Outdoor Decorating Guide
Expand your home’s living and entertaining space by using your deck, porch, or patio during warmer weather months. Just as your living room and kitchen are decorated to reflect your style, your outdoor living areas should do the same. There are a handful of elements to consider when decorating your deck and making it inviting to friends and family. But whether you have a large backyard, small urban space, or something in-between, there are so many ideas for creating a decorative, beautiful and fun spot for entertaining family and friends.
Create A Plan
The first step to redecorating your porch, patio, or deck is to create a plan. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but the best way is to create a map drawing of the outdoor area you intend to renovate. You'll want to draw this to scale, so you can maximize all of the space. Another helpful step would be to take photographs of these areas without any furniture and decor. You might be surprised at the amount of space you have once you start to organize it from scratch.
Avant Views Outdoor Designer
A great tool that we offer here at Avant Garden Decor is the Avant Views Outdoor Designer. It allows you to upload photos of your outdoor area and add different outdoor decor items like planters, hose holders, and fire pits to see how they look before you buy. Simply take photos of your outdoor area and then visit the designer, it is free and easy to use! Try it now!
Outdoor patio décor and deck accessories offer many creative combinations, but you’ll do best if you start with outdoor furniture. Go for a garden look with wicker benches or contemporary chaise lounges. If that’s not your style, wrought iron will give you a completely different feel. Once you’ve chosen your basics, you can start to fill in with specialty furniture.
Adding heat to your patio is the perfect way to extend the life of your outdoor area, as well as add a centerpiece for people to gather around. If you are using a wood-based traditional fire pit or fireplace you’ll want to make sure that it is far away from any wood like a porch or deck.
Decorating With Flowers
Make Your Style Come Alive
Decorating with outdoor plants is a great way to introduce visual interest and a personal, creative touch to your home. The variety of shapes, the range of color, and the natural textures of living elements make your design choices as unique as they are limitless.
Choosing Your Planter
Due to the nature of your outdoor areas you will want to utilize some type of container to plant in. Container planters, available in a wide variety of styles, shapes and sizes, can offer a wide range of design versatility. You should choose containers that will complement the landscaping design style of your outside space.
- Terra Cotta Flower Pots – The most common container used for planting flowers. Flower pots are available in an endless array of sizes, and are excellent for use both indoors and out. Often times made from terra cotta which helps to keep plants and soil cool and moist, the main drawback is that these pots are fragile and can be easily broken. Terra Cotta Pots are also heavy.
- Plastic Flower Pots – Flexible and lightweight, plastic flower pots are very convenient for planting flowers. They don’t provide as much protection for your flowers as terra cotta pots do, but they are very easy to store over winter, and are available in a much wider range of shapes and colors.
- Hanging Baskets - Hanging baskets that have been planted with a collection of flowers and trailing plants can have a magical effect on any outdoor area. You can suspend hanging garden baskets on various porch structures using hooks or brackets; just make sure that the structure is capable of supporting the weight. Hanging baskets tend to be either made from plastic or metal. Metal hanging baskets often are more decorative than plastic baskets, and tend to feature a coconut liner. Standard sizes include 12, 14, and 16-inch diameter baskets.
- Deck Rail Planters – Designed specifically for porch railings, railing planters are an innovative way to decorate. Most are 24 inches long and attach to the top of your porch railings with an adjustable bracket. By placing plants on porch railings it not only adds beauty to your porch railings, but saves space too! Make sure your porch railings are strong enough to handle the weight of railing planters.
- Coconut Planters – Available as hanging baskets, deck railing planters, horse trough planters, or other specialty planters, they feature a natural coconut liner to help hold soil in place. Coconut planters immediately add a classic refined look to outdoor areas.
- Flower Boxes – Like flower pots, these are some of the more common ways to display plants outdoors. Most are made from plastic; they are available in wide-range of lengths, although 24 and 36-inch are among the more common sizes. Great for displaying along windows, or hanging from railings. They are best when used in combination with a flower box holder, which makes them more convenient to use.
Choosing Your Flowers
Plan for two plantings for your outdoor deck season by choosing plants that bloom early or late, like pansies, and switch to long-blooming horticultural stars like petunias and impatiens for the middle season.
Add Height For Effect
When considering your design plan, create visual interest by varying the heights of your greenery. You can mix floor planters with plant stands in an assortment of heights and styles. Add hanging plant varieties like spider plants and ferns alternating with flowering varieties to add color and contrast. Plants can even be suspended upside down for a unique and eye-catching display by using coco-lined planters. Potted trees such as the fichus and palm also are great for adding height and drama to the space.
Another aspect of “growing up” is planting with climbing plants which can serve a variety of uses. Use climbing plants with trellises, arbors, obelisks and other supports around your space to create privacy screens and block unwanted and unsightly views. You can even take flat surfaces and add climbing plants to them using a vine support kit to create a living green wall.
Climbing plants grow quickly so they offer an almost instant solution depending on your need and your desired effect. Climbing plants add character and soften the appearance of your home and garden while creating a beautiful and unique touch that’s all your own. A good strategy is to plant shrubs and flowers at the base to extend the screening space and create a sturdy visual base. Well-anchored, sturdy metal stand-alone trellises, arbors and obelisks are recommended to support the weight of heavier plants.
Obviously, the first consideration is whether you have an open or enclosed porch. Your plant selection depends on where and how you live. With an open porch, alignment to the sun is important. Some plants need a lot of sun while others can thrive in semi-shade. Choose plants that best fit your locale and situation. When making your choices, consider a mixture of foliage, flowers and evergreens to provide both seasonal and year-round appeal. Consider color and how the flowers and foliage will complement your home.
A significant advantage to decorating a porch with plants is that you can more easily make use of a wider variety of containers than you might with a deck or patio. For example, you can use hanging baskets and rail planters to decorate without taking up any floor space. Plus, containers like these give you the option to factor trailing plants into your design.
How you place your plants really comes down to your own personal style. Generally, a few plants, strategically-placed and easily-tended, can add the right touch when decorating a porch. If you want an appearance of abundance or have a larger porch, add rail planters, horse troughs, and a number of hanging baskets to those you’ve placed beside a door or in a corner.
Decorating with Birdfeeders
A True Garden Delight
Wild animals can be a fun part of your backyard, and making your backyard more attractive can be inviting for both humans and animals. Birdfeeders are such a common part of the backyard and there is no reason not to upgrade to a more decorative birdfeeder, especially one that not only fits into your décor, but one that adds to it!
Seed or Nectar
The first decision needs to be whether you want to attract hummingbirds or seed-eating birds, or both! Both types of feeders offer a wide range of styles and options, the difference is that you will want to place them in different places and pair with them with different plants or flowers. Even if you choose seed you will also need to decide whether you want to feed thistle seed or sunflower or mixed seed. There are some feeders available that can feed both thistle and large seed, but most cannot.
Many feeders are available in a variety of finishes, and you should select your feeder accordingly. Choose wood for a more rustic décor, polished steel for a contemporary feel, or copper for something that is a little more elegant. There has also been a recent movement towards aluminum and specialty glass for a vintage décor, which has grown in popularity. Naturally you will want to pair these with the rest of your outdoor décor for a cohesive result.
Water For Birds
Many outdoor decorators have smartly started to add water features into their plans. Whether it is a large pond, or a small fountain, water has been proven to be an attractant for birds and other backyard wildlife. According to the University of Cornell Lab of Ornithology publication, BirdNotes, birds need water to survive. In fact, some birds that normally would not visit backyards for seed will visit for water. Water is not just used for drinking either; birds use it for bathing, cleaning their feathers, and to remove parasites.
There are bird baths available, ranging from simple to very decorative that provide excellent options for your yard. There have also been some purpose-built bird waterers recently added to the market that provide a simpler method for incorporating water into your backyard area.
Harness the Beauty of the Wind
The wind art cateogry has rapidly grown from simple wind chimes to include an incredible variety of all shapes and sizes of spinners, twisters, and chimes. There are even beautiful selections of wind art that incorporate both twister and spinner, and the addition of one of these is sure to become a talking point of your yard decor.
Wind Chimes or Wind Spinners?
Adding movement to what otherwise might me a static display is an excellent way stimulate visual interest. Both Wind Chimes and Wind Spinners are excellent ways to create that visual spark, but which one is right for you? Wind Spinners are good for those that want to keep your outdoor area quiet. They also tend to be a little larger than wind chimes so plan accordingly. Wind Chimes on the other hand include an auditory element, and some people find that to be relaxing. However, wind chimes aren't as large as the wind spinners, so you won't get as much of a visual impact by choosing a wind chime.
How to Display
You will want to display your wind art high off the ground so that it is not blocked from the wind. A great place to display wind art is by hanging it from a balcony or porch. Alternating it between hanging baskets with flowers, and alternating the colors in your baskets with your spinners or chimes, can provide a very visually attractive display. Or displaying some art above flower boxes or window planters can create the same visual display. Remember that Spinners can chase off birds, so be careful when displaying them near bird feeders. Since spinners, chimes, and twisters are available in a variety of colors and patterns, it is a good idea to have a selection that you can rotate in and out as you change your decor for the various seasons. Consider orange and brown for the fall, and light green and pink for the spring, that way you will be able update your decor and keep it fresh.
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