Whether you go for a hammock snooze or a family picnic, nothing compares with relaxing on your deck. Wood decking demands constant upkeep—scrubbing, bleaching and staining. Composite polymer decking, on the other hand, lasts longer, stays cooler to the touch and retains its color, all while capturing the warmth of wood. Better still, composite decking helps the environment, keeping about 30 pounds of plastic (usually milk jugs and shopping bags) out of landfills for every 20 feet of decking.
These aren’t your grandmother’s garden mums! Dress your outdoor spaces with the newest in garden mums: trailing Skyfall garden mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium). The flowers open to reveal petite daisy-like blossoms that beckon late season pollinators. Create your own autumn fest by hanging baskets of mixed Skyfall garden mum varieties, including yellow, white and pink. Purchase baskets that are fully budded and just starting to open flowers to make sure you get the color you want. Then sit back and enjoy the floral fireworks as buds burst.
Douglasville, Georgia resident Susanne Hudson is the co-founder of the annual Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival each June which celebrates this lovely Southern flowering plant. Hudson's own yard is a monument to the versatility of hydrangeas of every variety. Enormous terra-cotta pots are a dramatic way of displaying mature hydrangeas on Hudson's lawn.
This simple mix pairs sedum with hens-and-chicks for a container of plants that can stay outside all winter in most places. There’s a mix and match of foliage texture and color, with the glossy chartreuse leaves of one plant contrasting with the spikey ruby red ones of the other. Use a wide dish to accommodate the spreading habit of each plant. RECIPE: Golden Japanese Stonecrop (Sedum makinoi 'Ogon', Zones 6-9), 3 plants; ‘Pacific Shadows’ Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum ‘Pacific Shadows’, Zones 5-8), 4 plants
Heat-tolerant thrillers, fillers and spillers pack this container of silvery-green succulents, with echeveria adding a pop of warm color on their red-tinged leaf edges. If you can’t get your hands on Blue Pickle Vine, substitute any succulent with a trailing habit. Use fast-draining soil and place the plants in full sun for a fabulous container that can take summer’s heat head-on. RECIPE: ‘Caribbean’ (Echeveria 'Caribbean', Zones 9-11); Blue Pickle Vine (Senecio radicans glauca, Zones 10-11), 3 plants; Peacock Echeveria (Echeveria peacockii, Zones 9-11); Little Jewel (Pachyphytum compactum, Zones 9-11), 2 plants; Mini Blue Chalksticks (Senecio serpens, Zones 9-11), 3 plants; Echeveria pollux (Zones 9-11); ‘Blue Ruffles’ (Echeveria ‘Blue Ruffles’, Zones 9-10); ‘Afterglow’ (Echeveria ‘Afterglow’, Zones 9-10); Pachyveria 'Noel' (Zones 9-11), 3 plants
With succulent containers, you’re going for foliage, not flowers, so zero in on the leaves and mix a variety of shapes, textures and colors. This container recipe mixes and matches hens-and-chicks and sedum varieties hardy to 20 degrees below zero, so it can survive outside on your patio in deepest winter, under a blanket of snow. RECIPE: ‘Cebenese’ Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Cebenese’, Zones 5-8); ‘Black Pearl’ Sedum (Sedum album ‘Black Pearl’, Zones 5-8); ‘Old Copper’ Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum ‘Old Copper’, Zones 5-8); ‘Oktoberfest’ Sedum (Sempervivum ‘Oktoberfest’, Zones 5-8); Job’s Beard (Sempervivum heuffelii ‘Irene’, Zones 4-8); ‘Ruby Mantle’ Stonecrop (Phedimus spurius ‘Ruby Mantle’, Zones 4-8)
Large planters can bring a porch, patio or driveway to colorful life when you fill them to overflowing with flowering annuals. Start with a planter that’s at least 14 inches across to create a (somewhat) mobile flower garden. This large container features bloomers in bright colors: ‘Tiger Eye’ gloriosa daisy (Rudbeckia), ‘Summer Jewel Red’ Savia coccinea, Profusion Double Fire zinnia and ‘Callie Purple’ calibrachoa.
"I always joke that I'm going to force people to have a lifestyle whether they want one or not" says designer Danielle Rollins, of her cohesive, beautiful approach to life seen in her own Atlanta home's outdoor design scheme. Part of making her garden work: blooms all year round in a consistent color palette and a focused navy and white color scheme that plays out throughout the garden, from the outdoor fabrics to the architectural features to the containers like this whimsical strawberry pot in her edible garden.
Pansies bring strong cool-season color in containers that can last well into the New Year in regions with mild winters. Choose pot planting partners that also deliver a long show, like Blue Arrows juncus, a type of rush, and sweet alyssum. For longest lasting color, keep pots in a sheltered spot on a porch. When air temps fall below 25 F, pansies look wilted and leaves turn gray-green. This is a typical response to cold air. Plants rebound as air temperature rises.
Bring some green to your kitchen with these cute succulent refrigerator magnets. Start by hollowing out a wine cork (about 3/4 of the way down) using a drill with a small spade bit. If you don't have a drill, you can use a steak knife instead, though it will take longer. Attach a magnet to one side of the cork using hot glue. Finally, place a succulent and a small amount of soil inside the cork. Mist with water occasionally to keep the plants hydrated.
Clematis breeders are working to develop smaller plants that adapt well to containers and small gardens. Tekla Garland clematis delivers. This pretty vine opens 4- to 5-inch-wide flowers non-stop from early summer through fall. Blossoms boast a reddish-pink hue that shifts as individual flowers age. Plants tend to be bushy and are ideal for growing in containers on a pot size tuteur. Tuck into a spot in light shade to full sun for best flowering. To prune, in late winter or early spring, cut all stems back to 6 inches above soil. Vines grow 4 to 5 feet tall and up to 2 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9.