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Porchscaping: French Country

French country is a casual front-porch style that encourages a mix of plants, flowers, fabrics, and time-loved vintage furnishings. By Karen Weir-Jimerson

Add the Elements

French Country is a style of simple excess. Although this may sound contradictory, the layering of rustic furnishings, comfortable fabrics, and beautiful plants creates an iconic look. A time-worn wicker couch becomes more beautiful (and comfortable!) with the addition of ruffled linens and plush pillows. Combining big leaf and fine-cut foliage plants add lushness.

Pump up the Flower Power

Pots of impatiens stacked on an antique white wire rack add luscious color to the porch. The airy design of the wire rack allow the collection of pots to pump up the color enclosing the porch with a heavy piece of furniture.

Frame the View

Create a sense of privacy using tall plants. A grouping of three ‘Sensation’ peace lilies (they grow 6 feet tall) makes a luscious green wall that screens out the world beyond. Other large-leaf tall plants, such as red tipped banana, diffenbachia, and fiddleleaf fig, create a backdrop for an intimate porch setting—even in urban, suburban, or apartment terraces.

Create a Color Theme

The red, white, and blue color theme is perfect for any country-style porch (these replicate the colors on the flag of both France and the United States of America). Choose low-light houseplants to deliver red hues: anthurium, red aglaonema, or bromeliad.

Toss a Pillow (or Three!)

Laid-back porch furniture gets a luxury upgrade with a simple group of toss pillows. French country fabrics can have a faded patina or be colorful, flowery, and bold. Stitch up pillows and seat covers using Provencal fabrics in your favorite color combinations.

Pack a Basket

Need a quick-and-easy porch container? Start with a wire basket, line it with linen tea towels or burlap fabric, then fill the center with pots of peace lilies. These easy-care plants love life on covered porches. Their white flowers (called spaths) look like exclamation points and stay in bloom for weeks. When the weather turns chilly at the end of summer, move the planter indoors for the winter.

Try a Trio

Pull together a simple tabletop vignette using a trio of footed containers: a rusted iron urn and a pair of blue and white ceramic bowls are similar in form but not matchy-matchy. The green glossy leaves and ruby red flowers of anthurium add a beautiful contrast to the peeling-paint tabletop and rust-kissed urn.

Choose Long-Lived Anthurium

Dress up a porch table top with the red, pink, or white spaths of anthurium. These tropical beauties have glossy, heart-shape leaves and love medium or bright light. Anthuriums produce beautiful blooms that bloom all year round provided they get the right light, moisture, and a nip of fertilizer.

Think Vertical

A peeling-paint vintage stepladder makes an ideal plant stand for a space-squeezed porch. Combine variegated beauties such as pothos and red aglaonema to create a vertical display of bold color. Hanging Boston ferns fills the open space from above with a spray of textural foliage. A wire stand with a ‘Sensation’ peace lily adds vertical leafy lushness to a small space.

Enjoy the Thrill of the Frill

Ferns are perfect summer porch dwellers. Their frilly fronds add texture and beauty and can be used as hanging baskets, packed into containers, or in shaded window boxes. Boston ferns and macho ferns are ideal choices for country-inspired porches.