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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

How to Bring Coastal Summer to a Deck

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Where is your favorite beach? Perhaps one spot comes to your mind instantly or perhaps, like me, no beach comes to mind as your favorite. Yet, the beach always comes to my mind in summer, and the two go hand-in-hand in my mind. 

Summer and the beach  

Since I am not going to the beach this summer, I brought a little beach to my deck. Here's how to bring coastal summer to a deck far from the beach. 

Start with a glass decorated with a beach symbol... a starfish, seahorse, shell. 

Add sand to the glass. Since I had sand left-over from when my garden shed was transformed from An Ugly Duckling to a White Swan, I used some of that. If you don't have any sand from other projects, local hardware stores stock more than one kind of sand usually, and sell it in bags. 

Place a small candle in the sand, and add seashells around it. Use a candle that is in a small glass for three reasons. 

1. The small glass contains the burning wax keeping the sand and seashells clean.

2.  The small glass keeps the larger glass from getting as hot. 

3. The small glass inside the larger glass provides two structures between which to contain the small seashells. 

Display a small collection of seashells in a small glass container like this recycled glass dish. 

These small shells were collected along the shores of Cape Canaveral when I went to see one of the last launches of a space shuttle, but that launch was scrubbed due to the weather. What to do when vacation plans fall through? Make other plans. Like collecting seashells... 

That was the second time I went to Florida to see a shuttle launch, and both times the launch was cancelled. Third time was charm since I did see the launch of the Endeavor shuttle, the next-to-last ever shuttle launch. 

Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, I was very aware of and interested in the space program. Several family members worked for Marshall Space Flight Center or subcontractors. I have vivid memories from the 1960s when booster rockets were first tested over 15 miles away from our house. On summer days with clear blue skies, my bedroom window would begin to shake as thundering, rumbling sounds filled the air, sounding like a thunderstorm. The rockets were "tied down," and the engines were fired for testing. 

The dream was to see a live shuttle launch. Collecting shells was a fun way to while away the time while waiting for the exhilarating event. The shells became mementos of a life dream fulfilled.  

White sand, white shells, and a white candle coordinate well with other decor, including French country. 

Add a heron decorated tin to hold fresh white stock flowers, a freshly-painted white Adirondack chair, and a blue and white throw pillow printed with summer phrases. 

With just a few items, it is easy to bring coastal summer to a deck. The keys to achieving the look ... 

a blue and white color scheme 
traditional beach symbols like sand, shells, seahorses, herons
Adirondack chairs

VoilĂ ... Without seeing the rest of the setting, this scene could be on a deck along the coast.