Summer’s here — prime time for outdoor home décor projects to DIY or hire out.
This year my outdoor home décor projects have been very modest because two long cold winters created so much work in the flowerbeds. But the rotting doors on our shed were replaced. Plus I found an hour to refresh my antique iron porch chair and umbrella stand with spray paint. But I’ve been busy looking around to see what else might be feasible. Apart from the bbq, our patio is bare.
#1 Swinging Porch Bed. My front porch is, unfortunately, not deep enough for a swinging porch bed like the whitewashed one [top] installed in the Southern Living Idea House. But to be fair, a porch best works best on a screened in porch — preferably one with a view. This bed is quite straight foward in its design but I do like the added embellishment of thick hemp rope coiled around the chains. Our Allison wrote about her search for a porch bed long before this idea house and then showed the result of the one she finally installed. (The links to her posts are below.)
#2 Custom Garden Gate. There’s a house near ours which has a beautiful wrought iron gate I covet. I adore vintage gates and unusual handcrafted pieces with sculptural qualities. Andrew T. Crawford’s work is tops, as this unique theme gate proves. I love the touch of whimsy with the shovel and other tools. Crawford’s work is well accepted in his hometown, where this gate appears in the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
#3 Natural Stone Benches. With our harsh winters and summer humidity, stone garden furniture is pretty much a must. But vintage marble and cement pieces cost a small fortune these days. Boulders and slabs offer a great alternative, they are easy to hose down, and cushions help make them comfortable.
#4 Grass Used Decoratively. Grass used as “grout” with paving stones is not a new idea. My post on the Architectural Museum Garden at Beacon, NY showed the way artist Robert Irwin intermixed grass with paved walkways. Around this Texas pool, the grass may be artificial. To be fair, this is a high maintenance look. But it’s also seductively beautiful and moss would be a great substitute.
#5 Water Wall. Australia is always such a source of architectural and design inspiration, especially for modern looks like this water wall. The horizontal spout is inset in the stone for durability while the remainder of the wall is wood planks. The trough below catches and recirculates. Like many people I find the sound of moving water to be incredibly soothing — with some exterior lighting a fountain like this transforms a blah stretch of fencing into an outstanding patio feature.
#6 Gardener’s Drying Ladder. How picturesque is this vintage ladder cut so it leans at the perfect angle off the shingled wall? A gardener’s delight, a set up like this can be used for drying herbs, garlic, chiles or cut flowers — or even durable clothing in a pinch.
#7 A Pergola. The way to recognize a pergola is by the series of beams that form a partially open roof. Pergolas are freestanding and can provide partial cover for a walkway or be built as squares like this one which is furnished as an outdoor sitting room by California designer Amanda Malson. While this roof is open (some are covered with vines) the tent-stripe curtains can be drawn for partial shade and privacy. These are grommeted and mounted on a pole placed between pairs of beams just below the roof. With its elemental architecture, a pergola makes an ambitious DIY summer project.
(Source: Southern Living, Andrew T. Crawford, Grace Design, R&R Landscape, Unearthed Landscaping, flickr/umelecky, houzz)
For more ideas see Swinging Porch Beds, Swinging Porch Beds 2, and Swinging Porch Sofas.
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