Extend Your Outdoor Living

With the temperatures cooling down, we show you how to extend the season with our kick-off to fall entertaining and gardening.
hgPG-2152507-Outdoor_Osteospermum_Soprano_Purple

hgPG-2152507-Outdoor_Osteospermum_Soprano_Purple

Cool Plants for Fall

It's not all bad that summer is winding down: Take advantage of cooler weather (and possibly fewer bugs), and make this September one to remember—outdoors.

True, mums and pansies are natural choices for chillier nighttime temperatures, but are there are colorful alternatives. Try Osteospermum 'Soprano Purple,' cuphea, Mexican bush sage or pot marigold, and that's only the beginning.

Fabulous Fall Fruit

hgPG-2152513-Outdoor_apples

hgPG-2152513-Outdoor_apples

Add some autumn-producing edibles.

Add some autumn-producing edibles.

This is a great time to be working outside—harvesting your own fresh veggies and fruit. Gardeners in warmer climates can sow kale and harvest in two months; kale can stand temperatures down to 24 degrees Farenheit or so, and even tastes better after the first frost. Bareroot fruit trees are generally not available until spring, but container-grown trees can go in the ground in fall in many parts of the country.

Masses of Grasses

hgPG-2152514-Outdoor_pampas_grass

hgPG-2152514-Outdoor_pampas_grass

Look for the bad boys of ornamental grasses.

Look for the bad boys of ornamental grasses.

For many gardeners, the fall flowers that matter are the ones atop their Miscanthus, switch grass and pampas grass. Try combining grasses that have similar height but slightly different color of plume. Some of the dwarf grasses are great for containers on the deck.

Tip: 'Little Zebra' adds all the movement and sound of its larger cousin but doesn't flop in midseason like so many large zebra grasses (Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus') do.

Tough Turf

hgPG-2156655-Outdoor_checkerboard_turf

hgPG-2156655-Outdoor_checkerboard_turf

Take care of aerating, seeding and fertilizing.

Take care of aerating, seeding and fertilizing.

Gardening by the Yard host Paul James suggests a couple of top lawn care tips for late summer and early fall:

  • Fertilize the lawn with a balanced fertilizer (not a fertilizer high in nitrogen).
  • Don't scalp the lawn, hoping you can save on having to do fewer mowings.

Fall Flowers and Foliage

hgPG-2152508-Outdoor_Redskins_coleus

hgPG-2152508-Outdoor_Redskins_coleus

Keep gardening in mind when you celebrate football season.

Keep gardening in mind when you celebrate football season.

What do Mexican sunflower, Gaillardia 'Fanfare', ageratum and Heuchera 'Obsidian' have to do with football? Everything if your favorite team's colors are orange, red, blue or black. Kick off the fall season with a bit of team spirit in your garden. Let your neighbors know who you're rooting for with a color display of your favorite football team's colors. From flowers and foliage to fruit and fall color, nature can help you support your team.

Tip: Create an easy and colorful arrangement by clipping your favorite coleus (in team colors, of course). Stay in theme by arranging cuttings in a team glass or watertight helmet—change water frequently. Not only do you have an impromptu indoor bouquet for the tailgating table, but you'll get a head start on rooting cuttings for next season's garden.

The Life Outdoors

Enjoy the good life—outdoors and in-style. Lifestyles writer Lourdes Dumke offers four basic tips for creating an outdoor room:

hgPG-2156659-Outdoor_arbor_fireplace

hgPG-2156659-Outdoor_arbor_fireplace

Get inspired and create an outdoor room.

Get inspired and create an outdoor room.

  1. Create structure. Define your outdoor space with structural elements, such as walls, rugs and ceilings, just like with an indoor room.
  2. Add furnishings. Get creative with outdoor furniture. You can spend a fortune on durable pieces made for the outdoors or go thrifty with flea-market finds. Use paint to add color to furnishings, walls or structures.
  3. Add lighting. Go moonlighting with night lighting in your own backyard. Extend the daytime into the evening and enjoy your nights on the back porch or patio. Go simple with oil lamps or get more involved with professionally-installed lights.
  4. Add accessories. Finish the space by covering the details. Add throw pillows to furnishings or create a bouqet of flowers cut fresh from the garden.

Dining Outdoors

hgPG-2156662-Outdoor_kitchen

hgPG-2156662-Outdoor_kitchen

Cook outdoors in style.

Cook outdoors in style.

This is not just your grill anymore. Make the most of your outdoor space by bringing the cooking outside.

Tip: Want the luxuries of having an outdoor kitchen but can't afford the high ticket price all at once? Invest in a good grill first, then add the additional items, like a small refrigerator and sink, later.

Playing With Fire

hgPG-2157380-Outdoor_fireplace

hgPG-2157380-Outdoor_fireplace

Add an outdoor fireplace to your backyard.

Add an outdoor fireplace to your backyard.

Incorporate the element of fire into your outdoor autumn plans. From tiki torches and citronella candles to stone fireplaces and movable firepits, draw warmth and lighting from a fire's flames. When nights are cool, extend the season by using outdoor heaters, suggests landscape designer Scott Cohen of The Green Scene, Canoga Park, Calif.

Lighting the Landscape

hgPG-2156660-Outdoor_fire

hgPG-2156660-Outdoor_fire

Take on an outdoor lighting project.

Take on an outdoor lighting project.

With days getting shorter and nights getting longer, it may feel as though you go to and from work or picking up the kids in the dark. Illuminate the evening hours and extend your time outdoors with lighting. With simple solar lights to more involved lighting systems, the sky's the limit with what you can do.

Tip: Use lights to brighten up pathways while also uplighting and accenting specimen plants or focal points along the way.

Keep Reading

Next Up

6 Must-Do Outdoor Spring Home Maintenance Tasks

Preventive maintenance is crucial to the value of your home. Keep your place in tiptop shape with regular check-ups to save you the headache and cost of emergency repairs.

Outdoor Spring Maintenance Tips

Spring maintenance is easy again with these simple tips on maintaining gutters and downspouts and preventing drainage issues around the home's foundation

Tips on Extending the Growing Season

Follow this simple advice and see how easy it is extend your growing season.

Fall Inspiration: Outdoor Decorating Ideas

It's not too early, I promise.

Turn Your Attention to Your Outdoor To-Do List

Get some fresh air while you get your house ready for summer.

Cleaning Outdoor Furniture

Learn about the best ways to clean outdoor cushions, canvas seats and chair backs, and white and colored plastic.

Tips for Refinishing Wooden Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor wood furniture can be a beautiful addition to any outdoor space, but it requires regular upkeep. Use these tips to care for your wood furniture and keep it looking its best.

DIY Outdoor Party Ideas and Entertaining Tips

It's time to get outdoors and party!  

Outdoor Greenery

Learn about several plant varieties and the planting information for each zone.

Outdoor Planting

Learn about several plant varieties and the planting information for each zone.

On TV

Garage Gold

7:30am | 6:30c

Lawn & Order

8:30am | 7:30c

Lawn & Order

9:30am | 8:30c
11am | 10c

The Vanilla Ice Project

12:30pm | 11:30c

Pool Kings

6pm | 5c

Pool Kings

6:30pm | 5:30c

Pool Kings

7pm | 6c

Pool Kings

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Pool Kings

8pm | 7c

Pool Kings

8:30pm | 7:30c

Pool Kings

9pm | 8c

Pool Kings

9:30pm | 8:30c

Pool Kings

10pm | 9c

Pool Kings

10:30pm | 9:30c
11pm | 10c

Pool Kings

12am | 11c

Pool Kings

12:30am | 11:30c

Pool Kings

1am | 12c

Pool Kings

1:30am | 12:30c
2am | 1c

Pool Kings

3am | 2c

Pool Kings

3:30am | 2:30c

Rescue Renovation

4:30am | 3:30c

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.