Cost Effective Ways for Baby Boomers to Create an Attractive Patio and Garden for Springtime
Your Outdoor Space is an Extension of Your Indoor Space: Make it Sparkle Through Your Personal Style
Special Bonus Section: 8 Ways to Beautify Your Garden
“Inspiration comes in waves. When a good one comes in, ride it as long as you can. Enjoy it. Fall into the moment. Let it carry you where it will.”
Michelle Hawk, Editor, Wellness Pursuits
As promised, here is the continuation, and final version of my helpful garden tips, which is basically a way of extending your indoor living right to the outdoors. We’re probably questioning whether we should be planning a vacation or staycation this year since we are still surrounded by the uncertainty of COVID and the ongoing, associated risk factors. If you’re like me, I’ve decided to stay pretty close to home in my protective bubble. With that, I am keenly interested in doing everything I can, on a budget of course, to live comfortably on my outdoor patio enjoying every bit of my fine gardening techniques. Well, maybe not perfect, but quite beautiful as the spring-time emerges, and I didn’t have to hire an outdoor landscaper or designer.
When we lived in northern California and the Pacific northwest, we made the most out of the warm months, those precious warm months which there were only a few. Here in southern California, it quite the opposite. We only have a couple of months that are iffy, primarily due to colder and sometimes rainier conditions. We’ve been prepping for spring and it has finally arrived in full blossom.
In my post from a month ago, I shared a number of “surefire” tips to help create an outdoor environment worth expanding and living in. Today, this blog is an extension of those ideas and hopefully you will find them enlightening and worth your consideration, so be sure to add these hints to the previous ones to complete your journey to enjoying a more comfortable and inspirational outdoor lifestyle
- Outdoor Lighting. It’s oh so simple with solar lights. My favorites are the up lights casting great accents on larger plants and trees, in addition to the ones that creat designs on your patio floor. Costco, Amazon, Etsy, Home Depot, Lowe’s are all great sources.
- Hummingbird Feeders. You can spend as much or as little as you want on your feeder of choice and you can shop for them everywhere. Following the instructions for mixing the proper solution is the first step to absolute enjoyment. Once the little ones get used to the location of your feeder, they will amaze you with their aerial acrobatics showing off their iridescent bodies. They are the smallest bird and the only one that can fly backwards, and their wings move anywhere from 12 to 80 beats per second depending on their size. They need to eat on average every 15 minutes in order to maintain their incredibly high metabolism so the feeders, of which I have three, help to supplement their diets.
- Patio Chairs. Not just any chair however, I happen to love Adirondack chairs, whether it be in a mountain home or if you’re lucky enough to have a deck overlooking water. When it comes to lounging around there’s nothing better than one of these beauties, as they now come in a variety of spring and summer colors. But don’t limit yourself, fill your patio with multiple chairs and fluffy blankets around a firepit or coffee table and you’ll be crowned the hostess or host of the year in no time.
- Outdoor Movie Spot. Obviously, you have to have the space and understanding neighbors—be sure to invite them. This one has been on my bucket list for quite some time…someday. Outdoor projectors are not only portable but inexpensive these days and then you can go “old school” with a sheet on a garage door or the side of barn, you’re set to go. Oh, don’t forget the popcorn.
- Rugs and Throws. Use outdoor rugs to define a space. To make your outdoor space truly livable, you want to make it feel cozy and inviting. I have them located under three different patio sets. They are so comfortable to walk on and they really do add a touch of elegance to your outdoor style. When they get dusty, simply hose them off and their original appearance will return once they dry.
Bed Swing or Hammock. Honestly, can you think of anything grander than an afternoon nap in the beauty of your outdoor living space. You can add soft pillows and a throw and a good book. When the eyes begin to tire, just nod off in true splendor.
Build or Purchase a Backyard Bar. If your handy and equipped with a good tutorial you can put together a burst of beautiful. Or make it even simpler, buy one and have someone help you assemble it. Make sure you have enough space for all your beverages, and to complete it, you might want to add a small refrigerator. If you’re serious about this, head to www.nickandalicia.com for an easy to-do tutorial.
- Firepit. Who doesn’t love gathering around a warm fire on a cool summer night. Firepits can be fairly pricey, but there are a number of budget friendly ones ranging from contemporary to rustic charm. The fuel can be natural gas, propane and of course, the best is real wood for that wonderful smell of hickory while you’re roasting marsh mellows and prepping smores. Be sure to check with your local fire ordinance codes and guidelines. Three good sources are Costco, www.gardenfarm.com and Amazon.
- Stock Tank as a Pool. If you live in the country or have extra space in your backyard, repurpose a stock tank, fill it with water, and invite your grandkids for an afternoon of enjoyment. You can find them at your local farm store, we have several in the Temecula area here in southern California, and yes, we’re still considered a bit country. A perfect way for us older folks to cool off without investing thousands in a pool and spa. And by the way, to keep the water perfectly clean and healthy, you can purchase small filtration kits from your local pool supplier.
- Transform a Shed or She Shed. Take your backyard shed and transform it into a gorgeous space. You can start on the outside with a fresh coat of paint and even some murals, then move to the inside and clean it and prep it for storage or garden utility.
- Build or Purchase a Pergola/Gazebo. A pergola seems like an expensive endeavor, but again, if you’re handy, you can build one on a budget. Or if you prefer, you can go Home Depot and Lowe’s and find one on display that you like. They come with slatted and covered roofs and some even have mood lighting installed in the ceiling. To complete it, add a patio table and chairs along with a myriad of plants and now you have even more outdoor living space. Two great sources are www.createdhome.com and www.lizmarieblog.com for a wide variety of DIY projects.
- Recycle or Upcycle. This is all about taking what you might have around the house and turning it into something that has utility. For example, don’t toss your old gardening wellies (rain boots). Turn them into cute planters that fit on steps or a deck or next to a sunny back yard door. Recycle vintage tins—trade in your go-to-terracotta pots and deck your porch, tables, steps in a more original alternative. Look at your local flea markets, antique stores and Etsy. Place bright geraniums in the tin and you’re good to go. Great for picnic areas and your patio tables to give them a country chic vibe.
- Elegant Seating. This is so easy to find, a great patio store in your area will carry a wide selection. Online shopping is great if you don’t mind not seeing the product until it arrives, or you can visit Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware for some beautiful pieces. Another terrific source to shop or just get inspired is www.serena&lily.com. At a minimum, have their catalog sent to you, then sit back and dream what you can do both inside and outside.
- Plant Edibles. There is no reason why you can’t use a small portion of your backyard or patio to plant easy to grow edibles such as a wide variety of greens (lettuce), cherry tomatoes, green onions, climbing beans and all kinds of herbs. Pick fresh daily to add to your various meals.
Garden Beautification. As a separate section with its own design concepts, I wanted to share these features which come to us from Better Homes and Gardens.
- The first thing you want to do is clean up your existing flower beds—get rid of the winter left-over and any winter mulch you might have added as protection.
- As you remove the winter mulch, be sure to add a new layer of mulch to your beds to help retain moisture for your plants and add a new polished look to your garden.
- If you don’t have a gardener, which most of us don’t, get your pruning shears out and trim the buds before they start to bloom.
- Ah the little bird feeders. Take them down, wash them out, and fill them up with fresh seed or nectar.
- Freshly planted perennials need a little time to get settled and grow new roots before the hot summer weather hits. For some quick color, add a few cool season annuals like pansies or snapdragons in the garden and in pots.
- If you’re into late spring, be sure to deadhead bulbs and spent blossoms.
- If you’re into annuals like I am, pick out flats of your favorites like petunias, impatiens and zinnias for a burst of color. Be sure to check your growing zone.
- Plant summer blooming bulbs like dahlias and gladiolus once there is no more threat of frost.
“Anything that helps you to be happier every day is fantastic nourishment for the soutl. The happier we are and the more positive our thoughts and actions become, the more easily we can manifest what we desire in our lives.”
Michelle Hawk, Editor, Wellness Pursuits
To all my Baby Boomer subscribers, we’ve always enjoyed being the trend setters so why stop now. No matter where you live, whether it be a large plot of land or a smaller yard, deck or patio, go find something to make your outdoor space special and set yourself apart. Sit back and enjoy a cool drink and the cool breeze and the start of the spring/summer season that lies before us.