After a foggy soggy summer, my outdoor potted plants were looking tired. Time for some fresh color and texture as we head into fall!

Time For a Change

Have I mentioned on here that we have had a particularly foggy soggy summer on the Maine coast?

Oh, I have, you say?

What? Really?? More than once?!

Well, the cool temps, lack of sun, and excessive moisture wreaked havoc on the garden.

Plants failed to bloom and when they did the flowers rotted on the stem.

Some plants suffered stunted growth and others grew leggy.

In short, the pots lining the back deck and porch were looking very tired.

One might even say downright exhausted.

They were definitely in need of a refresh as we head into fall!

Let me show you how I used color and texture — two of my favorite interior design elements — to create natural mix-and-match planter displays inspired by the season’s brilliance.


Fall is the last glorious show of color before the starkness of early winter. Rose colored blooms cover the limelight hedge. The leaves on the trees turn to yellow and orange. And a carpet of gold unfurls across the meadow. All set against the blue backdrop of the ocean.

When choosing plants for my pots, I took the season’s colors into consideration — purple Bluebeard, rose fountain grass and ornamental kale, brilliant yellow rudbeckia and zinnias.

As with interior design, I focused on two primary colors — shades of rose and purple — with yellow as an accent color.


Are you wondering what exactly “texture” is when it comes to plants?

Think of leaf size and shape. And the same for flowers. Are the blooms large or small? The leaves long and skinny or round?

Is the plant upright or cascading? Spiky or feathery?

Does the plant have a loose open shape or does it grow dense and tight?

And also, is it tall or compact?

Using a mix of these different “textures” adds dynamic interest to your planters.

The Plants

Taking color and texture into consideration (and what was available at my garden center), these are the plants I chose for my deck and porch planters for fall.

You can see that they are all in shades of purple, rose, and yellow with a variety of textures!

Plant NameColor Texture
Bluebeard “Dark Knight”purpletall, loose, and open
Purple Fountain Grass “Rubrum”rose tall and feathery
Flowering Kale “Peacock Red”roselow and solid with ruffled edges
Flowering Cabbage “Osaka Red”roselow, dense, and tight
Zinnia “Yellow Profusion” yellow medium height, small blooms
Rudbeckia “Denver Daisy”yellow/rosetall with large blooms
Petunia Cascadias Indian Summer”yellow/orange/rosemedium blooms/cascading
Millet “Jester”yellowy green/rosey purpletall with long. wide upright leaves
Ornamental grass “Toffee Twist”brownish purplemedium height and wispy
Aster (lost the tag!)white with yellow centermedium height and dense with small flowers
Potato vine “Solar Power” (from summer)black/deep purplemedium leaves/cascading
Verbena “Little One” (from summer)pinky purpletall and

Putting It All Together

We’ve talked about color, texture, and specific plants. Now it’s time to get planting!

I bought the majority of the plants in one trip to the garden center. Then after I had them in the pots, I went back to purchase additional plants to fill in any gaps. Not necessarily the most efficient, but it works for me!

One thing I love about container gardening is that it is similar to pulling together a grouping inside the house. I fiddle a bit, trying different combinations. Then step back and assess.

Of course, sometimes I realize I want something I don’t have for a spot. On my second trip back, I picked up the flowering kale for something low and solid for the base of some taller plants. The rosy color and the ruffled edge of the leaves were just what I needed.

Also, as in my home, I lean towards a casual cottage style for my planted pots.

That means instead of the “thriller, spiller filler” combo in a large planter, I group together smaller pots filled with plants of differing heights, colors, and textures. I want my containers to look natural, not stylized. A little bit wild, like the landscape that surrounds the house.

For reference, I have 9 pots of medium size. Each contains 1 to 3 different plants.

And while I do fiddle a bit, as I mentioned, I try not to overthink. I prefer a “mix-and-match” style that is heavy on the mix! (Just like my interiors!)

Once the limelights have faded to rose and the leaves have started to turn, I know these mixed pots will really shine!

I will be sharing our front entrance, with its fall planted pots, pumpkins, and door decor later this month!


I am no expert gardener, but here are a few tips that work for me.

  • Unlike summer plants, these won’t be here for months. I reuse dirt where I can and tend to pack them in a bit for immediate impact.
  • A couple of these plants are perennials. I will look for a spot for them in the garden later in the fall.
  • If your ornamental kale or cabbage is on a longish stem, plant it at an angle so you see the top of the plant and not the side.
  • Have fun!

This Week Into Next

Did you catch last week’s blog post 4 Easy Ways to Add Cozy Charm to Your Kitchen This Fall?

Of course the minute I started writing about fall, true summer weather arrived here in Maine. We saw our warmest temps of the season — low 80’s on the coast and much warmer inland.

But no worries, the “cozy charm” I added to my kitchen is appropriate for other seasons too. Check it out, whether you are team summer or team fall!

I met two Instagram friends for lunch on Wednesday. IG can be a fickle beast, but I am truly grateful for the friendships I have made there.

And of course I love it when IG friends become blog friends too! So thank you to those of you who have joined me here from that platform!

The new fall throw pillow covers I ordered are slowly arriving, as are pieces for an outdoor dining area refresh in collaboration with a big brand. (!!) I can’t wait to share both with you!

I made plans this week to visit my son and DIL in Michigan and for two trips to the DC area. Something to look forward to now that summer guest season here is over.

The Emma Bridgewater catalog arrived in my mailbox the other day. They are offering 20% off everything and free shipping on orders over $150 with code TREAT20. A varied selection of these bird plates would be lovely for Thanksgiving. And one of these fall leaf mugs would certainly make a cup of something warm feel extra special. I might have to order this Trees and Leaves dish towel for my fall kitchen!

Fingers (and toes) crossed hurricane Lee bypasses the coastal U.S., including Maine!

Be well, friends!


Highlighting coastal decor and lifestyle, Maddie and Cisco, and the way life should be...