Having a nice-looking yard and outdoor space to enjoy is important to me. I don’t have a lot of extra time for maintenance so I always choose low maintenance plants and décor for my outdoor living spaces.
Retro metal furniture is very popular now. I have a set that is surprisingly comfortable without cushions. This definitely cuts down on maintenance and having to worry with the pollen and dust getting on cushions. If I have company coming I just rinse it off with the water hose and I am all set! Sometimes I add a few simple accent pillows for a change of pace.
Galvanized tubs, old watering cans, pails and old wooden crates are the latest craze for planters. These are easy to find in various sizes and are very affordable. These will certainly out last most of the plastic planters available today. I also love the idea of using an old dresser or chest of drawers on the porch as a planter. Just pull out a few drawers and set your pots inside. This is seriously southern but is gorgeous with the right accent pieces like an old chair with bottom cut out for plant.
Adding some wall décor is an easy way to dress up a boring wall on your deck, porch or patio. An old wrought iron gate with a wreath, an old window, windmill blades, or metal artwork are all ways to add character to your outdoor living space. There are some great looking rustic signs on the market now that will hold up well outside.
I see shutters and old doors used as sun shades and privacy “fences” these days. This is a nice way to add a cozy cottage feel to your outdoor space. Burlap and cheese cloth are an easy and inexpensive way to dress up an outdoor area for entertaining. These can be used on the back of chairs, as ties or table runners for a down home elegant look. Burlap makes for a great sun shade if your outdoor area gets the late evening sun.
Outdoor rugs make a cozy and inviting space. Lanterns with battery operated candles or citronella candles work well for sitting areas. An old chandelier hung in a nearby tree sets the mood for a quaint outdoor gathering.
I love to fill my outdoor spaces with loads of vibrant plants but I do not spend a lot of time on watering so I always choose drought resistant plants for my outdoor spaces.
Coleus adds beautiful bursts of color and comes in a nice variety of shades and sizes. These grow like crazy in the heat and can be easily rooted. You will need to pinch the tops out occasionally or they will become lanky and not so pretty by the end of summer.
Firewitch Dianthus is one of my very favorite perennials. This plant offers a unique blue-grey foliage so it is a nice addition even when not in bloom. I don’t do any maintenance on mine although I think it is recommended to trim the dead blooms to keep it blooming all summer.
Purple Heart is a type of wondering jew that grows with a vengeance. This one stays pretty no matter how hot it gets. Purple Heart is easily rooted so I add to my outdoor garden all summer long by pinching pieces off and sticking it down in the ground.
Sedum is a hardy drought resistant perennial that also works well in cut flower arrangements. This plant has succulent leaves and clusters of small star shaped flowers.
Citronella plants are a definite for an outdoor sitting area. They smell good plus the help keep the pesky bugs away.
Ferns are a must for outdoor spaces in the summer. These require the most attention because they do need a little water everyday if planted in pots.
Blue Rug Juniper is a simple way to have a nice green foliage all year long with little to no maintenance. I keep these trimmed near my walkways but that is it.
Crape Myrtles add a pop of color and these will bloom most all summer. These do have to be trimmed up a couple of times a year but they are worth it.
English Ivy is a nice addition to my shady areas. This can also be grown on a trellis easily. English Ivy has to be trimmed or it will grow out of control.
When I entertain outdoors my colors must flow so I create centerpieces from the same plants I have growing in planters and in the yard.
I take clippings from every plant I have listed above and create simple centerpieces and side table arrangements. I like to use old drink bottles or mason jars for centerpieces and side tables. I sometimes add food coloring to the water if I am using clear containers for my arrangements to add even more color.
Enjoy the dog days of summer! They will be over before you know it.