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Casual Fall Patio Made Easy

Hello Friends,

It’s time for Fall and my Casual Fall Patio is ready to rock.

In fact, all 29 Fall Ideas posts are live with click thru links at the bottom of this post. Hope you will join us for all the good Fall things.

Casual Fall Patio Made Easy

On the day of this photo shoot, the patio was squeaky clean, the furniture was dressed in linen and silk, and temps were in the 90’s.

Yep, this was going to be a fabulous shoot. If not perfect, then at least “practically perfect in every way.” 

**Extra points if you can identify who coined this iconic phrase…LOL.

A canna bloom after a late summer rain | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

But by mid-morning, when the sun is usually dappling the patio with marvelous shade, today was different.

The heat was only outdone by the humidity. And by 10am, the back patio was in complete meltdown.

Canna blooms marry with fall perrenials for a yellow burst on a fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

And just when I thought all hope was lost, a surprise rain shower gave way to cooler temps (mid-70s) and the most beautiful collection of sparkling raindrops.

In just a couple of hours, the patio looked refreshed in a way that I hadn’t seen before.

Canna blooms and foliage add a tropical vibe to a casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Oh sure, the storm spread tree debris everywhere, the cushionless furniture was now scattered to and fro, and the term “flameless candles” had taken on a whole new meaning.

Rain-kissed vinca on a casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

But Friends, however unplanned and now unstaged, this was quite a moment.

Rain refreshed vinca liven a casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

When rain-kissed blossoms would lift this heat-weary patio to a second start in the day….

A rain-kissed hibiscus joins fall flowers for a casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

And send a strong message that although Fall may be coming, they aren’t done yet.

Lavender hibiscus join other summer bloomers on a casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

But then the new “Fall” kids are added and, even without rain, they are lookin’ all perky and bright…with their little yellow selves.

Perky yellow Coreoposis joins summer annuals on a casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

And they fit right in with the rustic woodlands theme going on back here.

Rustic woodlands provide a background for a casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

So what are the Summer Bloomers to do? 

How do they hang in there when all the world is headed towards Fall?

Cheery Coreopsis provides fresh blooms on a casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Casual Fall Patio Tips and Tricks

Step One: Clean Summer Pots

To help those sweet summer bloomers hold their own, I gave the pots a spit shine and a good plucking. Deadheading, trimming and pulling spent plants may not be fun, but it will keep the pots going until frost. And hey, if you have big holes from weird-shaped growth or pulled plants:

  • Combine a couple of summer pots into one, or

  • Fill in the empty spaces with some fall bloomers or a pumpkin.

Summer bloomers provide added color to this casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Step Two: Develop a Fall Design Plan

Ordinarily, I add regular fall plants to the remaining annuals, however, this year we are renovating as many flower beds as possible.  This means we will need a boatload of early Fall perennials. So I opted to combine all of the summer flowers, which are pink, white and red, and move them to the left and right of the fireplace.

Casual fall patios are easy when summer bloomers add color and cheer | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

This made room for yellow perennials that will act as a focal point around the fireplace until temperatures drop enough for mums and pumpkins. Then these early lovelies (easy-to-grow Coreopsis grandiflora) will find their forever home in the new beds. I expect to plant them in about four weeks.

Yellow bloomers provide a focal point for this casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Step Three: Add More Fall Color with Pots

And we all know that nothing says Fall like yellow flowers in terra cotta pots. AmIrite?

To set the look, I didn’t even pot the containers on the hearth. Since a 2-gallon perennial pot fits perfectly inside a 12-inch terra cotta pot, all I did was drop and go. This way, when it’s time to plant, all I have to do is grab and go.

Yellow bloomers in terra cotta pots are a classic combination for fall | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

However, I did pot three 2-gallon plants in the long pot on the mantel. The dirt and roots were trimmed to fit and filled up the pot without extra potting soil. 

Yellow bloomers with additional greens from the yard make a great mantel piece for this casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Step Four: Add Interesting Fabric Combinations

Then I dug through my fabric stash for fabrics with color and texture. The seat cover is made of a jute/cotton blend in cream, brick and terra cotta. The pillow cover is Thai silk in terra cotta and creamy white. I love the highly textured jute blend against the slick and sophisticated silk.

Since my patio is very casual, bordering on rustic lodge, the pop of silk provides a bit of the unexpected.

To see my envelope-shaped sew (and no-sew) cushion-cover tutorial, click here.

Color, pattern and texture in the fabrics take center stage on this casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

A companion fabric in a linen blend is draped across the coffee table. Seriously, just tuck the raw edges underneath and drop it on an angle. If it doesn’t stay tucked, add a piece of tape. 

But ssshhh. This is our little no-sew secret.

Remnants make great drapes across coffee tables on this casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

And, who says all seat cushions have to match? Now is the perfect time to get your remnant game going. Just shop for fall colors with different patterns and textures. In my humble opinion, nothing really needs to be matchy-matchy or have the words “pumpkins” or “fall” printed on it. It’s fun to set yourself free in early September, and even early October, and just let the colors do the talking.

Create interest on a casual fall patio by mixing and matching fabrics | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Step Five: Add Colorful Fruit

Oh, and while the Great Pumpkin’s appearance may be delayed for us way down here in the South, apples and pears have arrived in bounty. And as soon as the fruit begins to get over ripe, simply turn it into something yummy. My favorite is a 15-minute, two-ingredient jam.

I promise, it is so very easy and blow-your-hair-back good.

Apples and pears add freshness, color and texture to this casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Step Six: Refresh Furniture with Paint

By the end of summer, this poor coffee table was a tired, dingy white and just screaming for a makeover.

Well alrighty, don’t mind if I do.

Two quick coats of Fusion Mineral Paint in the color Mustard and the whole Fall color plan comes together. See the tutorial here.

Give furniture a quick and easy update for any season | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Step Seven: Add Candles

Candles add all the cozy for this casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Truth is, we don’t burn the fireplace very often during September and even into October. It’s just too hot to sit near even a flickering fire, much less a roaring one. So we like to stock the fireplace with candles….citronella, thank you very much…and enjoy the ambience without the bugs or the heat.

When it's too hot for a fire on this casual fall patio, candles add the ambience without the heat | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

And isn’t it great that everyone can use candles? Just put them anywhere…along with your remnant-covered cushions…to create the early-fall cozy.

Who needs furniture when you have flowers? | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Step Eight: Enjoy

In another four weeks, we’ll likely be all about mums, pumpkins, glowing fires and cozy throws. But for now, we love having great BBQ and football weather….and pots filled with Summer bloomers…and perky yellow Fall perennials…. and on-the-cheap fancy schmancy cushion covers….all while basking in the glow of our citronella candles.

LOL… 😂 

A few chairs mingled with a boatload of bloomers is the recipe for this casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

#falldecor #patiodecor #porchdecor #autumndecor #fallideastour 

Happy Fall, sweet friends.

To save this post for later, please PIN the image below.

Transitioning a patio from summer to fall doesn't mean tossing summer bloomers for pumpkins and mums | See how flowers and fabric create the very casual fall patio | #casualfallpatio #fallideastour | www.thechelseaproject.com

Thanks so much for stopping by.

And a special thanks to Angie at Post Cards from the Ridge for hosting this fun event.

37 Comments

  • Reply Jen @ JENRON DESIGNS September 20, 2019 at 5:24 am

    Susie this is a gorgeous patio and just know that you new BGE Smoker will look great out there once you trees are all fixed up this week. Wishing you a happy fall my friend.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 10:15 am

      LOL…THanks Jen! The guys ask me about the BGE every weekend. Last weekend, I ordered Williamson Bros… I told them I am still thinking about the BGE and just used my favorite smoker in the meantime.

  • Reply Susanne September 20, 2019 at 5:48 am

    Your patio is gorgeous! All that beautiful color makes me heart happy!! Happy fall my friend 🙂

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 10:16 am

      Thanks Susanne. I just couldn’t push my sweet summer bloomers aside since they are still going strong.

  • Reply houseofhawthornes September 20, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Your patio is amazing! Love that stone fireplace and all the late summer flowers! Thanks for all the wonderful tips on creating a casual fall patio.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 10:18 am

      Thanks so much, Pam.. Earlier in the week, it was 97 degrees F…. Pumpkins and mums are slow to peek outdoors during that searing heat.

  • Reply Patti @ Hearth and Vine September 20, 2019 at 7:49 am

    Susie I love your fall porch/patio. It has such charm. So many beautiful flowers. Gorgeous! What a great job you did showing us how to transition into fall. That can really be a challenge especially when the weather is not cooperating.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Thanks a million, Patti. It’s been in the mid-90s all week and dry as a bone. So fall is still off in the distance..But someday, it will arrive…..LOL

  • Reply Lindsay Aratari September 20, 2019 at 7:58 am

    Your patio is stunning!!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Thanks a million, Lindsay!! You are so sweet to stop by!

  • Reply Laurie @ Vinyet Etc September 20, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Your Patio is so pretty and looks like it’s the perfect spot to have a gathering! I adore your photos, it feels like I’m right there!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 10:21 am

      Thanks a million, Laurie! Come on over….I’ll get the coffee brewing.

  • Reply Bliss September 20, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Great ideas to make it all last just a bit longer. I currently have some awful looking summer blooms on the patio, and soon I’m going to have a bumper crop of pumpkins – I never thought of replacing one for the other!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 10:23 am

      Thanks Bliss. I envy your bumper crop of pumpkins. Pumpkins have just started arriving around here and the prices are off the charts. You could really make bank… LOL … Happy Fall…

  • Reply Marie September 20, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Being a Canadian prairie girl, I’m in awe that you can still plant flowers let alone can’t light the fireplace for another 4 weeks! We’ll be in our winter parkas by then! LOL Not going to lie, a little jealous over here. You do such a beautiful job decorating that lovely patio of yours for the seasons, Susie.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 10:26 am

      Thanks Marie… It’s been in the mid-90s all week. The heat is so searing that I had to push pots into the shade. It’s possible that we won’t need parkas until December. You must come see me and sit on the patio… #dontneedaparka … Happy Fall sweet friend.

    • Reply Leen Curinga September 23, 2019 at 12:10 pm

      Your patio and plants are gorgeous. I can’t pluck my summer plants yet either, they’re just starting to recoup from the hot summer!

      • Reply theChelseaProject September 23, 2019 at 2:33 pm

        Hi Leen and thanks so much. I hear ya about your plants having a second growth spurt. The rain shower knocked away lots of blossoms…which made me sad for the photos….but now the plants have almost doubled in size again! Can’t believe. Hapy Fall 🙂

  • Reply Lora Bloomquist September 20, 2019 at 11:04 am

    My sweet daughter was “practically perfect” when she played Mary Poppins her senior year of high school; oh, how I wish I could see her do it again! Love, love your whole patio with the gorgeous combo of rustic wood and stone. Looks like a dream space to me! Yes, a fresh rainfall provides the perfect photo op, doesn’t it? Your flower pics are gorgeous!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks so much, Lora! You’ve just made my day. I worked so hard on the photos and the weather was fighting me every step of the way. But the raindrops made up for all the drama. And I’m thrilled you get me!!! Yes! Mary Poppins….and I’m so glad it triggered such a happy memory.

  • Reply Jane Windham September 20, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Susie, I am in awe of how beautiful your summer annuals still look! Mine have just about petered out! You have great tips on how to add fall colors to your beautiful outdoor space. I especially love the little table that you painted yellow.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Hi Jane and thanks so much! That mustard table would look great with your raspberry walls. And my summer annuals are having a second growth season. The rain knocked a lot of blooms off, but they have filled back out and are reaching for the stars. I’m going to try and over winter some of them so I can start with big plants next Spring. We’ll see how that goes. LOL…

  • Reply Lynn Spencer September 20, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Oh my sweet friend, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed hanging out on your back porch with you! Your fireplace is lovely, in fact…I’m breaking a commandment and coveting it a bit too much! We’ve been mulling over adding one to the back porch of our new home and tucking away this pic of yours for inspiration.

    I love how you embraced your summer blooms while still welcoming fall flowers. Honestly, come September I am probably a bit too hasty to say ‘hasta la vista’ to the summer bloomers. Thanks for showing me the joy of having both coexist.

    And as a fellow ‘Mary Poppins’ fan…you are practically perfect in every way too!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    So happy to join you on this fantastic blog tour!

    Hugs, Lynn

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 20, 2019 at 4:46 pm

      Awww Lynn, you’re so sweet. Thanks so much. About the fireplace, it is squared in front of the bay window so I can see it when in the kitchen. That’s one of the things I like most about it. Tuck that idea away, too. If you can, make it visible from the inside. Sometimes I light the fireplace and enjoy it from the kitchen.

  • Reply Paula@SweetPea September 20, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Your patio is gorgeous. I love that you have that pretty fireplace to decorate seasonally. It’s still hot as the blazes around here and the few summer annuals that I have are hanging on by a fine thread. You have great tips for getting your patio fall ready. I hope you enjoy plenty of bbqs out there before it is fireplace season.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 21, 2019 at 9:12 am

      Thanks so much, Paula. Wish you could come for a visit. XO

  • Reply Christina Woodcock September 20, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    Absolutely breathtaking! All the beautiful colors. The shots with the raindrops on the flowers are gorgeous!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 21, 2019 at 9:14 am

      Hi Christina and thanks so much. I couldn’t believe my good fortune with those raindrops. God always has a beautiful plan. XO

  • Reply Kim September 20, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Wow! Your patio is just outstanding. Your fireplace is so pretty and all your flowers are perfect for this in between time of year. Enjoy your lovely yard and Happy Fall!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 21, 2019 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Kim. I just had the tree guys here this week. They groomed and shaped the canopy of every tree. Here’s hoping that next year I can have enough light behind the fireplace to expand the landscaping and the photographs.

  • Reply Kim Jones September 20, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    I am in awe of your patio and all the flowers and greenery! Absolutely beautiful and you must really enjoy spending time on your porch! Happy Fall!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 21, 2019 at 9:17 am

      Hi Kim and thanks so much for stopping by. My favorite time out there is early morning with coffee. Wish you were here. XOXO

  • Reply Atta Girl Amy September 22, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Your patio is always such an inspiration to me. A fireplace is definitely on my wishlist.

    And I wish I had your knowledge of flowers and also the initiative to garden! I so want a yard filled with blooms, but it’s so much work. It’s evident that you put a lot of work into your gorgeous yard.

    But we are planning to plant some more perennials this fall. (And I’m so excited to say that we planted some coreopsis in the spring; I thought they’d died in the heat, but they’re looking better now.)

    I love the photos from just after the rain. They’re gorgeous. You should have some of them framed.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 23, 2019 at 7:57 am

      Hi Amy and thanks so much.

      I look forward to hearing about and seeing your fireplace. It will happen.

      As for the flowers, I think they are like recipes. You kinda learn their individual quirks as you work with them. I do try to choose easy-to-grow plants, but our cool weather with drenching rain season followed by the Southern sun and searing heat can make even the most hearty plants faint. I’ve actually thought about adding a gardening side to the blog.

      Thanks for the sweet compliment about the rain drop photos. I do love macro photography so much and surely did luck into that particular session.

  • Reply Marybeth September 27, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Susie, you make all of this beauty and creativity seem so easy. When I am reading through the phase-by-phase unfolding of this glorious richness of autumn, I can’t help but (for a moment) think, “I could do this!” Thank you for helping me to sniff the aroma of both the flowers and the coffee throughout each photo and description of your lovely patio garden. The special gift of raindrops on petals…I have no words. You truly have a way of allowing me to enjoy breathtaking beauty from across the miles. I certainly look forward to our next cup of coffee together.

  • Reply Christy @ Our Southern Home November 4, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Susie!!! Your fall patio is AMAZING!! I am so in love with your fireplace. Did you guys DIY it or have it done. We’ve been looking into this.

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 4, 2019 at 8:13 am

      Awww Christy, you’re so sweet. Thanks so much. No, we didn’t DIY. We had the pros do the patio and fireplace.

    Thanks so much for your comment!

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