This is what we have all been waiting for my fellow Canadians. The days are counting down to the first official weekend of summer. As of 5 o’clock on Friday, May 18th, 2012 Victoria Day weekend begins. I know that vehicles will be packed and ready to head out-of-town for camping and to cottages and trailers both near and far. For those that aren’t headed out-of-town though, there is still lots to look forward to. I wouldn’t be surprised if a pool or two gets opened between now and then, plus I bet garden stores will be jammed with folks looking to pick up tomatoes, cukes and more to safely plant their annual veggie gardens. Hello Summertime!

While it might sound like a lot of work, I suspect there will also be lineups at area beer stores, so that people can celebrate the long weekend with a “pop” or two. After all that gardening, spring cleaning of the cottage/trailer or setting up of camp, you will deserve it! Once you finally get a chance to relax, you will relish all the hard work you have put into your space, so take the time to spruce it up nice. As summer only lasts a short couple of months, you might as well enjoy the outside world while you can. Here are some suggestions of how you can spruce up your outside world;

Decorating Out-of-Doors


A container garden of petunias, daisies, marig...

  • Place a decorative planter beside your front door, or on either side of your driveway, to invite guests into your home in a welcoming manner
    • Use trailers, grasses and annual flowers that compliment your home’s colour scheme and bloom all season long. Don’t forget to take your lighting into consideration, choosing appropriate plants for the planter’s location. If you aren’t sure, ask  a representative at your local garden centre for suggestions on what plants compliment each other in which lighting. (ie. begonias do well in partial shade, petunias like the sun and many vines will tolerate sun, to partial sun)
  • Think vegetable gardening a la container
    • Planters aren’t just for flowers anymore. Tomatoes will happily grow in large planters, as will a basil plant to compliment it. Pretty much any herbs lend themselves well to container gardening and you can even design your container herb garden with a purpose in mind (ie. Italian pot of basil, parsley, sage & thyme or a tea pot of chamomile, mint or lavender). Peppers also take well to container planting, as do radishes and most lettuce varieties. If you choose specific varieties of plants, like bush-style squash or cucumber, you can avoid long vines to contend with, although pole beans are quite happy snaking up trellis of some sort.


  • Plastic lawn chairs will work in a pinch, but there is so much more available nowadays in outdoor seating choices that why would you ever bother with them? Think benches, swings, chaise lounges, outdoor sofas and loveseats, plus a wide variety of stylish chairs and ottomans that are now on the market.
    • Place a bench at the back of a garden with a meandering pathway that leads you to it, for an outdoor oasis in the midst of your garden
    • Locate a hammock or bench swing underneath a shady tree for you to relax on after a long day of gardening
    • Arrange an outdoor sectional on your back deck, with a storage ottoman to rest your feet on and the barbeque close at hand for outdoor entertaining


  • You might not want to traipse your fine china out into the back yard every time you want to dine al fresco, so think about purchasing some sturdy, yet attractive dinnerware to dine off of this year.
    • Decorative melamine plates, bowls and cups can add a pretty air to your outdoor meal and come in a wide variety of styles and colours to suit every taste
    • Cutlery caddies can live outside with forks at the ready whenever dinner doesn’t call for finger food
    • Drink dispensers can be filled with water to ensure that you and the kids can grab a drink whenever the need arises, ensuring dehydration doesn’t spoil your summer fun