Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Design Experts Share Tips for Instant Outdoor Style

We love a good party as much as anyone here at GMG, so we asked some of our garden designer friends for tips on using plants to make your summer party sizzle!
According to James T. Farmer III, landscape designer and event planner, people planning outdoor parties think about the food and beverages but often forget about their deck or patio until the last minute.

He says it's really easy to create a tropical paradise right in your own backyard! "All you need are some beautiful hibiscus or mandevilla to instantly transform your patio or deck into a summer party for weddings, graduations and the Fourth of July."

No time plant? You can find stunning patio ready pots at your local garden center, which can add vivid color to any summer occasion. 

Bobbie Schwartz, past president and certified member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), recommends creating a focal point using a series of accessories. “Place three containers of varying heights near an entryway to welcome your guests. Use at least one plant that can be repeated in at least two of the containers to unify the look,” she says.

Farmer says he often places plants right in a container and then just top dresses them with sphagnum moss for a finishing touch. “I create instant containers by removing the hanging basket wires and popping the basket right into a pretty container,” suggests Farmer.  “No digging or potting required.”

Try bringing a little paradise home with Costa Farms’ new Tropic Escape hibiscus. (  The over-sized flowers come in more than a dozen hot showcase tropical colors like Caribbean Cocktail yellow, Tiki Temptation orange, and Monsoon Mixer pink and lavender. The easy-care hibiscus bloom twice as long as old-fashioned hibiscus and can take the heat through the hottest summer months.
Farmer and Schwartz agree this year’s color influences draw inspiration from nature.

“Many of the new cultivars are lower maintenance and longer blooming than plants of the past and they come in bold, wow colors like purple, pink and orange that attracts birds and butterflies to your backyard,” says Schwartz.
Next time you're planning your summer party don't forgot the plants to liven up your outdoor space!


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