7 Easy Tips for An Autumn Paradise In Your Yard
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~ Albert Camus
Heat and drought of the summer often leave many landscapes in need of an injection of color and texture. So as the days get shorter, the air gets crisp, and the trees become ablaze with autumn colors of red, orange and yellow, take time to refresh your garden and patio and turn it into the perfect retreat for enjoying the season.
Here are 7 easy tips from Westlake Ace Hardware to help you turn your lawn and patio into an Autumn Paradise:
- Mum’s the word! When it comes to fall flowers, mums are king. They are a great, easy, and inexpensive way to inject vibrant color into your landscape. To make the best impact, purchase a large quantity of mums in a variety of colors. Buy them in various sizes to not only add color, but visual interest as well. Another option is to buy just one or two colors to create a theme consistent with your patio, landscape or house colors. Scatter the different colors of mums through out your landscape in groupings of three or five. If possible, mound dirt to add height to your display. Give them a drink of water (including water-soluble fertilizer) and mulch with fresh wood bark to give a neat, professional appearance. Leaving the mums in their pots when you plant them will allow you to easily remove them from the landscape once the killing frosts of winter arrive. However, if you would like to see them blossom again next fall, be sure to plant them in the ground early in the season to ensure they take root before the first frost.
- Grasses add texture and height. Mums aren’t the only plants that help create a lush, colorful autumn landscape display. Consider adding ornamental grasses like Fountain Grass to your landscape. The colors and height evoke images of harvest time, and the spiked leaves contrast the dark green leaves and bright colors of the mums. Many grasses planted in the fall may not be hardy enough to survive the winter, but don’t let that discourage you from planting them. Leave them in the ground until spring; it provides visual interest in the winter landscape, and shelter for birds and animals.
- Play with your plants. There are now a wide variety of other plants widely available for fall planting, including kale, asters, pansies, rudbeckia and ornamental peppers. Like grasses, these plants add color and texture to any landscape. Most are hardy enough to stay in great shape until Thanksgiving. The key is to feed and water them on a regular basis.
- Don’t forget the pumpkins and gourds. Even if you don’t plan to carve a jack-o-lantern this Halloween, pumpkins and gourds should still be part of your fall landscaping decorating projects now through Thanksgiving. Now available in an ever-increasing variety of colors, shapes and textures, they add color and visual interest to any landscape, patio or front door. A fun project is to turn a hollowed-out pumpkin into a planter for a potted mum. When combined with dried corn stalks, hay bales, interesting twigs, antique wheelbarrows or containers, and Indian corn, you’ll create a perfect autumnal retreat that will be the envy of the neighborhood. Here are some easy an inexpensive outdoor decorating projects to try this fall with dried millet and cornstalks.
- Containers add quick, colorful impact. Freshen up your containers by replacing tired summer annuals with mums, pansies, kale and asters. For additional impact on your patio, buy several clay pots in various sizes and paint them with indoor/outdoor spray paint in rich autumn colors like red, moss green, orange, brown and dark purple. When dry, simply drop a mum, kale or an ornamental grass container in the pot (no planting required) for quick color and instant impact on the patio, deck, or around the front door.
- Light up the night. Few things evoke memories of the fall, than sitting around a crackling fire on a crisp night, drinking hot cider, roasting hot dogs and making S’mores. Consider adding a fire pit to your patio (either a portable model or a more permanent “stacked stone” pit). Arrange chairs and benches around it; accent the area with potted mums, and Mason jar “lamps” (1/3 filled with sand and a votive candle). If needed, give your patio furniture a quick touch-up with indoor/outdoor spray paint.
- Don’t give up on summer annuals! Many traditional summer annuals like impatients and petunias love cooler fall temperatures and tend to thrive well until the first killing frost. However, by the time fall rolls around, most homeowners tend to neglect them. A boost of water-soluble fertilizer every week during the fall will help keep them lush, colorful and healthy.