yard. A shady spot is ideal so the pile doesn’t get dried out in the hot sun. If you’ve had a dry spell for a while, go ahead and water the pile. If you have pets, put a little fencing around it to keep them from getting into the compost. (Eating decomposing food can make them sick.) Don’t worry too much about wild animals (unless you have a serious pest problem.) Animals will come sniffing around and may dig a scrap or two out of the pile, but they rarely take up residence in your yard. However, if you are concerned about pests, go ahead and purchase a closed bin for your yard.  Otherwise, save your money, a fancy tumbler or bin aren’t necessary for the compost to produce.

How to Compost:

Keep your compost bucket in your kitchen. (We keep our pail under the sink, but if you have a pretty container you can leave it on the countertop.)

How to Compost - Magnificent Garden Soil| Pretty Handy Girl

After cutting veggies or fruit, toss the scraps in the bucket. Coffee grounds can get thrown in, filter and all! Egg shells are also great for your compost.

When the bucket is full, take your scraps outside to the compost pile. Clear a hole in your pile, dump the scraps and cover them over with dirt or soil (this will prevent attracting too much wildlife to your pile.)

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

Occasionally throw in some torn up strips of newspaper to add some “carbon” source to the pile. The key to a healthy compost is to have a good mixture of green (nitrogen rich) vs. brown (carbon rich) materials. Don’t overload on grass clippings or yard waste.

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

Flip some fresh soil on top of the scraps and walk away! That’s it. What about my BFFs, the worms? If you start the pile, they will come. Trust me, they’ll find your pile. If you’re super antsy, you could buy some red wigglers from a fishing bait place, but honestly why bother? Soon you’ll have big fat overfed worms happily working for you for free. Go back in 2-3 weeks and check on the progress of your magnificent garden soil.

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

I usually grab my magnificent soil from the bottom when I need it. But, you can split your pile in two. Use one side to add scraps to and let the other side “marinade” to perfection. Then switch sides. Frankly my little worm army works pretty fast. Within a month they have produced enough compost to fill some potted plants and more. I rarely buy soil anymore unless I need a huge amount.

What about composting in the winter? If you aren’t under a dumping of snow, your pile can still work in the winter. In fact, you’ll be surprised to see the warm steam rising from the pile when you dig into the center.

Compost Tea:

Now that you have a rockin’ compost pile you may want to learn how to make a compost tea to further nourish your plants and help them be healthier and heartier! I haven’t tried it yet, but you better believe I’ll be brewing some compost tea this year.

Share this article with your friends and do something environmentally friendly! Pin this graphic to refer to later:

How to Compost - Magnificent Garden Soil| Pretty Handy Girl

Now that you have compost to use, learn how to create a rot resistant planter bed:

How to Build a Rot-Resistant Raised Planter Bed | Pretty Handy Girl

And maybe you want to dip your toes in the Square Foot Gardening craze!


Backyard Landscaping Plans | Pretty Handy Girl

Backyard Landscaping Plans | Pretty Handy Girl

I know many of you come to my blog for exciting and inspiring ideas. I love showing you beautiful spaces and makeovers. Sadly, today I have to show you the ugly side of our house. Our backyard is quite a sight. It’s been on our “want to do” list for years. The landscape timbers that were previously a pathway have deteriorated more and more until the spikes that hold them in place are exposed and all the pea gravel has spilled out. We are in need of some major backyard landscape plans.

Backyard Landscaping Plans | Pretty Handy Girl

You can’t tell from this picture, but by the end of summer this pathway (if you can even call it a pathway) is a mini forest of weeds. It’s been an eyesore for so long. It’s best to avert your eyes.

There are more rotted steps leading down to the backyard. It’s a disgrace back there.

Backyard Landscaping Plans | Pretty Handy Girl

Beside the house there was a similar pathway, but the landscape timbers have long since rotted and disappeared. I usually add a few bags of pea gravel every year to give us a mud-free path to walk on when taking out the trash. This has been a band-aid solution, but not a permanent solution.

Backyard Landscaping Plans | Pretty Handy Girl

I am wincing at these photos because it shows how bad our yard really is. (The uncoiled hose adds to the “I could care less.” look.) It’s a wonder our neighbors haven’t notified the homeowner’s association about the situation.

Backyard Landscaping Plans | Pretty Handy Girl

This explains why we only invite close friends over for s’mores and hot dogs at our fire pit. We feel safe knowing they probably wouldn’t sue us if someone tripped on that uneven fire pit circle.

Backyard Landscaping Plans | Pretty Handy Girl

Plus, our friends are usually more forgiving when we tell them to tread carefully over the rocks and roots leading up to the fire pit.

Backyard Landscaping Plans | Pretty Handy Girl

The other side of the fence was previously a dumping ground for all the sticks and limbs that fall in our yard. A few years ago we had to take out two big trees. That gave us one thing our yard truly lacked: a big sunny spot!

Backyard Landscaping Plans | Pretty Handy Girl

The thought of being able to finally have a place to grow fresh vegetables has me giddy and excited to get started soon! You can see some of the ideas I have for this garden space on my Landscaping Pinterest Board. Read more