Front Porch Decorating

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“Porches are America’s lost rooms.”

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

One of my favorite spring rituals is setting up the front porch for warm weather living.  This year, I looked at the porch furniture coming out of storage and suddenly felt I had it all wrong.  I decided to move everything around.  Do you ever do this?   I really love the new design so much more and can’t figure out how I didn’t set it up this way all along.  The porch seems more spacious.  The conversation easier.  Movement around the porch smoother.  There is much more of the pretty outdoor rug, my design starting point, to see and enjoy.  I even had room to add a bar area!  It’s not a huge space but it lives big.  I had to laugh, as I sat on my “newly” designed porch reading the latest Architectural Digest issue, when the words of Bunny Williams, a favorite designer, jumped out at me:  “I get so upset when people ask what’s new in decorating? Just take what you have and make it look new.”  Point well taken Bunny!

You can read about how I first created an outdoor room on the front porch here.  Tour the redesigned space and let me know which version of the porch you like more. But don’t  be seduced by those gorgeous blue hydrangeas on the old porch….They’ll be making another appearance at a porch near you, soon!

One of the biggest changes I made was moving this console table previously used as a room divider to the focal point of the porch. The plate rack with its bird house and green tole garden plate was already on the wall. It makes so much more sense to put the console there. The lanterns and urn are the same as when the table was on the side of the porch. Now they really all work together. The table is also in the middle of the seating area and can be used to serve food when entertaining on the porch.

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Easter Table and Front Porch Décor

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Treating you to lots of eye candy today to inspire your spring or Easter décor and entertaining!  From the welcome of spring blooms on our front porch to Easter around the house and at the table, there are ideas galore  to take away.  Enjoy!

An ice cream parlor chair repurposed into a planter greets visitors with a chalkboard welcome sign. Tutorial here.

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Easter Centerpiece with Supermarket Flowers

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“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.”  S. D. Gordon

Today I’m sharing an easy make-ahead Easter centerpiece that captures the magic of spring.  I will show you how ordinary pots of supermarket flowers are elevated in a beautiful arrangement that gives you a big bang for the buck.  I especially love how this arrangement captures the sense of emergence of new life into a new season.

All the plants chosen are in pots which will extend the duration of the composition. The daffodils and hyacinths with their lush foliage and unopened flowers lend a sense of anticipation to the arrangement with the promise of spring.  Whimsy, color and the Easter theme is brought in with the pastel eggs nestled around the plants and a beloved gardening bunny figurine in the center. The potted begonias add immediate color and will continue to flower for many weeks.  Simply deadhead when needed.

Branches of pussy willow and curly willow add height and dimension to the arrangement.

This arrangement was easy and quick to create. Here’s how:

I lined a large footed container with plastic and scrunched newspaper in the bottom so the height of the plants would be level with the edge of the container.  I then played around with the plants until I liked the arrangement:  tall daffodils in the middle flanked by 2 pots of purple hyacinths and a pot of begonias in front of the daffodils.  In the soil of the daffodils I secured the trio of pussy willow branches and the curved branch of willow.  I then scattered Easter eggs all over the top to conceal the soil and newspaper and bring in some color and texture. The eggs were heaped high above the top of the container bringing a feeling of fun and exuberance. The finishing touch was the carved wooden bunny in the center and the plaid organza ribbon in complementary pastel shades tied around the container.  The arrangement rests  on a colorful runner with more iconic Easter imagery.  I can easily water the plants by directing the water around the Easter eggs.

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”  Doug Larson

Happy Spring!

Witch Hazel Front Door Basket

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In the depth of winter, when most of my zone 6 garden is hibernating, there is the most magnificent blooming tree in my garden. It seems as if overnight, the bare limbs of this tree are filled with clusters of feathery flowers up and down its branches. Their fragrance is intoxicating and beguiling.  The spidery flowers with long crinkly petals vary in color from yellow to golden orange and burgundy.

My witch hazel's flowers are golden orange with deep burgundy centers.

My witch hazel’s flowers are golden orange with deep burgundy centers.

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Christmas Evergreen Front Door Swag

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This year our front entrance is showing some swagger for the holidays.  Instead of a wreath, I made a large swag with evergreens cut from around my garden then adorned it with ribbons, pine cones, pheasant feathers, ornaments in gold and burgundy and even some jingle bells.  I love the scent of fresh greens to greet one and all at the holidays.  Take a look at how it came together.

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A Seashore Memorial Day

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Memorial Day became a Federal Holiday in 1971 and is observed on the last Monday of May.  It originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868 to honor all the Americans who died in that conflict.  Since WW I, it now honors all Americans who died in all wars.  Many towns celebrate with parades and memorial ceremonies.  Many families visit graves to lay wreaths on their loved ones’ graves.  It is unofficially the start to summer and celebrated with BBQs and get togethers.  On a recent vacation to the New Jersey shore, towns  were proudly displaying their patriotism in red, white and blue.  From quaint Victorians in Cape May to grand hotels like Congress Hall, from hometown fire halls to front porches and private gardens everywhere, patriotism was on full glorious display.  Wherever you are celebrating the holiday, honor the brave men and women who have served and paid the ultimate price to fight for our country.

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