Nothing pairs better with a warm summer evening than an outdoor party or barbecue with a few close friends, grilling up a delicious dinner, wandering through the garden, playing on the lawn, and sitting around the fire pit. Make sure your landscape is as ready to entertain as you are by putting a bit of sweat equity into preparing your outdoor space. Try these tips.
Spruce up your mulch. If your garden and flower beds are still sporting last season’s mulch, chances are it’s looking a bit thin. Here's an easy fix: Simply add more! Apply 2 to 3 inches of aged bark fines, wood chips, compost, or pine straw to garden and landscape beds, as well as around trees and bushes.
Hang some living decor. To dress up your deck, patio, or entrance-way in no time flat, buy a selection of ready-made hanging baskets. Lush green ferns and cascading purple heart plants are excellent options for shady backyards or filtered porch light. Prefer flowers? Colorful blooms abound for both bright and dim areas (check plant tags for easy ID), including lots of gorgeous choices in the premium-quality Miracle-Gro® Brilliant Blooms collection*. Have a lot of sun? Purchase a basket filled with juicy strawberries or sweet cascading cherry tomatoes from Bonnie Plants®. No matter what’s in your basket, boost growth and get more flowers and fruit by feeding regularly with Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food (following label directions).
Weed and feed. Every summer party needs a gorgeous green lawn as the backdrop. Choose a weed-and-feed lawn product specified for your type of grass to help it grow thick, lush, and weed-free. Feed regularly throughout the growing season (check the label for directions) and when party time approaches, all you’ll need to do is give your lawn a trim. Have an extra laundry basket? Put it outside during the party to hold your guests’ shoes once they kick them off to go barefoot.
Create culinary centerpieces.Put mint, chives, basil, and other tasty herbs within easy reach of the grill and outdoor dining table. For an eye-catching design, plant each in a colorful 10-inch pot and create groups of 3. For a larger focal point, plant 3 small herbs around a pepper plant (Shishito and Orange Bell are excellent grilling choices) in an 18-inch pot. And don’t forget the rosemary! Plant it in a 14-inch pot to give it room to grow big, then cut the woody stems and strip the leaves to create instant, fragrant grilling skewers. For best results, fill containers with Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix, which provides just the kind of environment roots need to thrive, and feed with Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food. Keep a close eye on watering, too, as plants in pots (especially smaller ones in full sun) tend to dry out faster than other types of plantings.
Keep it cool by the pool. Pool walkways and decks typically act as a boring blank canvas of concrete and wood. Dress up corners and seating areas with containers full of lush foliage and bright flowers planted in Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix. Choose a “thriller,” a “filler,” and a “spiller” for each pot. Height, funky foliage, and/or colorful blooms are key features of a “thriller,” which is planted in the middle. Canna lilies check all the boxes and add a tropical flair that fits the setting. “Filler” plants are ones with dense foliage and abundant blooms, such as angelonia or geraniums, to fill in the middle space. For the “spiller,” choose plants that can drape or cascade over the side, like lemon thyme. Don’t forget the Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food—it works hand-in-hand with nutrient-rich soil to help plants produce lots of gorgeous blooms!
Banish mosquitoes. To help keep your guests from becoming walking buffets for blood-sucking pests, surround the party area with pretty pots of mosquito-repelling plants like citronella, ageratum,bee balm, marigolds, and catnip. You can also light repellent candles with scents like cedarwood or peppermint—your friends will think they’re lovely, but the bugs sure won’t.
Now all that’s left to do is sit back and chill out with your guests. Enjoy!