Well, autumn is officially here, and you can definitely feel it here in the northwest part of the state. We have already seen temperatures in the upper 30’s and low 40’s, and I am enjoying it immensely. This time of year, I love to crank open all the windows and fill the house with the smells and sounds of the crisp, fall air. The garden seems to be enjoying the new season, as well!
At the front entry, the ornamental grasses are in bloom, and the Fescue lawn is loving the cool weather. Most of the annuals in the large urns had run their course, so we removed those and will replace them with something more seasonally appropriate, so stay tuned next month for that!
At the street (and elsewhere) the white begonias continue to thrive. It almost looks like this boxwood cone in floating on a cloud!
Around back, we have been getting the outdoor living spaces ready for fall entertaining by cleaning up, preparing the fire pit and by adding little flourishes here and there, including this centerpiece.
This is something you can easily recreate, and it makes an interesting focal point during any season. We simply took a large, shallow container that was lying around the house and filled it with several sandblasted Manzanita branches. This is a particularly sculptural branch I like to use when decorating, and we rely on them year-round for arrangements, special displays and holiday decor. If you prefer, you could use branches harvested from around your own garden. Next we placed a dozen or so Tillandsia plants among the twisted branches. These easy-care, exotic plants give the arrangement an edgy, yet natural, look and are about as low-maintenance as it gets. They do not require any soil to live and simply have to be soaked or misted on a regular basis. You can find Tillandsia and other ‘air plants’ (as they are called) at your local garden nursery or florist.
Other than keeping up with seasonal chores around the house, as I mentioned last month, I recently took my first trip to Charleston, South Carolina. I can not believe it has taken me so long to visit this wonderful, historic city, but ‘better late than never’ right? I am absolutely in love with the culture, cuisine and charm of this gracious southern town and can not wait to go back. My trip was a social one: visiting friends, going to the beach and eating too much! But, of course, I couldn’t help keeping an eye out for examples of the passion for garden and design for which Charleston is known. Below are some of the things that caught my eye and that I managed to capture…usually while biking past. In fact my friends and I traveled almost exclusively by bicycle throughout my stay, and that was one of the most charming aspects of the entire trip! Each image has one or more details that could easily serve as inspiration for a fun fall home and garden project. This entry grabbed my attention for several reasons including beautiful architectural details, mood-setting gas lanterns and traditional iron urns. At the same house, asparagus fern draped elegantly from baskets at each window.
This home was similarly captivating, with its gorgeous front door and the interesting way the vines have been trained around the lampposts. It, too, was further decorated with colorful window boxes and planters lining the walk.
This building may be missing a shutter, but the window boxes look great! I thought these were particularly attractive.
Gates are one of my favorite garden design elements. I love how creeping fig vine has completely covered this garden entry…
…and how the view through this garden gate is so mysteriously inviting.
This entry I found perfectly complete in its simplistic charm. Sometimes a couple of nice planters is all you need!
Equally simple, yet sophisticated, was this front entry walk. Boxwood is my favorite shrub, and these clipped hedges make a deliberate, yet unpretentious, statement.
Slightly bolder, but still refined and elegant, was this basket-weave boxwood parterre. This is right up my alley! The powerful, central placement of the urn as a focal point with respect to the large parlor window, as well as the position of the ornamental tree and adjustment in hedge treatment to correspond with the side porch, shows that someone gave the design of this small garden a lot of thought.
Finally, this stunning and serene pool setting. I almost rode right past this one, but I caught it out of the corner of my eye and had to turn around. What I find most attractive about this scene is the scale of the Italian Cypress across the back side of the pool, the dark plaster color which turns the pool into a reflecting pond and the placement of the four planters at the corners of the pool.
Like I said, Charleston definitely knows how to Live Outside the Box and has been doing so for a long time now. I am excited to go back soon and explore even further the garden and design history of this southern beauty. I am also very excited to inform you that the November issue of At Home in Arkansas will contain a fall outdoor entertaining feature, highlighting areas of the garden you have never seen before, decorating ideas for autumn get-togethers, as well as the culinary talents of my friend, Chef Jen Lewis. So be sure to look out for next month’s magazine, and come back here to visit, too!
Exterior designer Daniel Keeley is an Arkansas native and founder/principal of DK Design. His work has won numerous awards and accolades and is featured regularly in various publications. For more information visit dkdesignoutdoor.com.