Here on the Texas Gulf Coast, you have to rethink plants around the outdoor sitting area. Why? Because it’s all about staying in the shade protected from the scorching sun.
So the sitting area has to be in the shade at least 300 days of the year. With the need for shade determined as the main criteria, what additional demands are you wishing for in your outdoor living room?
A firm, dry surface goes without saying, a few inches above ground level to prevent the outdoor furnishing being damaged by moisture and rot. Music, perhaps?
I will try to not tell you what furniture and in what way you should decorate it. Web sites with unlimited resources can inspire you a lot better than me on this matter. Try Frontgate, RH or Grandinroad. There is so much awesome, fun and nice furniture out there. There is even practical furniture out there which is looking good!
But let’s assume that you already have purchased comfortable seating and delicious pillows. Or perhaps the furniture is well used and quite worn as it will pretty fast look like in a climate like this with high humidity, some pollution, hard sun and pouring rain. It can still be your sheltered, comfortable place where you can make a slightly dreamlike cocoon or an oasis to sit undisturbed and comfortable together with friends and family.
Candle lights, lanterns or torches gives character and create a natural “lightroom” around the seating area at dusk. Fire is like water a basic element which you unconsciously are attracted towards. If you observe small children around candle lights or water puddles you will understand the instinctive fascination. A couple of fresh colourful pillows will pretty fast brighten up the area.
Last but not least you have plants to decorate around the outdoor sitting area with. They have to be nice to look at and add beauty and a sense of sheltered warmth. And this is Texas so we need plant or flowers that can take some shade. Caladiums, Coleus, Boston fern, Philodendron, Asparagus, Bromeliad are some of the plants I am surrounding our outdoor sitting area with. And the behave well in the hot, humid shade.
Together they continue to supply us with a very diverse and exciting colour scheme, both in foliage and growth habit.
The scent is another factor worth considering in an outdoor sitting area, but that may be the topic of another post.
I have shown you how to plant container plants here, how to add water retaining crystals to container plants here.