Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Enhancing Outdoor Spaces

Maybe it's because I am from New England, but I wait all winter long for the days to come that I can finally get outside and start being in my yard to do all the fun tasks like grilling steaks, planting flowers, pruning bushes, adding garden art like my decorative stakes with fleur-de-lis finials, putting up a new turquoise patio umbrella from Bali, which I found on, painting my porch swing bright pink for a change of pace and filling up my stone bird bath.

This swing was made by my dad and has traveled to the many houses I have lived in. A few times it stayed in the basement until the next house had a porch. This is a side area that accesses a basement apartment where my college age son lives. The originally white swing was nice, but this ho-hum area needed a spark...and this pink paint delivers. Check the before pic of my son standing with the white swing.  I think this pink swing spells summer!

Here are some other lovely porch swings. Swings are a welcome sign to your friends and neighbors.
 However Garden Gates make you wish you had an invitation to what lies beyond...
They create mystery and give your entrance a sense of importance or excitement.
Did you read The Secret Garden?
A garden gate makes you want to sneak inside....and take a peek!
I am a sucker for anything with paint on it...
look at this simple garden gate embellished with a 
cottagey floral design complete with matching tools.
This is how I image the Secret Garden entrance to be!!
 And once you have snuck hope a beautiful garden awaits...
Wow, an outdoor fireplace! I love this space!!
So many ways to set up a table and chairs in your garden....
I love the informality of this setting...
throw a white sheet over a folding table and grab all your forlorn chairs
 and set them under a canopy of trees and you have captured the essence of al fresco dining.
Or make do like Martha Stewart does in her inimitable elegant way...
have the servants bring out your wooden kitchen set!
But if it is going to be rainy or windy and you still want the outdoors, 
 some pavillion drapes to your porch, like I did for my sister's home.
She's going to have fun decorating her new space
with container plantings and brown wicker furniture.
                    Here is another gorgeous outdoorspace with carpeting and even a lamp.
Last, but not least, if you have a little shed
or outbuilding you can transform it into the centerpiece of your garden.

My mother-in-law has a neglected little old chicken coop in her back yard. 
I have drawn a sketch for her in the hopes she will let me work my magic 
on it so it can become a source of delight for her.
Right now it is filled with old tools and sleds and roofing paper and leftover job materials.
Not quite what I imagine it to be~I want it to look like this:
So when I get my way with this little old building, I will post the before and after.
 Until then I will enjoy my garden with my pink swing and 
my turquoise umbrella and my old granite walls!
Try adding a little pizzazz to your outdoor spaces.
 Add a  kicky new umbrella, repaint your old iron furniture in aqua,
paint your swing pink
or hang up some breezy porch drapes!


  1. I love garden gates for just the reason you mentioned! On a visit to Nantucket, I went for a long walk and photographed all the beautiful garden structures and plantings. It is very inspiring there in July!

  2. I love your chicken coup drawing. So cute! The pink bench really does look so cool against the house. It is so fun to have an outdoor space to go!!!

  3. The Secret Garden is one of my favorite books. I have read it over and over again. Your garden pictures bring back good memories.
    So creative, Amy!!

  4. That gothic porch swing is the most beautiful and elaborate design I have ever seen! Wonder where it is from...probably Victorian?
    the one your father made is lovely as well of course!

  5. Your blog looks great! I love all the pictures!

  6. Hi Amy! I love your pink porch swing, as I LOVE pink and red! That's me, always wanting it all. My other favorite thing on your blog are your sketches of things you want to see happen. My friend, Blayne, just built a chicken coop ever the weekend! Bet she would have LOVED to see your sketch. Here's her blog:

    Have a wonderful day and thank you for your visits to my blog!

  7. Love that swing! And the first photo is stunning!

  8. Gorgeous garden pictures....I am loving the pink swing!
    Happy day!

  9. OMGosh, I love how that pink swing turned out. Such a contrast and sooo eye catching. Looks like a peaceful place to sit.


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