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There’s no Place Like Home. Explore the Promise of a Better 2021: How to Live the Good Life with Exterior Design, Gardens, Cocktail Culture


I am willing to bet that most of us wouldn’t argue that making those 2020 predictions at the start of last year never, ever imagined what was about to careen into our worlds… 

So you might find it a wee bit bold or a fool’s errand that I’m even considering sharing a Trend Predictor or Forecast for 2021.

And yet. 

My belief is that rather than all the recent mea culpas by the professional prognosticators who claim that heretofore we’ve all taken things like health, family, and home for granted, (and then go on to promote their products or services…)  I am convinced we all know that is emphatically not true. I double-dare anyone to prove that that was the case. 

We’ve long cherished our family and friends.

I suggest that instead, what we crave is the normalcy that comes with scheduled regimes.  When that’s upended, we’re at a collective loss.  

We need our routines. Our disciplines.  

Therefore, my first forecast for 2021 is we will relinquish the sense of self pity. Let’s stop whining about the life we had before coronavirus. Moreover, there are far, far too many of us who have lost family and friends to this covid. Let’s honor them. And recognize there have been pandemics previously – throughout history. Isolating and staying at home this time is way more connected than any previous catastrophe. 

I say buck up. Learn from those who suffered in true isolation. 

No less than Nelson Mandela who endured the most egregious form of isolation, noted that there was “no end and no beginning; there is only one’s own mind which can begin to play tricks.”  I read that he established routines. His integrity demanded courtesy and manners. Plus, he found peace in his garden on Robben Island. 

Gandhi (who was also jailed in South Africa…) found solace in cooking. He organized to gain permission (for his fellow Indians) to cook their own food. Gandhi helped in that food preparation and cooking; and twice a day distributed the food. 

In addition, these moral icons read like there was no tomorrow.

There are countless others who have much to teach us. 

In this spirit of learning from the past rather than a fake nostalgia for a life that was “before pandemic,” I share what a pragmatic future can look like for those who still pursue an artful piece of the world that embraces my favorite genres: Gardens, Homegrown Food, Tablescapes, and Garden-to-Glass Cocktails. 

I’ve always appreciated the determination and optimism of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and refer often to her quote, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with… There’s no place like home.”

Come Explore the Promise of a Better 2021 

When you first read about “pods” did you think it was relatable to you? 

As a horticulturist, I just thought it was a fruit or seed case… Ha, ha (smile).

In this new world order, it refers to those in your immediate, “small, self-contained networks of people who limit their non-distanced social interaction to one another—in other words, they’re the small group of people with whom you share air without using breath-control precautions such as masks” (!) 

How to Form a Pandemic Pod | Greater Good

Trends For 2021

  • The Glory of Gardens as Home Entertainment Spaces

In the new Pandemic Portal of Hope, Entertaining in the socially distanced world we now inhabit with our global friends and family, I forecast that even more homeowners and renters, will create home-based Entertainment spaces outdoors.  

I’ve already designed a drive-in styled Garden Theater space.  

And GrillScape Gardens 

Why not home concert venues?  

You might enlist private bands or musicians — or dancers – to host and entertain you and your guests: socially-distanced, of course. 

I can design garden rooms to amplify and embrace music. 

Second Life Marketplace - LOVE - Outdoor Concert/ Venue  Concert, garden, fairy lights, summer nights, music, backyard, intimate by  Asako M. Photo stock - Snapwire

Think fairy lights.  Blankets, Pillows. Plants. Magic.

Outdoor Entertainment is doable most of the year, in most every temperate zone. 

As a garden designer, I’ve always created garden spaces for my clients that reflect their lifestyle, including outdoor kitchens, edible gardens, and fragrance gardens.  

I see even more of a desire for that in 2021. 

You don’t need an estate or even a suburban yard.  Rooftop gardens or terrace gardens with container or raised bed gardens work their magic too.

parterre tower.jpgparterre-planter-in-situ.jpg

I saw that Pennoyer & Newman added a Parterre Planter Collection. Readers know I adore Virginia and her custom planters. I recommend them to my clients. 

The planters are recreated and cast from originals that accessorized the great gardens of the world.  There are many lightweight, beautiful planters in their collections that will add drama and enduring good looks to your terrade or rooftop or patio or pool area.  

I also recommend Brooklyn-based Opiary. I’ve reviewed and written about them previously. 

At the same time, there are many other sources. I see some good looking pots on Etsy. You can also make Hypertufa or cedar containers or ones using reclaimed wood. 

You can also support your local artists: look for a link in your online community. There are many folks who will create a container design in the medium of your choice: wood, ceramic, concrete (you can paint these pots as I have for clients), or re-purpose cans, jars, shoes, or wagons!

Make Recycled Shoe Planters » Dollar Store Crafts9 Ways to Use Old Shoes as Planters

Last year, I wanted to add something special to the three raised beds for Gina & Ted, a special garden design client, in time for their wedding.  

I was inspired by the two golden tractor tires, at the Paris Opera, titled Les Saturnales, that were used to create such an astonishing illusion. When describing the work, Claude Lévêque said, “They galvanise, for me, the organic and mechanic aspect of the symmetrical, ornamentally-charged architecture of the Palais Garnier, which is a call for performances.”

A pair of golden tyres at the Opéra Garnier in Paris provokes public ire |  The Art Newspaper 

Moi aussi!  Garden Art has long been referred to as the “slowest of the performing arts.” 

Knowing Gina and Ted are committed recycle advocates, I figured they were game. 

I selected the tires, spray-painted them gold, and voila!  Three “rings” for the wedding. One topped with a “jewel” of an heirloom vase that is Ted’s Mother’s.  Creativity is liberating.  

Now, the tires are all-season planters. We all love what Gina and Ted have added to the look this past year.  Did I say cosmos, marigolds and more sunflowers? 

  • Home is now the undisputed place where we dine and entertain.  

I’ll be looking to design more diverse outdoor garden rooms that feature cozy and relaxed entertainment centers; more seating.  

2021 will be the year you will want to add more quality outdoor seating to the various garden rooms, in addition to adding modular seating furniture that will allow you to distance and get cozy, depending on the Pod.  Munder-Skiles offers ravishingly beautiful garden furniture. 

10 best sofas and outdoor seating for summer | London Evening Standard  15 Ways to Arrange Your Porch Furniture

Frontgate, Ballard Designs, and Wayfair, to name a few resources, will provide you with lots of options.  And ask your garden designer!  

You can also make pallet furniture  Pallet Garden Seating Furniture | Pallet Furniture Plans  

And modularize as needed. 

When you create your outdoor Entertaining Garden Rooms, consider how these spaces can not only readily accommodate social distancing but how much you had been dreaming you wanted these looks and experiences. It’s not that you have to but that you want to create these home spaces.  Now, there’s no reason to put off the design. 

  • Outdoor Dining. Upgrade from the picnic table. Unless it looks like this! How to Style an Outdoor Dining Table | DIY (DIY Network)

20 DIY Ideas for Outdoor Dining Spaces • Picky Stitch (picky stitch)

Some other outdoor dining tables to consider with social distancing options:

Large Round Outdoor Dining Table - Ideas on Foter

I’m thinking the best outdoor dining tables are those that are most adaptable. Ones that accommodate your Pod.  These squares, for example, can be socially-distanced and later ~ when the corona risk is diminished (we need that vaccine!) – you can put the fours together to make a big table for all your beloved guests. 

I so love dining tables with the water or garden feature in the center. I saw one at the Architectural Digest Show – remember when we could attend design shows? Gosh, all those people crowding the aisles. The shows surely fed into my innate curiosity and sense of adventure, discovering artisans and craftspeople dedicated to enhancing our lifestyle. But hey, they are still there! You can read my previous posts (and linked here) for more inspiration. Those designers need us more than ever. 

Awesome Cool Ideas For with Outdoor Dining Furniture Live-edge Redwood

  • The Outdoor Cocktail Lounge is the ultimate fantasy. This will trend. 

You can create your own Tiki Bar.  Or an English Pub. Or an Amalfi Coast inspired cocktail area

 Win a four-night stay on the Amalfi coast | The Sunday Times Summertime Seascape Amalfi Coast Positano Beachitaly Stock Photo - Download  Image Now - iStock

Or a French Bistro Look: 

Gravel Patio. French style gravel patio with stone garden walls. Gravel  patio… | Gravel patio, Pea gravel patio, Backyard patioThe Uptown Acorn: Acorn Cottage Uptown {Backyard Furniture} (uptown acorn)

Garden ideas - small garden ideas | House & Garden (

You can design a space that gives you a sense of getting away. A fantasy corner. 

Position your Outdoor cocktail lounge furniture in the garden if you have the space. If you’re short on the real estate, pot up some evergreens, topiaries, and/or some fragrant herbs to drive the illusion and fuel the imagination. 

Classic Courtyard with French bistro style white garden furniture and  simple clean styling. Elega… | Courtyard gardens design, Outdoor dining  room, French courtyard

  • A trend that will continue to surge for 2021: for both outdoor and indoor mixology, is the snazzy, effervescenti Bar Cart. It serves as both the bar and the Happy Hour’s stylish focal point, adding glamour to the space. Keep it simple and elegant: stock your favorite spirits, mixing tools, glassware, ice bucket, and cocktail napkins. For a full how-to, visit my Garden Glamour post on How to Curate & Style a Home Bar Cart: The Essentials and the Glamorous Accessories.



  • We can also look forward to increasingly sophisticated Outdoor Kitchen rooms that include such built-in modular features as a pizza oven, refrigerators, sinks, trash compactor, lighting, countertops, rotisseries, herb planters, and more.  The Outdoor Kitchens can include seating, a bar, big-screen TV, a spectacular sound system for concerts, a fire pit and outdoor heaters, to really expand your living space.  If you have to shelter-in-place, might as well make your home the resort you once traveled to, to get away from it all.  Now, you’re getting it all, but no traveling. Just open the door and walk to paradise!  Again, if real estate is at a premium, you can make it work with fewer modular components; a table-top grill, a few potted herbs for grilling, and a few candles. Make the Magic… 

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Outdoor Kitchen

            (See my Architectural Digest and Grillscape Gardens links above for more details.) 

  • I see more outdoor Zen gardens for yoga, pilates, meditation

  • Likewise there will be more Home and Garden Gyms and Exercise rooms 

  • Another stay-at-home trend I forecast is more garden rooms dedicated to Pod-friendly sports, including Boules or Pétanque. We have this pretty silver set: 

It’s a fun sport for all ages and easy to stay socially-distanced while playing the game. 


Likewise, Horseshoes. There wasn’t a family summer party where the horseshoes weren’t set up and enjoyed over many rounds of beer and cigars. It was mainly the Dads who threw the horseshoes back then.  Smile… 

Best Horseshoe Set in 2020 | Own The Yard(Own the Yard)

No room for tossing the horseshoes? Go with a table top.Tabletop Horseshoe Game for Kids | Highlights Your Child & You (Highlights) 

  • All these expanded home entertaining areas will inevitably lead to the need for more Garden accessories; statues, tuteurs, sundials, bird baths. And for Entertaining or serving outdoors: more sophisticated glassware, plates, and cutlery. Higher-end washable or compostable. Not one-time use products.  

  • There will be more Community Gardens. In every locale. Folks who gather to nurture their shared gardens – at a social distance – also share recipes, conversations, support, and more.  

  • Bird Watching  This is an ever-fascinating pastime. Last year during the pandemic, bird-watching increased ten-fold in some areas.  The number of bird species in a person’s surroundings correlates to happiness, according to a study reported in “Birdwatching.” Birds increase happiness! We’ve seen some exotic birds in our yards, including owls and eagles this past year. We love watching the blue jays and cardinals on our bird feeder and all the diverse avians who bathe in our bird bath. With its solar-powered fountain, it’s like having a spa shower for the birds. Ha. I signed up for the National Audubon Society’s mobile App. It’s a great resource.  Get yourself a good pair of binoculars and enjoy the show! You’ll be delighted watching the hi-jinks of the native and the migratory birds.  Which brings me to the next trend:

  • Native Plants and Healing Plants. With more and expanded gardens ~ from terrace to backyards, you can enable a more sustainable environment. The National Audubon Society has a page that will link you to a Native Plant database to help feed the birds (and other pollinators) in your zip code.   Healing Plants are not only beautiful, but their medicinal powers will increase our physical and emotional health and well-being. If you sign up for the Garden Glamour blog, I’ll send you a free top-ten list of Healing Plants – for indoors or for in the garden. (The email subscription is right below my bio) 

  • Plant Decor. More of us will use indoor and outdoor plants as part of decorating our homes and gardens.  Hot spicy colors will excite our senses while the cool blues and pinks will soothe us.  You can match your plants’ color palette to the room’s wall paint and furniture.  Likewise, outdoors in your newly expanded exterior design. While Pantone has named Ultimate Grey as one of their Colors of the year for 2021, I’m over most grey at this stage.  I’m more for the vibrancy and comfort of their Illuminating as “a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power.”  That sounds like a happy addition and one that will mix with soothing greens.

  • Growing Edibles  Last year we saw a dramatic increase in folks wanting to grow their own food, especially lettuces, herbs, all kinds of vegetables, potatoes, and fruit. We grow a lot of garlic, arugula, peppers, and asparagus. That trend will continue unabated.  If you haven’t already ordered your seeds, hop to it. There will be shortages again this year.  

  • I see an increase in DIY Home Products because they are safer and less irritating. We can readily make products such as laundry detergent, dishwashing, and body soaps; using vinegar to clean; and even Spray starch with scents. It’s utterly hilarious that I never owned an iron, yet the last few years I’ve taken to ironing our bedsheets, linen cocktail napkins and placemats because I crave that crisp look and scented experience. 

    • It’s an easy recipe:   2-3 tablespoons cornstarch to six ounces of water. I add drops of lavender to mine for a restful, meditative scent. But you can mix in any of your favorite herbal scents.  Which leads me to another 2021 Forecast: 

  • Aromatherapy. There’s an incredible benefit to using essential oils, including managing pain, improving sleep quality, and reducing stress and anxiety. I have different kinds of diffusers for use in a number of our rooms: bedroom, bathroom, office. The oils can also help fight bacteria and virus. That’s a good thing. 

  • Homemade Bitters and Simple Syrups. Along with the spike (!) in at-home craft cocktails due to covid, there will follow an increase in making our own simple syrups and bitters. You can customizel the taste you want in your drinks and – if you’re growing all those herbs and spices – why not mix up your own essential elements that make a great cocktail. It’s an artful project that makes your Happy Hour all the more delightful. Cheers to that. 

  • Tablescapes Even if we are not entertaining the way we used to and prefer ~ with family and friends, I recommend dressing up your table decor for a holiday, for the season, or when your mood wants a change. Initially, when the stay-at-home started, I wasn’t feeling it…. Then, after some time, I couldn’t resist making our diminished world more glamorous. I think we need to create pretty, inviting tablescapes more than ever.  Make every meal an event. It’s theater!  Inspired by nature or things you have in your jewelry box or on your bookshelves, approach your tablescape like you are telling a story. Layer in items that bring you joy: candles, flowers, souvenirs from past trips, photos. Re-purpose items. It’s fun! Then set the table. And revel in your personal dining experience. 

  • Volunteering.  I have to believe that volunteering for local organizations will increase. Not only do some folks have more time, but clearly they see the need to help those who’ve had a bad go of this epidemic… Whether it’s helping seniors, donating food, running errands, teaching, look up what you can do within your community. It will make you feel good and strengthen the fabric of our society.  

Now, get out there and live.   Enjoy this new world and its obstacles and challenges. 

Let’s see how many of these 2021 forecasts come to be in this year filled with hope.  

And thank you for reading my blog. I am most grateful.  If you don’t already subscribe, please enter your email and it will be sent to you. And/or share with a friend. 

There’s no place like home...

Cheers to you and a bit of glamour for 2021.

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"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

Join me to celebrate a romantic, garden-infused, entertaining lifestyle filled with artful design, sparkling dinner parties, peerless martinis, and copious magnums of champagne!





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