Summertime means al-fresco entertaining time. But what if your yard isn’t quite guest-worthy at the start of the season? No worries! Liven up your space with these tips from Robyn Affron, a certified professional horticulturist at the Adkins Arboretum on the Eastern Shore. Your yard, deck, or patio will feel like an outdoor oasis in no time!
Get Minty. Freshen your space with mint, which can be planted almost anywhere. This fragrant herb loves to travel, so grow it in a container to keep it from taking over the garden. All summer long, you’ll have fresh mint leaves for your iced tea or custom-mixed mojito.
Lighten Up. Illuminate your pathways or patio with lanterns. Their soft glow gives a cozy welcome to guests and helps them feel at home. Choose antique candlelit lanterns for pathways, or try hanging battery-powered paper lanterns from a nearby tree. They’ll brighten up your summer nights!
Grow Local. Use that sunny spot in your yard to plant some dazzling black-eyed Susans. Affron says our state flower can be the ideal summer plant because it’s not only beautiful, but it also provides seeds for birds and nectar for butterflies.
Sit a Spell. Make sure you’ve got plenty of comfy seating for yourself and guests, whether it’s a standard dining set or that old standby, the Adirondack chair. And if you use seat cushions, be sure they’re tough enough to withstand our hot, humid Free State weather!
Blaze a Trail. To your outdoor fire pit or chiminea, that is! There’s nothing like roasting marshmallows or hot dogs around a campfire to bring out the kid in all of us. Somehow, the dancing flames and crackling embers can make even the hottest August night feel so, so cool.
Go Green. When it comes to your lawn, Affron suggests setting your mower’s blade to three-and-a-half inches and leaving the clippings where they fall. Not only will this prevent too-short grass from being scorched by the sun, but “all the grass clippings go back into the lawn and decompose to become nitrogen.” The end result? A soft, emerald expanse perfect for your next game of catch.