Southern + Tropical
I’m going to be honest here, the design feature that truly sold me on this home was the entrance. Specifically, the red front door. Seriously. As soon as the Realtor showed me a photo of the house, in my brain, I had already moved in! It didn’t matter to me what the inside looked like because it had a red door and all was right with the world. A few years after moving in, we’ve finally settled in and are beginning to make all kinds of fun changes to it. But the one thing that will forever be is the red door.
Since my obsession with the front of the house is real, I am always looking for ways to dress it up. Having the big red door is wonderful, but it’s really not the easiest to style since it’s SO. RED. It also does not help that Central Florida presents a few unique challenges to landscaping outside. Between the balmy Florida heat and humidity and the flower-eating deer that rome the neighborhood, many plants do not stand a chance! So when we decided it was time to get serious about the front door decor situation, we needed a serious plan!
The first order of business, accessorize! Before thinking about plants we knew we needed new planters. The ones we had were kind of falling apart. They were charcoal black and not really giving the front of the house that Southern charm we were looking for. And that’s when we found these pretty planters from Pottery Barn! We relocated the red adirondack chairs to the front porch from the back yard and opted for striped blue and white pillows to soften the look of it all. Besides, blue and white stripes match just about everything!
Once all the new front porch staples arrived we called in some reinforcements for the landscape design. Our gifted friends at Porch Therapy came to the rescue! I have a “green-ish” thumb and can keep things alive, but I needed some advice on what in the world to plant in our gorgeous new pots. Something that could handle extreme heat and the insane amount of humidity. If that wasn’t all, I really didn’t want to plant more deer food.
The ladies from Porch Therapy recommended all kinds of plants that we could use and came up with the Prep-Meets-Southern-Tropical theme, which I had never thought to do! The front of our home is very “Southern” looking and I always thought that without hydrangeas or geraniums it just would not work… But I had never thought outside the box, and I am SO glad we did. After that, we were ready to whip our front door into tip top shape!
Okay, I know what you are thinking, “Ashley, that is a lot of work!”
But honestly, you just need a plan and it will all fall into place. I pinky promise! So here you go friends, get out a pen and write down these three steps to help you get started:
Step 1. Assess your space.
What do you have room for? A wreath? A pot or two? Chairs? Map it out and decide what what the space can handle and what you could do that really would make an impact. I already had the chairs and knew I wanted to incorporate them, so I just added pillows and pots. That part was easy!
Step 2. Find your colors/know your climate.
Too often I find myself picking up a “pretty” wreath for the front door and bringing it home only to realize, “yes, that is pretty… but your door is red. Pink and purple flowers do not match. At all.” Honestly, that has happened far too many times. After realizing that we needed to stick to primary colors, everything got a lot easier. Those aqua blue pillows are pretty, but they won’t match, get the blue & white ones….etc. etc.
This also helped a ton when it came to plant selection! We knew our lane. Also, I had to come to grips that we didn’t live in North Carolina where we could have hydrangeas galore! I live in Florida. It’s 1,000 degrees in the Summer and, strangely enough, our neighborhood has more deer than people. So once I came to grips with that, the plant selection made more sense. It’s also comforting to know that we didn’t just pot a whole bunch of deer food.
Step 3. Get outside of your box!
This is hard for me. I like the comfort of a box, but after talking to professionals I realized… I can pot an actual tree! Again, no idea why I didn’t understand it until now, but pots aren’t just for flowers.
Also, move those pots around. If you have a perfectly symmetric front porch or entry way like we do, don’t just stack them up on your steps. Get a little asymmetrical, add some interest! You’ll be so proud of yourself when you do!
See The Transformation!
See, not so hard! You can do this friends! Just get yourself some new pots, talk to your local nursery about what really works in your climate, and play around with it!
Whether you are in an apartment or home, you want your guests’ first experiences in your home to be special. So why not start with the front door?!
In Our Planters:
Silver Buttonwood, Caladiums, Diamond Frost Euphoria, Echinacea, Alocacia, Canna Lily, and Blue Daze. The trees are Weeping Podocarpus.
Photography: Danielle Nichol Photography