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Turn Your Outdoor Space Into a Garden Oasis

We’ve partnered with gardening guru Steve Asbell from The Rainforest Garden to discover his favorite ways to creatively upgrade your outdoor living space.

If you’re like me, you have a lot to accomplish in your garden this spring. There’s no way I could tackle it all at once, but the good news is that in one or two afternoons, I’ve managed to make my backyard the kind of place I actually want to sit in and enjoy for a spell. All it took was a little bit of effort, creativity and a few cool home décor items that I scored at Tuesday Morning. If you also want to give your outdoor living space a refreshing makeover in an afternoon, here are some tricks to help you turn your backyard into a paradise.

Furnish Your Paradise

Your deck or patio is like the extra living room you never knew you had. It can also be a kitchen, dining room and even a bedroom with the right outdoor furniture. Just outfit it with your favorite outdoor essentials — dining tables, wood seating, shelving and side tables — like this beautiful blue accent table that I picked up to coordinate with an existing metal table I had already spray-painted turquoise.

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Blue accent table $39.99 (compare at $100)

Garden Close to Home

What good is a garden if it’s been relegated to the back of your yard where it can’t be seen? Plant garden beds near your doorways, patio, deck and windows so that they’re easy to enjoy and maintain. I made a cool little container combination by filling a wire basket from Tuesday Morning with sphagnum moss and planting it with succulents and bromeliads. Now it sits right outside my patio window, where it can brighten my day even when I’m indoors.

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Wire basket $17.99 (compare at $38)

Add Home Décor

To really make your outdoor living space feel like an extension of your home, decorate it with outdoor rugs, wall art, ornaments and candle holders. There are cool decorations at Tuesday Morning to fit any home design style, but I was particularly drawn to a heavy bell that reminded me of childhood dinnertimes. Since I usually have a hard time getting my wife’s attention when dinner is ready (especially when we’re eating outdoors), this little gem will come in handy.

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Hand bell $5.99 (compare at $15)

Reuse and Repurpose

I’ve never had much luck getting birds to eat from the suet baskets, and they always turn into a yucky mess when the seeds start to rot. I have, however, found that they make excellent frames for vertical gardens, so you can imagine my excitement when I found them at Tuesday Morning for just $2.99 apiece (compare at $9.99)! All I did was fill the frame with sphagnum moss, insert stems of succulent plants in the gaps and tuck in some more sphagnum moss to keep the plants secure. Then I watered the plants and hung my little vertical garden on a tree trunk!

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Suet basket $2.99 (compare at $9.99)

Plant Container Gardens

Whether you’re short on space or just want to bring the garden right onto your patio, planting flowers and foliage in containers is the perfect solution. These glazed ceramic pots match my color scheme and were a steal. To plant your own container combos, fill the pot with potting mix, leaving just enough room for the potted plants. Arrange the plants inside and fill more potting soil between the gaps before watering to help the soil settle. There are no hard and fast rules regarding design — just use your decorating sense and pick plants that work with the colors in your décor.

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Glazed ceramic pots $19.99 (compare at $40) and $12.99 (compare at $25)

Dine Outdoors

I always want to eat outside under the shade of my maple trees, but doing so never seemed quite as nice as I would have expected — that is, until I cleaned up and decorated my patio. Now my wife and son can finally join me in the garden to see what all of the fuss is about! Make your outdoor dinner date extra special with quality patio tables and chairs, as well as accessories like citronella candles and hurricane lanterns. These orange lattice-patterned plates perfectly complement my turquoise table.

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Orange lattice-patterned plates $1.99 (compare at $6) and $2.99 (compare at $8)

Hide Eyesores in Style

My outdoor water feature’s extension cord is a bright red, tangled mess, but the other day I realized that I could coil it up and tuck it away in one of the glazed ceramic pots that I got at Tuesday Morning. Not a bad idea, if I do say so myself. Have your own sorts of ugliness? Cover utility boxes with a trellis and vines, or screen views from neighboring yards by planting shrubs along your fence.

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Glazed ceramic pot $12.99 (compare at $25)

Give the Patio a Clean Sweep

This step is crucial … so very crucial. Don’t you hate tracking in leaves, dirt and debris every time you venture outside? If the outdoor room is truly to be treated as an extension of the home, it must be cared for as such. Sweep up leaves, hose off muddy footprints and do away with all of the trash and clutter that somehow ended up there.

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Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space

Want a little help transforming your patio into a wonderful garden retreat? Then enter our Springtime Spruce Up giveaway — your chance to win outdoor furniture, décor and a Tuesday Morning gift certificate to create the outdoor living area you’ve been dreaming of! Snap a pic of your outdoor space needing a little TLC, upload it to Instagram and tag it #TuesdayTransformed and #Contest. Get all the details here.


Dining and Kitchen, DIY, Furniture, Home Decor, Outdoor
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Steve Asbell

Meet the Contributor

Blog: The Rainforest Garden

My home Tuesday Morning location: Orange Park, FL

My favorite Tuesday Morning department: Gardening and Cooking

A little about me: I’m a blogger, author and illustrator, and happily do it all with a rambunctious toddler at my side. I am the author of Plant by Numbers: 50 Houseplant Combinations to Decorate your Space, and was selected by Southern Living as a Blogger to Follow in 2015 for my blog The Rainforest Garden.

What I love to write about: Gardening, art, food and interior decorating

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  1. Reply Marlene

    I liked the idea about hanging the frames with moss and adding succulents; our beautiful boulevard trees got a trim and were clipped severely and I feel that this might help to make them pretty again. I also love the variety of succulent plants available to me since I found a small, local nursery off the beaten path where I can get the baby ones and I made a fairy garden and enjoyed them all last Summer…plan to get more this year. Also love the ladder for displaying varieties of them and other plants in my start up container garden. Joined a Container Gardening Group on Facebook last Summer and have learned so much…so many beautiful plants and ideas.

    • Reply Cyndi Watkins

      what group are you in?

    • Reply Puller

      Marlene, what is the Container Gardening groups name?

  2. Reply Sharon

    Would be moe inspired if this patio actually looked nice

  3. Reply Doris Ludwig

    Did anyone REALLY look at this picture. It is TERRIBLE! I certainly wouldn’t buy pots or design my patio using this picture as a model.

  4. Reply Sandy Hemphill

    Loved the idea of the frames with moss and succulents to hang on tree , also ceramic pots and metal table.

  5. Reply Basham Alice

    I love your stores.

  6. Reply Jillian

    I want to know where you found those shelves! I love them.

  7. Reply Karen

    I think the added touches makes this very bland patio (visualize all the added items gone) a little homier and welcoming. Everything is relative. Thanks for your tips