by Arleen M. Kaptur
When the weather is warm we try and spend a lot more of our leisure time outdoors. A good idea is to decorate your garden area with all the comforts of home - just outside of home. A few touches will give your outdoor space a feeling of welcome and a beauty all its own.
Color is certainly one aspect of the great outdoors that lends itself to limitless ideas and possibilities. You can pick one of the most intense colors or bring into play the lighter less prominent hues. A white fence or gate will give eye appeal to bright, vibrant blooms and it doesn’t even have to lead to anything in particular. Just a piece of white picket fencing in a plush wildflower garden will have that added punch of visual appeal and a certain nostalgic feeling as well. If you have a screened in porch or area, use beautiful handmade quilts or throw pillows with bright, lively colors that match or even contrast your flower colors.
Texture is also fun to play with. Smooth surfaces should be highlighted with baskets.
A glass-top patio table lends itself to a basket of fruit, or flowers. Rough fieldstone steps or walking areas show off their special features with smooth, bright shiny accents. A porch swing, whether part of the porch itself or just by itself in a fragrant array of flowers, is a joy to sit on and to take in the aromas and eye-delights of this season. Colorful pads and side tables add to the appeal, as well as hold those pitchers of ice-cold homemade lemonade.
A wooden gazebo adds so much to a garden without being too showy or prominent. Potted plants can be used as accessories, as well as ornaments or metal colors such as
bronze or gold. It is a special hideaway while you wile away the hours being captivated by the blossoming beauty just surrounding this special place.
Fun objects such as butterflies, angels, little play benches, or bird baths give a light touch to any area that is too serious or intense. Also using your imagination can give visitors the impression that you labored just as hard on the amenities as on the garden itself. If you should ever encounter one of those old clawfoot bathtubs (retail shops, demolition area, or even the city recycling center) you can have a very one-of-a-kind fountain. Outfit your cast-off tub with a shower head, put it in a corner of your garden, especially near a wooden fence with ferns or ivy and you have one terrific waterfall that adds fresh water, the sound of a waterfall, and the appeal of “antique” to your garden.
Store bought objects are fine in a pinch, but hunt down those discards or garage dust-collectors and you have “original” accents. An old rocking chair can be painted with weather resistant paint and cushions. Clay pots decorated by your children or grandchildren add a light touch. Old buckets, stepladders, watering cans or animal figurines are just so many colors on your artist’s palette of ideas just waiting to be used.
There is so much fun to have in decorating your outdoors home area. You only need imagination, some bright paint or material, and a whole lot of enthusiasm. There is never a mistake to be had - if you don’t like something - change it. If you stick to inexpensive items, they can be interchanged at whim and your garden will always have a fresh perspective. Show off your plants, as well as your artistic talent!
©Arleen M. Kaptur 2002 May
About the Author
Arleen Kaptur has written numerous articles, cookbooks, and the novel:
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