by Rochelle Greayer
While traveling around the Ile d’Orleans, across the St Lawrence River from Quebec City in Canada, I had a couple of “whoa, stop the car!” moments.  The island, which is basically the breadbasket of Quebec City is filled with farm stands, pretty vistas across the river that surrounds it, wildlife, and cute quaint cottages and homes.
Some of these places have charming gardens that I took lots of inspiration from.  This one was all about the porch and I think we can all agree it is adorable.
When I see something that works (and makes me literally stop the car so I can jump out and surreptitiously take these shots) – I like to break it down to better understand what is working and how to recreate something similar.
Choose A Palette
This is a compilation of three main colors olive, orange and white.  The colors are used in the pillows and decorative accents, on the paint trim and house details and in the choice of plants for the window boxes and in the hanging planter.  But don’t overlook the textural color that unifies the urn, the wicker chaise and the rocker.  Coordinating these to have similar honey toned hues of brown also shows how effective design can be when you limit the color palette.

Quirky Plants
This hanging basket my favorite thing. It was airy and ethereal in a way that seemed to perfectly fit this space.  Combined with the orange painted corner brackets,  this hanging container garden was what made me stop the car in the first place.
I so wish that this shot was more clear – but this is what happens when you are trying to take a picture of someones house quickly!  Nonetheless, I think we can make out the planting combination:
Variegated Vinca
Calibrachoa – In a shade of fiery orange (like Dreamsicle or Cracking Fire)
White Gaura
And I am not 100% sure what the yellow flower is (I think it is Mecardonia Gold Dust), but it could easily be replaced with a yellow Lantana, Bidens, or Nemesia.
And don’t forget the hostas, peonies and an odd sunflower planted around the base to give it that just right sense of accidentally perfect.

What else is working?
For me the weight of it all feels nice.  Often modern furniture for the outdoors is oversized and often feels out of scale for a period home.  This is a nice balance that doesn’t have too much bulk or visual weight.
I also like that they embrace what makes the house unique – in fact I suspect that those orange corners might not be original, but they add a whole lot of character.
It also doesn’t hurt to live in a place that has the coolest red street lamps to be in the background of your life.  If you are headed to Quebec city in the summer and have some time, I highly recommend a quiet day driving around the Ile d’ Orleans (it is an Island in the St. Lawrence River).  You can get to it by ferry from the city, or you can drive around and cross onto it from a bridge on the north side.  there are plenty of things to do in a day and at the very far end of the island is a nature reserve where at the right time of year you might catch a glimpse of some pretty amazing bird migrations.
Images: Rochelle Greayer