Spending thousands of imaginary dollars, online


It’s home design crack, pure and simple. I’m not quite an addict yet, but with a kitchen makeover looming later this spring, I have been known to lose an hour or two clicking through the images on Houzz. This has been called the “Flickr of design idea sites” and “the best showcase of houses on the internet;” it’s basically a monstrous collection of images of interior design. I’d like a bit more text myself, but I can’t deny I’ve gotten some great ideas from it and have seen some gorgeous materials for cabinets and counters that I hadn’t known existed.

Lately, as warm weather approached, I have noticed “idea books” (these are images that users put together around a certain theme) for the outside, like this one on “whimsy,” which is a word I hate, though some of the images are fun. Most of the garden-related images are found under “Landscape;” Houzz makes no pretense to be a gardening site. But some of the landscape architects documented in Houzz are up to interesting stuff. Anyway, worth checking out just for fun.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com


  1. I just don’t like the way it’s used in the gardening world. It usually refers to objects that make me nauseous.

    However, I do like the bed and the flowers, and a few other garden-related things I saw on Houzz–that’s why I posted it here. Good luck with your project–I think it needs a lawn to surround it, though.

  2. Hello,
    Your site is great. I have always loved gardening. My name is Thomas Marcucci and I share a love of gardening. Mine is more focused on evergreens and creating gardens for winter interest. It has prompted me to write a blog about it and educate people about the many different plants and trees classified as evergreens. I also want to teach people about gardening for winter interest and add a dash of poetry.
    Could you please put a link up on your site to my blog and I will do the same in return.
    Very Truly Yours,
    Thomas R. Marcucci
    Blog Title=EverWinter

  3. Whimsy is the last word I think of after my hands are cracking and my lower back is aching from tugging and plugging, pruning and training—all year long. Even as a design element, it is too contrived sounding. Makes something that took tons of work sound too cute for my taste.

    One online dictionary says that the word whimsy may have come from whimwham, aka, a gimcrack. Now we’re talking!

    Glad to know I’m not the only one out here drooling with my eyes!

  4. Eliz why does the ‘bed’ need lawn? It could easily be surrounded by any groundcover or on a pebble or sand expanse or even out by itself as a showcase on a driveway/patio/deck/balcony. I can see a doll’s bed of succulents or a bunk-bed of edibles. Whimsy blows a raspberry at limits and rules.

  5. I think the incongruity of a bed outside will be much more effective if it is on a natural media. More peaceful looking.If it’s on gravel or a driveway you might end up with a Dogpatch effect. IMO.

    Whimsy can blow a raspberry if it wants to, but that doesn’t always mean it will look good.

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