Follow these Key Elements to Create a Colorful Backyard!
Even before I had a backyard of my own, an apartment patio or balcony was an essential outdoor living space for me. But it wasn’t until I owned my first home, a town home, that my backyard garden style began to emerge. I was so excited to have an outdoor space where I could dig in the dirt and decorate any way I wanted. The lessons I learned from my sweet little townhouse helped to create a cohesive backyard that was the envy of the neighborhood. I am now on my third backyard and I am still employing the elements learned from the first backyard garden.
Element 1: Use of Unified Color or Style of Containers
I love container gardening! They make perfect sense on a patio, but I use them in the landscape as well. I believe they add dimension and interest to any backyard space.
Going back to the lessons learned from my townhouse, I quickly realized I had no control of what my uphill neighbors and property landscapers might do that would effect my garden. Like the day I came home and my neighbor’s house painters were cleaning their brushes with the outdoor faucet and ALL the paint water was running straight into my garden! Container gardening to the rescue!
Using the same colored pots filled with roses, annuals, perennials and even trees made quite the statement. There are so many options with pots coming in all colors or using distressed terra cotta pots or galvanized containers or even rusty bins from thrift markets. Using the same colored planters has definitely become one of my signature elements. Of course for me, its all about cobalt blue pots.
When I moved from my townhouse to my next home, I rented a U-Haul truck just to move my pots. I stopped counting at 40 pots! So I might have a slight problem! Eek! When I moved from Atlanta to Nashville, I had the movers handle several large pots with trees and shrubs that were too big for me to handle!
Element 2: Garden Art or Decor
Here is where things can get really fun. Accessorizing your backyard garden brings personality and character to your space, just as decorating the interior of your home. In my yard, I have everything from outdoor artwork, bottle trees, statuary, rusty garden stakes and ‘Chihuly’ style glass garden stakes.
I adore these glass garden stakes, they remind me of the Dale Chihuly art exhibits. Have you ever been to one of his exhibits? They are very worth it if you love beautiful glass art work.
This is just one of my bottle trees! Again this if very indicative of my style, blue glass!
How about some rusty garden stakes. I gave my mother this garden angel. When she moved to a home with no outdoor space, I inherited all her outdoor decor. I had given her many of these things through the years, so it very heartwarming to have so many of her beloved garden pieces. Interestingly enough, she gave me the rustic angel dog stake. You’ll also notice a very common dog theme to my outdoor decor. And you may even glimpse an actual dog or two. Our yard has to be dog friendly, with 4 dogs. Haha!
This is Poochie. I gave him to my mom. She loved him so much and would dress him up for holidays with festive scarves. When he came to live at my house, he sat on a step between two levels of my patio. See that white spot on the end of his nose? That is where my mom would touch his nose to steady herself as she stepped up to the outdoor sitting area. So many memories with these pieces. They make a garden home.
The stained glass stake, I bought at an art show in Fernandina Beach. It was another gift to my mom. “Life is many colors, find Peace in Yourself”. And here is Spot. He came from California. I’ve been know to ship chunks of concrete home from time to time.
My grandmother gave my this garden gnome decades ago, long before garden gnomes were a thing. I love all the detail on him. He is perched on a very intricately detail mushroom which unfortunately you can’t see. My grandmother always had her own wonderful garden. My mom always said I got her green thumb. I am not sure about that, but I definitely share her gardening passion.
What dog lover, who happened to be raised with Cocker Spaniels could resist this globe stand! Not me!
This lady I call Maria, from The Sound of Music, singing on that hilltop! Ok that is just my crazy imagination, but doesn’t she look like singing in the Alps! She actually belonged to my sister, but she knew how much I loved Maria, so she gave her to me. Now she has come full circle, as Sister and I are now roomies!
These sweet pieces are just a small fraction of my garden accessories, but as you can tell, they all have special meaning to me. Although that is not a requirement to have a beautiful backyard, it sure makes it a special place. My collection is pretty eclectic, and you can get as wild and crazy as you want or keep it sleek and modern or even zen like. Whatever you do, it should reflect you or the vibe you want for your garden.
Element 3: Sound and Smell
This element seems like a no brainer for a backyard retreat, but I try to design a space this really showcase both sound and scent. Why have only one wind chime when your can have many. Wind chimes of different lengths or made from different materials produce different sounds. I love having a variety, and love their melodic symphony.
Here are three chimes. The bell came from the high road between Santa Fe and Taos, NM. The other two chimes were gifts to Sister and I from mom!
A bubbling gurgling fountain creates such a soothing feeling. I don’t have one yet, but adding a water feature is definitely on my list of features to add to my backyard. I don’t think a garden is ever done. It should keep evolving year after year.
Of course incorporating plants with wonderful scents is a true garden pleasure. I love to plant lavender or rosemary near a walkway, so that you can run your hand across them as you pass stirring their heady aromas.
When I was in college, I lived in Rochester, NY. Highland Park in the heart of the city is famous for their lilacs, the largest collection of lilacs in the United States. In the spring, when they bloom, the entire city was scented with their aroma. And I loved it. It always made me sad, that I couldn’t grow lilacs in Altanta, but now that I live in Nashville, there are some varieties that will do well. You better believe I planted not one, but two lilacs this spring.
But the south has their own special offerings, and number one for me would be gardenias. Yup, I planted some gardenias this year too.
Probably one of the best sounds you can have in your garden is the sound of birds chirping, and that brings me to my next element…
Element 4: Planting for Nature, the Birds, Bees and Butterflies
It amazing to create a garden for nature. There is nothing better than seeing hummingbirds feeding on the salvia you have planted or watching bees buzzing from one coneflower to the next pollinating away.
Even more exciting is watching Monarchs floating about your backyard. Creating a backyard habitat for our winged critters is so easy and brings a whole new level of entertainment and satisfaction to gardening efforts. Pick the right plants and avoid the use of chemicals in your yard and you are well on the way. Coneflowers, bee balm, liatris, salvia, coreopsis, yarrow, butterfly bushes and milkweed are some of the plants I have in my garden.
Coneflowers and Liatris
Native Bee Balm also know as Monarda
This is milkweed and its seed pod, a host plants for Monarchs
These plants bringso much beauty to the garden but are also fabulous at attracting all forms of winged critters. I really enjoy the variety of birds, in addition to my favs, cardinals and chickadees, we have an abundance of bluebirds and yellow finches. I love seeing all these colorful birds.
Element 5: Cohesive Designs through Vignettes
On the one hand, using the first four elements to create a vignette may not seem like an element itself, but having fun vignettes throughout your backyard is a fantastic way to bring creativity to the space you want. It gives your eyes places to rest and study the elements and I believe they add so much character to a backyard or garden space. We can view out the various windows and catch certain vignettes. For instance, from the kitchen, we can see the coreopsis glowing from across the yard. And the bathroom window overlooks the drive way garden with all the cobalt blue pots and ‘Chiluly’ glass stakes. Here are a few of my vignettes.
And you thought I only had blue pots! So I do break my own rules, but I did group these white pots together. They make an awesome red, white and blue theme!
I highly recommend and encourage you to treat your outdoor space the same as you would your indoor spaces. Creative vignettes magically transforms all the above elements into a cohesive space that reflects your personality or brings the ambience to your backyard that you want. For me, I use all these elements to create a casual, comfortable, colorful space that Sister and I and our dogs enjoy.
I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe learned a thing or two about creating a backyard that reflects your own personal style. Have you used any of these ideas? I’d love to hear about how you decorate your backyard!
As an added bonus for you, this week we are participating in a Summer Outdoor Living blog hop. We have 17 bloggers sharing all about Summer Living. I hope you will visit each and every one of the blogs. You’ll see wonderful ideas for decorating and entertaining in or on backyards, patios, porches or pools. I know there are some awe inspiring ideas. Be sure check out their links below. I can’t wait to visit them all myself! I am looking forward to seeing all the great ideas they have.