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For the Front (or back) Porch

“A person born to be a flower pot will not go beyond the porch.” –Mexican Proverb

There’s nothing better than sitting on the front (or back) porch with family and friends during the summer. This is what memories are made of: watching fireflies, listening to wind chimes clanging in the breeze, and talking about nothing in particular. Make your personal space (whether you entertain or not, but especially if you do) extra special and beautiful with the right flora.

Beautiful terracotta pots filled with rich soil and flowering plants make the steps or path leading up to a house look more like a home, like someone actually lives there. It definitely makes everything more inviting! Try planting these in your flowerpots for seasonal beauty, low-maintenance and heat tolerance:

  • Calibrachoa  (they look like tiny petunias)
  • Lantana
  • Mandevilla
  • Tomato and pepper plants
  • Begonias, petunias, and marigolds are the standouts here; there’s nothing more old-fashioned, vintage-y, or adorable than a pot filled with waxy pink begonias and bright yellow and orange marigolds! Marigolds are also great because they actually repel pests. Petunias—with their delicate, velvety petals—are always a summer favorite. Try hanging them in baskets as well as decorating your steps. When it comes to flowers, abundance is key! 

For a Windowsill/box

Windowsills are famous for their red geraniums! There’s nothing quite as charming as a solitary apartment window in a big building filled with flowering blood-red plants.

Low-growing plants are ideal for window boxes, sills, and ledges. Try planting succulents for a modern, easy, foolproof aesthetic (they thrive with very little water). 

For a Dry Lawn

It’s okay if your lawn doesn’t look like a golf course; there are other ways to make a home beautiful without lush, green grass. Try plants and shrubs, stones, gravel, and perhaps a sand garden. You do have options (not just cacti). Of course, there are so many beautiful flowering cactus plants to choose from!

Try plants that are drought-tolerant, and thrive in the heat and direct sunlight, such as:

  • Yucca (or “soapweed”)
  • Blooming Chives
  • Coneflowers (Echinacea) 
  • Salvia
  • Lavender

For the Patio/Lanai/Veranda

A lanai is an outdoor, roofed structure (basically a patio) that originates from Hawaii, so take inspiration from tropical destinations and make your outdoor space a bit more exotic this summer. Potted palm trees and ferns are always simple, elegant, and appropriate for the summer months. Give these a try as well:

  • Lanai verbena 
  • Caladium
  • Coleus

Poolside Petals/Hedges

Swimming pools are usually surrounded by fences or hedges (if not for safety, then for privacy). Landscaping can be tricky around a swimming area because you don’t want a lot of plants that will shed their leaves constantly. For lots of greenery, plant hedges around your swimming pool. Box hedges are always a sturdy, solid choice.

  • For a chic, clean look, plant ornamental grasses such as pampas, feather reed, fountain, and switch grass. For a purple-hued flowering effect, try muhly grass.

Flowers that love the heat and are drought resistant include:

  • Bird of Paradise
  • Agave
  • Aloe
  • Monstera 
  • Hibiscus
  • SunPatiens
  • Bamboo

Remember that many of these are tropical plants, and bamboo will spread very quickly; you’ll have an entire forest before you know it! A monstera plant’s leaves are very large, so this will be your showstopper; make sure to re-pot it regularly as it grows and thrives. A couple of leaves plucked from the plant look great in a vase and will make a statement during summer barbeques and get-togethers. 

  • For climbing plants and vines to decorate a trellis or fence, plant a sweet potato vine.
  • For a more traditional English garden vibe, plant hydrangea bushes! There’s nothing more impressive than a row of bright blue flowering hydrangea with think clusters of enormous blossoms.
  • If you’re looking for decorative trees that also yield fruit, try an olive, orange, or lemon tree.

For more information (along with plants and trees for purchase), check out Chelsea Flowers on the website and, to read more, see what’s on the blog.

(Thank you to Country Living, Southern Living, and Gardenista for helpful summer floral tips.)

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