"Why did I not realize for so long that less truly is more?" writes Michelle. All week she and the Gardenista team have been leading us to pared-down wonders: the world's prettiest paper flowers, a sunken swimming pool set in a meadow, palm-sized heads of lettuce, and a ground cover known as DG (read on to crack the code).
Above: Who knew? Paper flowers can look like this—and you can make your own, thanks to Liva Cetti's new book, this week's Required Reading.
Above: Want to see where Berkeley's first couple of letters, Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon, collaborate? Go to The Ultimate Writers' Studio, Berkeley Edition.
Above: Looking to simplify garden maintenance and cut back on water usage? Get to know DG: that's decomposed granite. Natural, permeable, inexpensive, and available in a range of shades, it's this week's Hardscaping 101.
Above: Square wooden planters free of fuss and filigree are often the trickiest to source. Allow Janet to show you 10 Easy Pieces (the ones shown here are made in Belgian and available from Trelliage).
Above: An open-air yet private bathroom (yes, you read that right) is this week's Steal This Look. Meredith sourced all the key elements. Homegrown granite bed, anyone?
Above: Some swimming pools know how to commune with nature. This one, set on a hill near Monterey, CA, is the work of landscape architect Bernard Trainor. Go to the World's Most Beautiful Swimming Pool to learn about the seamless mix of native and new plantings.