Creating a Colorful, Cottage Landscape Border

The time has come for my bi-annual flower bed ANNUALS replacement.  And honestly, the spring switcharoo is always the most painful.  Why? All winter long my pansies provide vibrant color and even in the doldrums of the cold season, it looks like spring around my cottage.  But come late February and into early March, the pansies ERUPT with mounds of lush flowers and hit their peak mid-April just when I have to pull them out for replacement. I stand and watch as my landscape crew rips them out and I cry a silent tear.  (Kidding of course, but it is sad in a sense.) New summer annuals are planted and then every October, the cycle repeats. The remaining summer annuals are stripped away, and winter pansies are added.

Why do I have to pull them up when they hit their prime? Because it’s essential to get the summer annuals in the ground before it gets too hot. (And in Louisiana it will be HOT in May and pansies DO NOT like hot.) So around mid April every year, my winter pansies are replaced.  And this year, they are being replaced with a pink petunia mix!

Two summers ago, I chose hot pink Wave Petunias that absolutely showed out all season long.  Can we just say CURB APPEAL?! It was a dream to have a lush pink border completely surrounding the perimeter of my home. The ONLY drawback is that in August when the temperatures consistently stay near 100 degrees, the petunias REALLY start to play out. Someone told me (much too late) to cut back the “legs” that had spun forth.  So, I did and got a wee bit more color from some of them until it was time to replenish my beds with pansies. (In hindsight, I’ll do this earlier in August next time in hopes of getting another big burst of color to last until October.)


Because I like to switch things up in my home, last summer, rather than petunias, I opted to go with Profusion Zinnias, a dwarf variety that looked promising for a rainbow of colors.  But, unfortunately, they didn’t meet my expectations.  While they lived and thrived, we had a really wet summer, therefore they didn’t produce the color I had hoped!  And, the slugs ate the ever living daylights out of them and it was a constant battle with those little stinkers all summer.

With that being said, I’ve opted this year to return to my beloved petunias.  And rather than one solid color around the cottage, I’ve opted to add four color varieties of Wave Petunias: coral reef, pink, white and purple (which is actually more of a shade of pink).  If you follow my blog or social media accounts, you know that I have thing for pink.  I’m gradually bringing more color into my cottage, and this spring, my granny’s Franciscan Desert Rose dishes set the tone for the kitchen and main living areas of my cottage.  My goal is to let that theme flow to the outside and create a colorful pink hue border all around the perimeter of my home.

Photo credit: trailing

A lot of work goes into making this switch happen. It’s not as easy as pulling out the old and putting in the new.  My landscape crew basically refreshes the entire soil, adding Osmocote (or secret Chinese sauce as my landscaper calls it) to ensure big beautiful blooms.  They also trim up all my existing shrubbery to keep it neat and tidy.  And before the new plants are added, new pine straw mulch is spread and rolled. The last step is to add 28 flats of petunias, 7 of each color mentioned above, all mixed together.

And after a long day’s work, here is where these gorgeous pansies will begin their race towards summer.  In just about 4 weeks, I will have heaps and mounds of pink all around my cottage and I can’t wait to show you more!

In about 4 weeks, these baby petunias will erupt with vibrant color!

This switcharoo will be documented today so if you are reading this in a timely fashion, I will be taking over the Instagram account of Extra Space Storage (@extraspace) and sharing all about the process. If you happen to miss it, perhaps I can request they save a story highlight for you to watch another time. In the meantime, have a look at some of their DIY landscaping ideas!  And definitely consider them if you are in need of a place to store all of your gardening tools. Otherwise, stay tuned for more details here and on my social media accounts.  Come back in a few weeks and let’s assess the piles of pinks overflowing all around my cottage.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your suggestions, feedback and comments on my annual selections. I’m always eager to learn from you!

(This post is a partnership in conjunction with Extra Space Management, Inc. Extra Space Storage is the second largest owner and/or operator of self-storage properties in the United States and is the largest self-storage management company in the United States. Extra Space Storage has over 1,500 self-storage properties, which comprise approximately 1,090,000 units and approximately 119 million square feet of rentable storage space offering customers conveniently located and secure storage units across the country, including boat storage, RV storage and business storage.)

Share the ♥︎
  1. Jane says:

    Oh my goodness! The mix of pinks will be so gorgeous! You’ve inspired me to plant Wave petunias across the front of our house.

  2. Glenda Alford says:

    Going to be gorgeous!!! May have to change your door color for summer ….to a shade of pink!!??. That would be fun!!! Love following you! ?

    • Sara McDaniel says:

      The internet would eat me alive if I changed the door color. HAHAHAHA! But I’m thinking about pink for my #cottageonfort! 🙂

  3. Claire says:

    Can’t wait to see your petunia border in a few weeks. Definitely is something to look forward to! To think that only 7 flats will soon be that full beautiful border is amazing! I just do petunias in pots but I’m thinking that I need to re-think that. Gorgeous. Love pine needle mulch, too.

  4. Jean from Georgia says:

    Sounds so pretty. Just wonder how much maintenance is required to keep the petunias growing. Is there “pinching back” required and additional fertilizing, etc. I would like to try this on my front beds. I get full sun, hot sun from early morning and then full hot sun the entire remainder of the day.

    • Sara McDaniel says:

      I had them 2 summers ago the maintenance was also most zero! So easy!

      • Dee Bell says:

        Oh my goodness. Your plantings are gorgeous. Now I’m looking at this on Sunday end of February. For some reason I have trouble keeping my long wave petunias alive.. I absolutely love the look and inspired by your article. Keep coming with your information. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Those mixed shades of pink Petunia’s are going to look outstanding and I can’t wait to see them in all their glory!!

  6. Sharmila Vijayan says:

    All the vibrant colors against the white back drop of your house is just so heavenly!

  7. Claire McDonald says:

    Thank you for sharing the special Chinese sauce secret…. I went out immediately and bought some and I can’t wait to see how my flowers flourish. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home and yard with us!

  8. Joni Ducker says:

    Sara I too live in the south and I thought it was too hot in the summer for petunias to thrive.

  9. Oh my golly, they all look fabulous! I’m super jealous of your green thumb. I can barely keep any plant alive. Love your entire look. It’s so happy and inviting.

  10. VIVIAN JOHNSON says:

    I love every inch of your beautiful cottage! Oh, my goodness, it looks like a picture taken out of a magazine in Heaven. You’re so very blessed. I can’t grow much but I’m trying and not making much progress. I love flowers and yours are just amazing. Keep the pictures coming.

  11. Tammie says:

    What is the paint color of your front door it’s just what I’ve been looking for

  12. Sarah Walden says:

    I love the color of the door, do you remember the shade and brand you used? Absolutely gorgeous!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *