Looking for ideas for your outdoor living spaces? Wait until you see these cozy outdoor decorating ideas for summer.

This time of year, I’m outside enjoying my outdoor living spaces much more and tend to let the inside go.

Do you do that too?

Even more so for us, because we recently moved from our rustic farmhouse to a new-to-us 1850 farmhouse on a sprawling 10-acre property.

With everything so new, we are still learning the property and our home.

And we are enjoying every second of it!

As we get acclimated here, we are exploring the best ways to use the outdoor living spaces, because there are a lot of them and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Today, I’m joining the Bloggers Best Summer Home Tour hosted by my good friend Kelly from the Tattered Pew, so be sure to check out the rest of the outdoor living and summer decorating inspiration at the end of this post.

If you are visiting from my good friend Rachel’s at the Ponds Farmhouse, welcome to my home.

So grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever you want really, and let’s tour my outdoor living spaces because there is SO MUCH I want to share with you.

These outdoor living spaces are to die for! I still can’t believe we moved here.

Oh and wait until you see the surrounding gardens too! GAH!

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About My New Outdoor Living Spaces

I haven’t shared much about them here yet on the blog because I’ve been busy working in my new gardens and renovating the inside of our home.

And we’ve done a lot so far!

There were lots of dark, faux finish on the walls, trim and ceiling in several rooms.

Like the sunroom renovation that was a lovely shade of yellow and green with lots of painted flowers.

Or the family room makeover that had a dark venetian plaster finish on the walls, trim, and ceiling.

I even painted the front entry hall to change it from a deep dark red to beautiful neutrals that opened up the space and enhanced the gorgeous moldings.

But the biggest renovation?

Was the dining room because it had upholstered walls that needed to be removed and a dark, textured faux finish on the ceiling that we covered up with paint.

And you won’t believe how much better it looks now!

I shared some pics of the new dining room in an Easter brunch post. The lightened space really brings out the shine in the incredible crystal chandelier that you have to see to believe.

But I digress.

front porch gardens in front of 1850 farmhouse with walkway and stone wall

Welcome to My 1850 Farmhouse!

Our home is nestled in north-central New Jersey in a sprawling suburban/farmland town.

We live less than an hour from New York City, an hour from the Jersey Shore, and an hour and half from the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

It’s a great spot to live really because we have easy access to the best of things on the east coast.

While we weren’t planning on moving when we did, we were casually looking around and found this hidden gem.

The former homeowners loved this home, cultivating every square inch with great focus on all of the details.

It needed a little updating but there is so much character, interest, and uniqueness here, the opportunity to purchase it was too cool to pass up.

So we went for it.

And haven’t looked back since.

Life on the Front Porch

For the longest time, Chris and I wanted a front porch.

A covered front porch with gorgeous pillars, beautiful front porch rockers, a swing and a garden view.

A place where we could linger, enjoy a cup of coffee or an amazing glass of wine, and enjoy the outdoors.

Well we got that and more!

front porch with view of bistro set, scaveola hanging baskets, vintage sign in my outdoor living spaces home tour

And we still pinch ourselves every day because we are in awe of how amazing this home and property are.

Since we are still pretty new here, our home is a work in progress, but I love where it’s going!

The porch had this beautiful white porch swing.

close up of front porch swing with vintage flower pillows, potted plants and an outdoor area rug on the front porch in my outdoor living spaces home tour

It’s one of my favorite places to sit and enjoy the front garden views.

I am out here every morning with my dogs and cup of coffee to start the day.

We bought these pretty porch rockers to use on the opposite side of the porch. It has a better view of the new potager garden and crabapple trees in the lower portion of the property.

I wanted to bring a little color to the porch swing and rockers so I purchased some outdoor pillow covers with pretty vintage flowers and love how they look!

These pillows bring out the colors in my pretty front door wreath and flagstone floor.

view of the front porch with bistro table and chairs, vintage sign, pretty black urns with summer annuals, floral wreath and white rocking chairs with vintage outdoor lights
close up of front porch rockers in my outdoor living spaces home tour

To create more seating options, I found this vintage bistro set that WE LOVE!

It’s a great spot to eat breakfast and can easily be moved around the property for some cozy dining.

Just above the bistro table set is this pretty vintage sign I found while thrifting at the flea market in Vermont.

close up of vintage sign and scaevola hanging basket on front porch

I bought this last summer and had no idea where I was putting it in the old house.

Little did I know we would be moving and I’d have the perfect spot for it on the front porch.

Since I love to garden and outdoor planters are my jam, I potted up my black urns that flank the front door.

In these containers, I planted:

  • Caladiums
  • Euphorbia
  • Begonias
  • Sweet potato vine
  • Bacopa
vintage stroller from the thrift store that is planted with scaveola on the front porch

But the prettiest decor I added to the front porch is this adorable vintage stroller that I planted with scaveola.

Doesn’t it look so pretty?

To cozy up the porch with more flowers, I added more scaveola in hanging between each of the pillars.

As an aside, hanging baskets dry out SO EASILY so it’s important to water them daily, and sometimes even twice a day if it’s hot enough.

I add a drip system to make this task easier. We will paint them white so you can’t see them against the white pillars and beams.

close up of the hanging baskets of scaevola on the front porch in my outdoor living spaces summer home tour

The Front Porch Gardens

Since moving in, I’ve been keeping an eye on the gardens, focusing on their design as well as what’s coming up.

The area just outside the front porch was completely empty because the former homeowners used to plant annuals there each year.

Because I can’t leave a garden bed empty, I planted this area with some pretty annuals and perennials that will flower at different times throughout the growing season.

close up of the front porch garden that is planted with salvias, nepeta, superwave petunias, iceland poppies, yarrow and echinacea in my outdoor living spaces home tour

As an aside, when I plant my gardens, I design them with plants and flowers that will provide color, texture and blooms all season long.

And seek a preference for a higher level of deer resistant plants.

Perennial plants in this garden include:

close up of yarrow in the front porch garden in my outdoor living spaces home tour

In addition to the perennials, I also tucked in some annuals that I started from seed and full grown plants from the garden nursery.

Annuals in this garden include:

  • Superwave petunias ‘latte’
  • Zinnias ‘Senora’
  • Larkspur (a few different varieties)
  • Snapdragons (a few different varieties)

I will plant bulbs in the fall so I can get the earliest color when early spring arrives next year.

close up of superwave petunias in my front porch garden
Superwave Petunias ‘Latte’
view of snapdragons, larkspur and superwave petunias planted in the front porch garden in my outdoor living spaces home tour
close up of the front porch garden with view of the valley and container gardens filled with pansies with hostas and sedum autumn joy

The New Potager Garden

This outdoor garden room was a basketball court with pavers, boxwood shrubs, vines and a beautiful green fence that leads to the pond garden.

None of my girls play basketball and we would rarely use it for this purpose anytime soon, so it made more sense to turn it into a potager garden with raised garden beds and an outdoor dining space.

This area is a work in progress because there is so much I want to do out here!

Wait until you see it!

View of the potager garden with raised garden beds filled with fresh vegetables, green fence and tree sculpture.
view of the vegetable garden in raised garden bed planters with wood obelisk in the potager garden.

I added my self-watering raised garden beds to grow herbs and vegetables.

At some point, we will make a much larger vegetable garden somewhere else on the property, but I’m not sure where I want to do that just yet.

So we started small with the raised beds in the potager garden for now.

I also added a few planters with pretty annual flowers and plan to purchase more containers to help break up the boxwood greens next year.

There is only so much you can do in a year but I’m loving where it’s going.

close up of outdoor entertaining ideas for low country boil with red and white checkered tablecloth, brown craft paper, on farmhouse table with wicker chairs and honeysuckle in the garden

Our property lacks a good spot for my outdoor farmhouse dining table and wicker chairs, so we decided to make the other portion of this garden an outdoor dining space.

In the future, we want to make an outdoor kitchen out here with a grill, smoker, pizza oven, and refrigerator. We have the electric, so it’s just a matter of building the space out.

But that will take some time and doing, so it’s not something we are taking on right away.

For now, we have the grill out here and enjoy evenings in the potager garden.

close up of table setting idea for low country boil outdoors in potager garden with outdoor area rug, farmhouse table, wicker chairs, red and white checkered tablecoth, brown craft paper, fresh cut flowers in ball jar glasses with red linen napkins on white plates with lonicera and ninebark blooming in the background. - outdoor entertaining ideas

The Backyard Porch With Zen Garden

For the longest time, I wasn’t sure how to furnish the backyard porch because the decking has a unique shape.

It’s part of the zen garden design that the former homeowners created.

Isn’t it fabulous?

And let me tell you, this garden room is a wonderful place to hang! We are out here every single night listing to the sounds of the waterfall and enjoying the gardens.

wide angle view of the zen garden with back porch
view of the back porch seating area and deck with rounded shape in my outdoor living spaces home tour

We did not have a water feature at our former home, so we are loving having it here and were totally missing out!

There is nothing quite like listening to the sounds of running water so if you don’t have one, trust me, you need one. Even it is a small, inexpensive fountain that takes up very little space.

Although it’s just Chris and I most of the time out here on the back porch, we needed to purchase outdoor furniture that would accommodate our family of five.

It took several months of shopping around before landing on this outdoor conversation set.

And it’s the perfect fit for our family and then some when guests join us.

close up of the conversation set on the back porch in my outdoor living spaces home tour with houseplants, flowers, sun hat, cozy blankets and mustard colored house

Originally, we wanted either a sofa and loveseat or a sectional, but the unique shape of the deck just didn’t allow the proper space for either.

So I went with this seating arrangement because the ottomans can be moved around to add more seating.

And it’s been great so far!

I’d love to add a sign or something above the sofa, but for now, I’m loving where the backyard porch going.

view from the back porch of the small koi pond in the zen garden
backyard pond in the zen garden with garden statue, japanese maple, elderberry, and rhododendron flowers with river rock

The Zen Garden

Since this area is completely hardscaped with river rocks and other stones, I wanted to soften the lines with lots of pretty container gardens of blooms and plants.

Originally, I thought it would be shaded enough to site my houseplants here for the summer, but it gets way too much sun for them.

The leaves will scorch.

So pretty annuals it will be!

Container Gardens in the zend garden with pretty pink superwave petunias 'bubblegum pink' colocasia and other flowering annuals witha garden statue and stone wall

I don’t own enough garden containers to completely fill the area just yet, but I’ll purchase a few more each year until I achieve the look I’m going for.

But I love the progress of the zen garden and I’m loving how the plants and flowers brighten up the space.

The flowers and plants you see include:

  • Superwave petunias ‘bubblegum pink’ and ‘limoncello’
  • Colocasia – Elephant Ears
  • Bacopa
  • Geraniums
  • Coleus
  • Lemongrass
  • Mandevilla Vine
close up of the potted flowers in my container gardens filled with superwave petunias, elephant ears, coleus in front of  a stone wall on river rock in my zen garden in the outdoor living spaces home tour

As the temps increase, the container gardens are starting to fill in beautifully and I’m loving the pinks!

They look great against the stone wall and green garden fence.

We recently hosted my daughters pre-prom party here and the zen garden made a beautiful backdrop for the photos.

It was fun to host them all before heading off to prom.

zen garden with hardscaping, stone wall, and garden statue with planters filled with superwave petunias, mandevilla vine, coleus, and an astilbe.

There are lots of beautiful specimen plants in the backyard too that bloom and provide interest so the back porch is an amazing spot to sit and enjoy the scenery.

We’ve got lots of birds that live in the gardens and frogs in the small pond that are fun to spot and watch.

And we recently added small koi fish that we are enjoying too. It’s fun to feed them and watch them swim around.

Watching the koi fish in the pond with garden statue, elderberry, japanese maple and Christopher Ling, AIA
close up of a frog in the zen garden pond

The pond garden has some beautiful plants around it that include:

  • Japanese Maple
  • Elderberry
  • Hostas
  • Astilbes
  • Houseplants
  • And some container gardens

And that’s it for today!

Thank you so much for joining me in my outdoor living spaces home tour. I’d love to have you back so you can see the changes we make to the property both inside and out.

Next up on the Bloggers Best Summer Home Tour is my good friend Amy Sadler from Amy Sadler Designs.

Wait until you see her beautiful home!

view of the zen garden with river rock and stone wall, koi tree sculpture and container gardens filled with pink and white flowers in the backyard in my outdoor living spaces home tour

Want to See More of My Home Tours Throughout the Seasons?

I love a good home tour, don’t you?

The best part about these home tours is they feature both my former and new homes. And the difference between my two homes is the decorating style. While both are geared toward farmhouse style, they have a different feel to them.

My former home had a rustic farmhouse vibe. But the new house?

We are moving towards rustic elegance and french country-style decorating.

Wait until you see my homes throughout the seasons with these inspiring house tours.

front porch gardens in front of 1850 farmhouse with walkway and stone wall

Bloggers’ Best Summer Home Tours

This week I am joining some of my blogging friends for the Bloggers’ Best Summer Home Tours.

Thirty talented and creative women will be opening their homes up for you to tour all week long.

You can visit each summer home tour by clicking the links below.

Monday’s Tours

side table decor and flowers

The Tattered Pew / Cottage On Bunker Hill / She Gave It A Go

Cottage In The Mitten / Stonegable / My Wee Abode

Tuesday’s Tours

kitchen table and close up of aqua coffee cup

Thistle Key Lane / Midwest Life & Style / White Lilac Farmhouse

My Thrift Store Addiction / Willow Bloom Home Blog / Dabbling and Decorating

Wednesday’s Tours

blue front door with wreath, and flower basket on patio table

Bricks ‘n Blooms /Amy Sadler Designs / Peacock Ridge Farm

White Arrows Home / Pasha Is Home / The Ponds Farmhouse

Thursday’s Tours

moss centerpiece and kitchen view

Simply2Moms / Country Peony / Southern Home and Hospitality

Shiplap and Shells / Eleanor Rose Home / Cloches and Lavender

Friday’s Tours

old luggage style coffee table and fireplace and flower arrangement

Le Cultivateur / Lora Bloomquist Create & Ponder / Noting Grace

My Family Thyme / Vintage and Grace Living / County Road 407

Sign Me Up!

Sign up for my free newsletter to get blog posts, seasonal tips, recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Plus, get free VIP access to my Resource Library where you’ll find insider freebies not readily available to the public.

assorted pics of summer home tour
Close up of front porch in summer for an outdoor living spaces home tour
close up of front porch in summer for an outdoor summer home tours of 30 blogger's homes

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

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  1. Stacy,
    Wow, your home is amazing. Your front porch looks so good and the garden are to die for. You’ve done so much and I know you are loving every minute of it. Great post.

    1. Thank you so much RAchel! We are really enjoying it all and still soaking it in. I still can’t believe we moved here! xoxo

  2. Stacy,
    Your home is so LOVELY! I am also in awe of it all…I know you guys must be so happy with your new home.
    Thanks for sharing such beautiful inspo…pinned!

  3. Wow, your outdoor spaces are gorgeous. I think I would just spend the entire summer outdoors! I don’t know what I love more- the long porch, the beautiful garden beds, or the area at the back. The pond and waterfall are so charming. I really love your mix of perennials and annuals in the garden beds too.

  4. Oh Stacy, your porch and back patio are just beautiful! I love your floral pillow covers and how you’ve styled everything. The vintage buggy filled with flowers is my favorite! Pinned! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

  5. Stacy goodness gracious what an incredible property you have found! I am so happy for you guys and to see the touches you have already added has been incredible. You are so talented! Thank you for joining the tour this week.

  6. Everything is so lush and beautiful, Stacy! A porch is on my wish list if we ever move again. I can see why this is one of your favorite places. Happy to be touring with you this week. Pinned!

  7. I think your new home and gardens are so lovely! It’s hard to pick a favorite spot. I have always wanted a porch swing and would love to curl up there with a good book…but I guess I could do that in so many of the beautiful spots outdoors, at your home! Nice hopping with you, Stacy! Happy summer!

    1. thank you so much Kim! I agree its hard to pick a favorite! We have been going by the time of day! Always end up in the zen garden though! xo

  8. Stacy, I don’t know what part of your home or gardens that is my favorite. You finding this home is a true gem. Others may have passed it up not seeing the potential. From the moment you shared the first photos, I saw the potential and knew you would make this home incredible. The home is amazing and the gardens are tranquil and beautiful. What are the purple flowers to the right of the front porch? Walking up you see these flowers in front of the railings were the rockers are and they are stunning! I would love to plant some in my garden. I cannot wait to see more of what you do with the house this fall.

    1. Thank you so much Tammy! Its been such a fun adventure and I’m so glad we moved quickly on it! The purple flowers in the ground is baptisia (false indigo) and the purple ones hanging in the basket are scaveola. Baptisia is a gorgeous plant – it never took in my old garden as it did here. I love it!

  9. That little bistro set was made for your front porch! It looks so sweet. The gardens are just coming along so incredibly, so fun to watch it all fill in!

    1. Thank you I’m really loving it there! Thought I’d move it around but I put it there and it hasn’t left yet! LOL!

  10. Hidden gem is right Stacy! I think I would have gone for it too! Every outdoor space is to die for with such amazing plants and hard scapes. I know you’re going to have a fun filled summer in your new home!

  11. Your outdoor space is just amazing, Stacy! I can’t believe you have even more you want to do, it already looks so gorgeous! Thanks for sharing! Pinned, and always love touring with you!

  12. I love that backyard space you have Stacy. I hadn’t seen that before. It’s all so new and exciting💯

  13. I can’t get over all the variety of gardening spaces in your new home! Each one is prettier than the next. You’ve got to be enjoying seeing what the original owner has planted as it emerges! And I’m loving all the details you’re adding to turn this home into your space. Can’t wait to see how it all evolves!

    1. Thank you so much Ann! That is the most fun part – just seeing what’s here. But getting to know all the different spaces and how we use them is pretty fun too. I still can’t believe we found this place. Love it here.

  14. Absolutely amazing! Your porch and gardens are incredible. I could sit on your front porch for days! Happy hopping with you, my friend.

  15. Stacy your new home is beautiful and the gardens amazing.

    You found a gem in our state.

    The outdoor spaces are so pretty. 10 acres in NJ is tough to find now.

    1. You are so right – it is! I feel so fortunate to have found this one. The former homeowners really thought this house through with every detail.

  16. I was going to say I can hardly believe all that y’all have accomplished but then I remembered who I was talking about. It all looks amazing. This new garden area was just waiting for you to cultivate and bring it to a new life. What a seriously gorgeous place. You enjoy sitting out on that front porch each day and I’ll sit here drooling over all the amazing views. Happy to hop with you this week.

    1. Thank you so much Cindy!!!! I really appreciate that. We are really enjoying the different spots to hang! I find we are outside so much more here than our former home.

  17. I can’t tell you how much I love your new gardens and outdoor spaces Stacy! I’ve always wanted a covered porch like yours. I can imagine how much you are enjoying it. The new potager garden is to die for. It looks like it’s been there the entire time. And that water feature is really incredible. So many lovely details you have here. Great tour my friend.

    1. Thank you so much Kim. We have to coordinate a visit one of these days. I would love to host you here and want to come visit you out there! xoxo

    2. Oh and that potager garden is going to be fun to work on over the next few years – I have lots of ideas! xo

  18. I will have to come visit for a long time so I can enjoy each and every outdoor space fully! LOL! It’s all so beautiful Stacy! I am loving the potager garden and am excited to follow along for more!

  19. GORGEOUS!!!! I adore your porch, patio , gardens and tablescape!! All so darn pretty!! I have to go back and look at everything again to take all this beauty in!! Thanks so much for sharing!! I truly enjoyed my visit here today!!!

  20. Hi stacy it Debbie again lol about your orange tipped Bush, it’s your new home it’s in a pic with you showing us your new porch watering system, I just love it!! Its this post. You are amazing girl you have soooo much, how do you do it it is just beautiful love your new home and what a huge property to care for, you go!!!

    1. That is a Japanese Barberry. The foliage is beautiful and it is deer resistant because it has thorns but it is invasive in certain areas so before planting it check with your local cooperative extension first. It is invasive where I live but is regularly sold at nurseries so homeowners still plant it. I slowly removed it from my former home and now, inherited a bunch here so over time, I plan to remove it all.

  21. Stacy ,
    Your home tour was absolutely beutiful. Your garden is amazing. so wonderful to join you on this Summer Home Tour!!!!

  22. WOW! The grounds of your home are beyond stunning Stacy!! I can definitely see why y’all couldn’t pass this gem up. And a home like this needs your gardening prowess. It’s as beautiful as any public garden I’ve ever been to. Happy to be touring with you. Enjoy your summer!!

  23. Wow Stacy – your new backyard is incredible! How exciting to finally have a large front porch to sit on and enjoy your morning coffee too ;)!


  24. We are currently overhauling our backyard and there are so many wonderful ideas in this post! I especially love your garden – if only I had a green thumb!!