Outdoor Living Summer Blog Hop 2018

Outdoor Living Summer Blog Hop 2018

Join us for a all inspiring Outdoor Living Summer Blog Hop, featuring several talented bloggers. Gather up loads of great ideas for your outdoor living space just in time for the long weekend.  

Many of you may remember last year we launched our first, big group, blog hop with the 2017 Great Outdoor Living post. We joined several talented bloggers around the world to launch our outdoor living spaces. This year we have teamed back up to bring you a second serving of all of our great outdoor goodness. 

Since June 6th starts National Gardening Week, I decided to really focus on my planting selections for this year. Since I am located in the south, I was able to start a lot earlier than some blogger friends. This gave me a little bit of a head start on the growing season, but not to worry the Georgia heat will eventually take its toll on my plants this summer and my friends to the north will be sitting really pretty not paying a ridiculous water bill like me, lol.   

I selected my herbs and vegetables back in March, (you will notice a huge difference between this back yard picture and present day). Since I have a container system, I can easily take my plants inside if the weather gets too cold at night.  This allows me to keep them safe and warm.  I decided to go with all the old standbys: basil, rosemary, cilantro, sage, parsley (curly & flat) , thyme, oregano, thai basil, mexican tarragon, chives, and mint. Word to the wise, always plant mint in a container unless your want it to grow everywhere! 

As you can see my herbs are growing prolifically and my thai basil has even sent out flowers. I have heard this makes the herbs hot or bitter and you should not allow this to happen.  However, I have not noticed a change as of yet so I think we are good. As you can see we still love our Vertical Pallet Herb Garden, we just added a fresh coat of  trim paint and new plants and it was good to go again this year. Feel free to click the link above if you would like more information on the DIY portion to make your own. 

This year we decided to put a mix of “fairway variegated coleus” plants under our potted Japanese Maple. I normally have Impatient’s here but I really fell in love with these beauties and the bright vibrate varieties I found at a local grower this year. Coleus, like Impatient’s, require shade and will melt in the hot Georgia sun. So just like my Hosta’s, I have to keep them protected.   As mention above, I purchased all my herbs and veggies back in March. Some of my tomato plants are already starting to flower, which means I should have tomato’s soon. This sweet little wheel barrow was built for me by my husband as a front porch decoration and I decided that I would transform it into a small container garden for the back patio. I have a DIY tutorial that I released this week with all the details so be sure to check it out at DIY Wheel Barrow Garden O’PlentyWe are so lucky to have such a nice private wooded lot behind out home that backs up to a pretty large creek. The lower area of our back yard is considered to be a part of the wetlands and can never be developed for that reason. This makes the perfect growing conditions for several kinds of plants. As you can see my rose garden has gotten very large after only 2 growing seasons, these are Knock Out Roses which are very hardy and one of the easiest kinds to grow here in Georgia.

You might also notice the gigantic day lilies lining the front edge of this hill side. This variety is called Stella D’ora, they will bloom yellow though out the entire summer and return each year. They are also very easy to grow, but in all my years of gardening I have never seen them grow this big after just 2 years, must be the soil. I also want to take this time to thank several of my very generious neighbors, that have shared several types of native bulbs with me since we built our home. It just assures me we chose the right area with so many wonderful gardeners willing to share their love of gardening with us. I was so excited to get some beautiful blooms on my Peony’s this year. I planted 3 plants 2 years ago varying shades of pink. This year I was so excited to see how well they were doing that I added 3 more Sarah Bernhardts,  which are a white peony. I was actually able to cut my own big beautiful peonies this year, which is something I really missed when we moved. My previous yard was like a English garden and I always had the ability to cut fresh cut flowers year round. Now this to me is a treasure.  I know a lot of people probably think it is just a weed, but this vine of little white flowers is wild Cherokee Rose, which is actually our state flower. Right now the wild privot is in bloom, but just a few weeks ago our wood line was covered with this pretty little white flower. The cool thing about this is how much actually grows so prolifically in this area and I can tell you legend of why.

“The Legend of the Cherokee Roses states that when the Trail of Tears started in 1838, the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and crying so much, because they were unable to help their children survive the journey. The elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mother’s spirits to give them strength. It is said that everywhere the mother tear’s fell the Cherokee Rose’s began to bloom.”Since my home is actually located along the Historic Trail of Tear and the Cherokee always followed water, I can’t help but think that they probably came through this way. I am actually 1/8 Cherokee Indian on my mother’s side. I am the great-great- great grand daughter of Chief Tuttle and his wife Pokerhontas (yeah, pretty close to Pocahontas, see Disney has been ripping off my family for years, lol) of the Cherokee Indians. I know, I know, blonde hair and blue eyes, I so look the part of a Native American princess, lol. Now here is some fun food for thought, for some unexplained reason I was really drawn to this particular piece of land to build our home. Many of you know that my husband and I both work from home. We have been known to catch up on our Vitamin D intake by having work day lunches on the patio. Today we have a simple cold slice BBQ chicken plate, with a Fresh Broccoli Salad. It really is fun to take our plates out back, on a pretty day and enjoy a simple lunch break outside. Besides, we built this beautiful Patio, (see Patio Paver post for all the details)  and we love to take full advantage of it on pretty days like today. 

Other days you might just find us out here instead, it just depends on how we are feeling and how long of lunch break we decide to take. This deck is more of a weekend grilling station and you can see on this deck we have an umbrella for a little bit more shade. We even created the flower basket you see as the centerpiece so that it works with the umbrella at all times. You can see the full tutorial here at: DIY Umbrella HolderYou may have noticed that I do a lot of container planting. I love the ability to mix full flats of flowers together in unique combinations to create one of kind containers for all my porches. It gives an expensive custom feeling without the designer price tag. In the pots below, you will see the same New Guinea Impatient’s that I used throughout my containers, but I added purple sweet potato vine for a trailing effect and peppermint salvia for a pop.You may have also noticed that I also really like to use found objects or unexpected items for gardening. I really like to add a bit of whimsey to my garden. I have noticed by touring a lot of great gardens around the world, the most successful way to do that is by adding plants to unexpected items.  For example, this old tarnished tea set that was given to us as a wedding gift, I love it and could not bare to part with it but I wanted to give it a new life. 

I was inspired by all the fairy gardens you see on Pinterest and I thought what a fun outdoor centerpiece this would make. So I lined the tray with potting soil and placed moss on top with a few pretty rocks, then added soil to the tea pot, cream and sugar bowl. Just add a few plants and a cute moveable centerpiece is born. The same is true for this old pot belly stove. I found this at an antique store for nearly nothing. I added a pot to the underside and planted this fragrant Confederate Jasmine to the pot. Since this jasmine is a vine it can be trained to grow up a stake or drape over the sides.

Let me say, it smells divine, so it found a home on my front porch right next to the door. Here in the south it is a tradition to have a nice smelling plant within a few feet of your foot door to welcome your guests. I also have a gardenia that has been trained into to a tree that resides on the front porch as well. Last year I did not have very good luck with hanging baskets of flowers or ferns, since my porch gets heavy afternoon sun. This year I decided to just do smaller containers of colorful annuals I could keep sheltered from the blistering sun and I planted hanging succulents in my baskets. Which is fairing quite nicely.I also have the same issue with the urns I placed on either side of my garage doors. For this reason I choose hardy drought tolerant lantana in this cheery bright yellow color. I added purple fountain grass to add hight and interest in fall season as the lantana starts to fade. The last plants we added this year were a few native azaleas. We had Encore Azaleas and our super cold winter basically murdered them so we had to get all new this year, for continuity sake. We also decided to add some knock out roses to the base of our sunset maple tree in the front yard for summer color, and year round structure. 
Our final stop on the Outdoor Living Tour this year is my screened sitting porch that was recently redone with the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge. While it was no a part of the challenge we agree it  just needed a upgrade to match the feel of my office. You may recognize the furniture from our sun deck last season, which became the grilling porch this season. Just the addition of a few new pillows, outdoor drapes and a new rug dress up this space to feel brand new again. We loving call this “cap nip” or “cat nap” porch, many because of the multi pots of cat nip I have planted around the porch for our finicky felines. Usually there are one or two sunning themselves here, so I am surprised I got a picture sans the kitty parade.

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These involve no extra cost to you, but may result in me receiving a small commission – for which I am very grateful! You can view my full advertising disclosure here.

Well I hope you have enjoyed our little Home & Garden Tour for 2018. Please be sure to check  out all my talented friends also participating in the

2018 Summer Outdoor Living Blog Hop: 

Mommacan     Semigloss Design      The Project Pile   

Eclectic Twist

Jenron Designs    

A Happy Home in Holland      House By The Bay Design     







  1. Hello, such a nice share and you outdoor spaces are so pretty too.

  2. What a fun idea you home is beautiful and has so many beautiful outdoor areas.

  3. This post has so much inspiration for outdoor spaces, which I have been wanting to add to my home. Great ideas and tips thank you so much for share your beautiful visions.

  4. Thank you for posting this. Keep posting! And it’s nice to have an outdoor umbrella for your plants

  5. Jen, your garden is my dream garden. You have so much space and have included all the elements which I love to see in an outdoor space. I love the combinations of plants you have put together in your planters – so different! I really enjoyed looking around it again, it’s absolutely stunning 💕

  6. Thank You Sarah 🙂 you always know the perfect thing to say and brighten my day 🙂

  7. Jen, your home is so pretty! You have so many beautiful outdoor seating areas! I would love to hang out in any of them… Especially that outdoor fire place area! Well done!

  8. Thank you Emy 🙂 🙂 🙂 I hope you are feeling better, please know that I have been thinking about you, since the ORC.

  9. Thank you so much Tina I was so excited about the Peonies too. I have never been able to grow them until we moved to this area, just be good soil or the higher elevation or cooler night temps. Not sure, but I am super grateful.

  10. Thanks Lisa 🙂 Yeah we gotta get that Vitamin D where we can it has been a very rainy season this year so it is nice when we can actually sit out and enjoy the sun.

  11. Casey thank you so much I really appreciate that, coming for you and your beautiful home that is such a compliment. 🙂

  12. You have an absolutely beautiful backyard! I would want to spend all my time out there and on that screened in porch – just gorgeous!

  13. Your photos are absolutely stunning! My backyard landscaping is is dire need of some work. I especially love your peonies for I was very fortunate to see ample blooms this year in my yard. Keep up the wonderful work!

  14. Oh my stars! It is lovely! Thank you for this tour of your garden and the explanations! I loved it! Especially the story of the Cherokee Tears. Beautiful!

  15. You have the most gorgeous outdoor spaces. I am so jealous! And you decorate them so well. I am sure you guys throw killer parties!

  16. Lovely! I am now trying to add more fucsia an white flowers to my balcony!! Your garden looks amazing

  17. My word, you have the most greenest thumb! If this is your personal garden, whomever hires you to work their garden is so blessed! Love the colors, fragrance and the life that plants provide. The trail of tears story is touching and heartfelt. Thanks so much for sharing this!! 🌻🌺🌼🌷🌸 Love it.

  18. Jen this was a great blog hop, I always love to see you home for the spring and summer. Your garden and yard is always so pretty plus you have great outdoor spaces and really focus in on how to dress them up in a practice way.

  19. Your gardens are beautiful. Love how you and your hubby take time to have a picnic lunch outside, Vitamin D is a must!

  20. Your outdoor spaces are so beautiful! I would love to work from home and have lunches out there. How do you keep your outdoor furniture clean? I feel like mine is always covered in pollen which deters me from sitting out there!

  21. Everything looks lovely! I need to save this for help on my home outdoor ideas!

  22. Wow Jennifer! You put my flower game to shame girlfriend! I am SO jealous of your gorgeous peonies, they are favorites of mine but I haven’t been able to plant any (no good spot in our yard). Yours are looking stunning! And the adorable wheelbarrow and your vertical garden! So many incredible pieces and spots to enjoy. Thank you so much for sharing my friend!

  23. Your home is so lovely!! Your picnic lunch looks delicious. I need to sit outside and eat more. 🙂
    Love that wheelbarrow full of plants!!

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