First off, this is most definitely not a typical gardening article, primarily because this is not a gardening blog (they are so many great ones out there.) If I ever do pass along a more “technical” gardening tip, it’s because my dear friend and gardener extraordinaire, Eddie, has given me some advice. However, that would require that I actually retained that little nugget of information and thought it a good idea to pass along. (Read between the lines here: that won’t happen too often!)
So, when we talk about gardening or yards, it’s in keeping with the main theme of our blog and that is how to elevate your style as it relates to outdoor spaces. I think of this particular article as more of a checklist.
That said, it’s finally that time of year when we can safely say that spring is here! Both mentally and physically, spring is a time of rebirth, of all things new and refreshed. It’s also a time when you head outdoors and see what needs sprucing up or replaced. Do you need a spring cleanup? How about new mulch? Did all your boxwoods make it through the winter? How about your pots? Take inventory now, versus waiting until Memorial Day, when pickings can be slim— especially when it comes to certain plants, shrubs, flowers and trees. Maybe you can’t buy everything quite yet, but figuring out what you need is half the battle. If you decide you need help with some of your projects, get on people’s schedules now.
If you’re just coming out of a season inside, maybe you’ve decided to change up your outside a bit, by adding something new to your outdoor space—whether that space is a lawn, garden, flower box, planting pot or whatever. Eddie and I have planted perennials in the shades that I like best (white, pink, lavender) so I know I can count on those year after year. But it’s really fun to add in a few annuals and other pieces to keep things fresh and interesting.
One of my favorite adds from a couple years ago is my moss-covered Golden Retriever “topiary.” He sits in my gravel garden surrounded by ground-cover and bushes and I never have to worry about cleaning up after him! You can find him at bonanza.com. Speaking of gravel, I like to use a mixture of 3/8 stone mixed with pea gravel. The combination adds texture and dimension that you don’t get with just pea gravel. Try it the next time you need to supplement your gravel garden or stone pathway.
Perhaps a smaller object (with even less upkeep) is more your style. As you can tell, we are all about the dogs and I do love “Moxie” from Grandinroad. He sits on my outdoor coffee table and takes up next to no room. He’s cute and a good conversation piece. Check out Moxie and other varieties of outdoor garden pups at Grandinroad.com
Spring is also the time to check out your fences and gates in case you need to make any repairs. Also, inspect your patio furniture. Is it in good shape? Even though I cover my patio furniture for the winter, I had my Brown Jordan table and chairs refinished last year (after 20+ years) and it made a world of difference. It looks like a completely new set! If you haven’t been covering your outdoor furniture during the winter (and live somewhere that you probably should), invest in some decent outdoor furniture covers. I buy mine from Coverstore. They always seem to have good promotions and sales. Wash them at the end of winter and you’ll have them forever.
One of the biggest and least expensive changes you can make to an outdoor space if you have outdoor furniture is to switch out your outdoor pillows. In our opinion, outdoor pillows are in a far different category than indoor pillows. While indoor pillows can sometimes be “investment pieces,” outdoor pillows have a far shorter life.
Even the best outdoor fabrics need to be replaced every few years. After awhile, outdoor pillows aren’t quite up to snuff; the color is faded, they’ve been rained on one too many times or they’ve just lost their oomph. Adding new pillows (think about incorporating different sizes and shapes) freshens your space and lets you introduce some new colors if your palette has changed. Plus, they’re easy to find practically anywhere!
A single stunning pot by your front door or wherever it will be noticed can be a game-changer. There are so many different styles, shapes, sizes and colors to choose from. If you decide to change just one thing this spring, consider a beautiful container of some sort. For something truly unique, check out local farmers markets.
Have limited space? A great little herb garden is not only beautiful, but practical, especially if you cook frequently. One of the things that I love doing this time of year is going to a farmers market and picking out my herbs for the season. Pick the herbs you use most. In my case, that would basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, dill and chives. Sometimes I add in mint, too. There’s nothing more festive than mint juleps and Arnold Palmers with a fresh mint garnish from your own little garden. Just make sure you have plenty of fresh soil and place it in an area that has enough sun.
Water carefully. I tend to overdo that. To really make things easy, I bought a self-watering herb container so I don’t even have to worry about it. Planters come in all sizes. Check out Gardeners.com, CedarCraft.com or Wayfair.com for some good options.
Lastly, the thing that most everyone needs for spring is a fresh pair of gardening gloves. You can find super cute ones practically everywhere, from Target to Home Depot and Lowes. If you want to get a pair that really lasts, take a look at the leather work/gardening gloves from Williams-Sonoma. Happy sprucing!