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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Create An Inviting Summer Porch

Monday, June 3, 2019

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Summer is a time for living a little slower pace with family, friends, and neighbors. What better place to enjoy easy-living summer days  and nights than on an inviting porch. 

Thanks to Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home, you can see a collection of ideas from 20 bloggers at Spring into Summer! | Porches, Patios, and Outdoor Spaces Blog Hop for how each of us created outdoor spaces to enjoy this summer.  

If you are coming from Carol at Art and Sand, aren't her house and garden inspiring for summer ideas? I always feel happy when looking at Carol's blog anytime of the year. 

At the end of the post you can find links to see all of the ways 20 outdoor spaces from coast to coast are ready for summer. Wherever you live or whatever your style, you are sure to find some ideas for your summer outdoor spaces. 


Welcome to my summer porch.


Summer Porch ... brings to mind a place to relax, to share a meal, and to solve the world's problems with good friends or with your children out of school for summer vacation. See nine (9) ways I created an inviting summer porch for those long, lazy summer days to come. 


C R E A T E   A N   I N V I T I N G   

S U M M E R   P O R C H 



COMFORTABLE  SEATING 


Two large chairs side-by-side make conversations easy. Big chairs are more inviting for lounging than small chairs. Men appreciate a large, comfy chair that invites stretching out with plenty of room. Adirondack chairs are super comfortable with their slanted backs and curved seats. 



Chaise lounges with their adjustable backs go from an upright seat for joining in conversations with others to lying flat for a summer afternoon nap. Lounges made of lightweight aluminum are easy to move around to take advantage of sunshine, a cool breeze, or a shady spot. 


CUSHIONS 


Cushions added to outdoor wooden chairs raise the comfort level. Don't overlook cushions you may already own. These blue and white cushions are from a bed in a guest room, and do double duty. During the day they can sit on the porch chairs, and at night, they can go back to the guest room. 



GREEN  PLANTS


Think of green plants as the foundation for porch gardens just like shrubs and trees are the foundation for in-ground gardens. A large ivy topiary is a focal point on the porch year round. 

Smaller pots of colorful annual and perennial blooming flowers fill in between the green plants. When the flowers are not in bloom, green plants still offer a pretty garden. 



TIP: Place a smaller pot next to a large ivy plant in order to root a long ivy tendril and propagate another ivy plant. Place an ivy tendril under soil in the small pot. When the tendril has rooted and is established, cut the vine from the parent plant. 



Dwarf yaupon hollies grow in two large blue pots on each end of the sunny balcony part of the covered porch. Notice the porch roof does not extend to the porch railing which allows the plants to get both rainfall and sunshine. White blooming columbine is between the ivy topiary and the potted yaupon holly. 



BLOOMING  FLOWERS


Nantucket Blue® hydrangea is a new variety of hydrangea to me. The plant is hardy to -20° to -30°, needs partial shade, and blooms repeatedly over summer. One placed between the two chairs is close enough to smell the faint fragrance.  




Two more Nantucket Blue® hydrangeas sitting at the edge of the porch receive some rainfall and plenty of shade. With a faucet nearby on the open deck, it is easy to keep a watchful eye on the plants and water them often. 




A shade tolerant hosta in bloom sits on the edge of the potting bench where it gets morning sun, afternoon shade, and rainfall. More small pots of ivy on the potting bench will provide greenery all summer. 



FLAT  SURFACES  FOR  FOOD  &  DRINKS


A rustic blue painted box sits between the two Adirondack chairs and makes a great place to set a tray of snacks. I try to keep the box top uncluttered at all times for setting a plate of food brought outside on the spur-of-the-moment. Having a spot to set food encourages sitting on the porch and enjoying an unplanned few minutes outside watching birds, bees, and butterflies as they flit among the trees.  

The wide wooden arms of the chairs offer stable spots to set drinks. One of the reasons I like Adirondack chairs is their wide wooden arms. Wicker chairs catch my attention and tempt me to buy them, but so far I haven't found any with wide arms to hold drinks. 



PAPER  GOODS  &  TOWELS


A favorite French wire basket holds coordinating paper plates, matches, and a cotton towel. Corralled, but handy to use with snacks as needed. The beautiful hydrangea pattern coordinates with the hydrangea plants on the porch. 



SERVING  TABLE  &  FLOWER ARRANGING  STATION 


A large glass top on a vintage sewing machine base provides a spot for serving food on the porch. When not used to serve food, the glass table holds supplies for flower arranging. 



Vintage fruit/canning jars on top of a plate rack are handy as vases for holding wildflowers or for holding small votives. 



The blue floral plates are not for serving food; they are for setting underneath potted plants to protect furniture. All of these plates have cracks, chips, or crazed glazes making them unsafe for serving food, but they are too pretty to throw away and are useful as plant saucers. Small clear dessert-size plates are also used as plant saucers. 



LIGHTING


A variety of lighting supplements the exterior lights on either side of the porch's French doors. 


A collection of lanterns sit on the serving table ready to use when the sun goes down. Two of the lanterns are designed to hold candles or votives and can hold citronella candles to deter bugs. 

There is also a blue battery-operated lantern that provides more light than candles. 



Patio string lights are attached to two sides of the porch ceiling and provide light for sitting on the porch after dark. Their soft glow matches the soft whispers recounting the day's activities or dreaming about tomorrow's plans. 

What is it about night time porches and campfires that reduces conversations to hushed utterances, barely audible? 



Small votives add to the ambience of a quiet summer evening on the porch. As a child, I sat silently on my grandmother's covered porch in the dark, listening to the sounds of bullfrogs, whippoorwills, doves, and the creak of her rocking chair or the porch swing's chains. Occasionally a whiff of honeysuckles drifted by on a soft breeze. 



CEILING  FAN


A ceiling fan cools the covered porch and helps sweep away bugs.  

Important design features are the number of blades, the wingspan of the blades, safety rated for exterior uses, and cubic feet per minute (cfm) of air movement. Cubic feet per minute of air movement is more important than the size of the fan. 

With our Texas heat, the ceiling fan extends the time the porch is cool enough for use. Sometimes we also add a small floor fan. 




Please PIN ⇑

summer time & the living is easy 
on an inviting summer porch


Head over to see how CoCo at The Crowned Goat has readied her island home in Florida for summer time. 

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your time here and found an idea or two to use in your own home. Be sure to visit all 20 sites for more ideas. 


S O U R C E S 

See how I gave new life to the Adirondack chairs

See my newest Pinterest Board, SUMMER, for more summer ideas. 

Look for patriotic ideas on my Pinterest Board, PATRIOTIC. Independence Day is just over a month away! 

Shop for Hydrangea Towels at Botanic Bleu
{disclosure: If you purchase items from Botanic Bleu Square Market,  I receive compensation. Please see my full Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more information.} 



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20 comments:

  1. Your porch/deck is a lovely, comfortable, welcoming space! Who wouldn't want to sit in complete comfort, surrounded by those gorgeous hydrangea and plants!?

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  2. Your porch is such a wonderfully large space to enjoy all summer. Love the pretty blue and white accessories.

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  3. Your porch is gorgeous, Judith. Just lovely and such great tips.

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  4. Your porch truly speaks my love language Judith. So welcoming and I adore all of the touches of blue.

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  5. I am loving your porch and the color you have out there. Such a beautiful spot to sit and relax.

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  6. Judith, what a beautiful serene space you have created! I love every detail! It is a pleasure to join you for the hop this week! Blessings, Cecilia @ My Thrift Store Addiction

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  7. Judith I am in love with your outdoor space. I love that you potted those gorgeous hydrangeas and I pinned your post for inspiration! All of your blue makes me so happy!!!

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  8. I'm just going to crawl into one of those amazing chairs, sink back in that sumptious blue plaid pillow and take a nap. shoo me out later! beautiful setting, Judith!

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  9. I love your cool blues and greens summer porch, Judith. Adirondack chairs are such a classic, inviting outdoor seating option. Thanks for the propogating ivy tip! Love the blue hydrangeas-I need to look for that new variety!Thanks for the tour!

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  10. Judith, your porch is so inviting and of course I love the mix of blues and greens together. You certainly have the ideal space for comfortable outdoor living. By the way I love the serving table and the lovely vignette you created. Pinned!

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  11. Thank you Judith for so many great tips and inspiration ! I've given up on my thumbs. The Mister says he's taking over which is fine by me. Your deck is quite the retreat and I'd love sitting out there with both of your fans and one more just for my face! I'm a brat about the heat. Enjoy!

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  12. Your porch looks so refreshing. I particularly love the selection of pillows you've chosen and, of course, that ivy topiary is spectacular!!

    I can envision your porch being used for meals, beverages and relaxing. :-)

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

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  13. My goodness, I would live out there, though I'm sure the heat might be an issue. You have everything you need for relaxation and entertaining...and LOVE all the blue---it's so cooling and a refresh for the spirit!

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  14. The outside of your home is a charming and lovely as the inside, Judith. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  15. Fabulous post as always Judith! You have given me so many ideas. Great tip for propogating ivy. I have lots of ivy on one side of our porch and I am trying to incorporate more on the other side, but only in pots so it doesn't become invasive.

    Okay, after the fact I am realizing that I could have kept the bottom of my sewing machine and added a concrete or tiled slab to the top for a potting bench! A friend of mine who deals in antiques wanted the sewing machine (she will clean it up). Oh well, I guess I will have to keep my eye out for a sewing machine base on my junking adventures!

    I love how you are giving your vintage plates new life as plant saucers. I definitely will borrow this idea!

    All of your plants are so lovely and of course your beautiful blue color scheme is relaxing and serene. I would love to sit here and talk with you!

    Thanks so much for joining the hop. Have a great summer!

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  16. I meant to say I love your sewing machine/potting bench!

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  17. You're stealing my heart with this blue and white, Judith! I love all the different layers of plants and flowers you've used on the porch too. I've never even heard of Nantucket hydrangeas but these beauties make me want to have some delivered ASAP. Thanks so much for the tip on the ivy too. I would have never thought to try that! Love so many things about this gorgeous space lady. You nail it every time! Thank you bunches for the shout out. You're a tough act to follow! Happy summer and big hugs, CoCo

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  18. You seem to have styled your lovely porch with absolutely everything that is needed for a lovely spot to enjoy the summer weather. I love that you have included green plants and the blooming hydrangeas. It is like your garden is creeping up onto your porch!

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  19. Judith, what a beautiful porch scene. So lush and green. Love your ruffled blue pillows. The blue trunk is a treasure too. Your blue hydrangeas frame the porch beautifully. What a wonderful spot to enjoy a summer day.

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  20. Your porch looks like the perfect place to sit back and relax on a hot summer day. I love the blue hydrangea

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Judith