Favorite 2021 Summer Home and Garden House Portraits

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Summer Garden Dreams and Home Memories

Over the last week I have noticed golden edges forming on the leaves of trees outside my studio window here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The occasional yellow leaf has flittered by, catching the sun on its descent and the air has a new and distinct crispness.  Before the summer slips through our fingers and disappears completely, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite summer portraits of 2021 for your enjoyment.

Nothing enhances a home portrait more than the gardens of summer. Whether behind a manicured lawn, framed with shade trees, or covered in pots of flowers, the color and vibrance of summer bring a special magic to any home. Even in the city,  the tree-lined sidewalks and pocket gardens give their own pop here and there. Add to it a few garden benches or a patio set and the whole family can enjoy the space together during these long, hot days of summer.

Bright flowers, a healthy lawn, and lush greenery nourish us from the inside, providing oxygen as well as reducing stress and improving our enjoyment of life.  My realtor friends tell me that attractive landscaping also adds huge value in terms of curb appeal to your home when it comes to putting it on the market

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

Northeast Summer House Portraits:

Gardening in the northeast consists of verdant greens and lots of moisture adding up to stunning garden possibilities. The best gardens in the area include dramatic colors and spectacular plants. Both annual and perennial flowers are popular and driving through residential streets in the summer months in the northeast region is indeed a feast for sore eyes.

An expansive lawn and colorful flower beds add to this contemporary home in Woodbury, NY


This well loved Saratoga Springs, NY, Craftsman bungalow is adorned with a bright summer garden


A Tudor style home framed by lush gardens in Wallingford, PA


An American flag flies proudly in this home portrait of a property in Ridley Park, PA


Stunning historic Boston row home with its purple flowering pocket garden and colorful plant pots

Midwest Summer Homes and Gardens

A Midwestern garden is a seasonal haven. It sees harsh winters, but also the most beautiful color of the year while the birds visit the feeders and bird bathes.I always enjoy seeing hidden patios and porches where the entire family gathers in the summer. This is the ideal place for a barbecue and back yard games for the children.

Birds enjoy the bird feeders in this back patio portrait in Grand Rapids, MI


Colonial style home with attractive landscaping in Grand Rapids, MI


Bungalow cottage home with pretty garden color in Royal Oak, MI


A delightful english garden graces this Tudor home in a wooded setting in Grand Rapids, MI


Contemporary Rochester Hills, MI, home enhanced with the perfect landscaping

Western Region Summer Homes:

Every garden and yard should include an abundance of shrubs and plants. In the western region I observed that they form the foundation of garden design. Some dazzle with flowers, colorful leaves, or berries; others fill summer evenings with a heavenly scent. The only real trick to growing shrubs and plants in this region is making sure they get enough water as well as picking the right ones, taking into account the climate, seasons and temperature variances.

Craftsman home awash with garden color in Los Angeles, CA
Dozens of flower pots accentuate this classic San Francisco historic home
An elegant Arcadia, CA, home surrounded by lush gardens

Utah is a historic area with unique homes of its own. It is an extremely picturesque part of the US filled with so many beautiful gardens and natural beauty. In recent months I have been especially taken with homes in Salt Lake City. The gardens of many of these homes have made an impression on me. I have noticed that more and more SLC homeowners are opting for native gardens. It is such a great trend. Naturally, they look beautiful, but in addition, landscaping with native plants can benefit the environment. Native plants naturally evolve over the years to fit the habitat they live in. This is a major money, time and resource saver for nurseries and plant-buyers alike. The native plants in the SLC gardens I saw need less water than non-native flora, and possibly best of all, they need little maintenance. Their homeowners also proudly told me that these plants need less fertilizer and fewer pesticides — native plants can defend themselves against indigenous insects, fungi, and disease. So instead of spraying the plants with artificial pesticides, they have a natural built-in defense system to protect themselves.

Salt Lake City, UT, Craftsman bungalow sits on hill overlooking its own native garden paradise


Bright red roses grace the entrance of this delightful turreted Salt Lake City Tudor home


Brick bungalow in Salt Lake City, UT with unique native garden landscaping


Elegant Tudor style home sits in a quiet Salt Lake City, UT neighborhood


Unique SLC home with a number of style elements and a boulder-filled summer garden   

Southeast Summer House Portraits:

The South is a special place in the United States with so many unique tropical plants and trees that don’t always fare well in colder climates. Your home may be your castle, but rather than surround it with a moat, plant trees, shrubs and flowers to add warmth, color, and texture to the place you love to live. There are many beautiful ways to make your home inviting. Some choose to add height with planters and baskets, thus creating spaces where outdoor party guests can sit, relax, and enjoy drinks and company.

Charleston, SC, home surrounded by lush gardens and palms in this home portrait


Another Charleston, SC home with attractive landscaping


Contemporary Spanish style home with colorful gardens in St.Augustine, FL


Craftsman bungalow set amongst its rainbow of garden flowers, St. Augustine, FL


Craftsman bungalow sits amongst the palm trees in Tampa, FL


Colonial farmhouse overlooks lush flowerbeds in Tampa, FL in this home portrait


A succulent haven and patio garden in Clearwater Florida


Tampa, FL cottage lawn filled with fresh plantings awash in reds and greens


Dutch colonial style home sitting on manicured lawns in Nashville, TN
Creole style home with expansive and welcoming front porch in Chattanooga, TN


So besides attractive landscaping enhancing the portraits of homes I create for homeowners, there are many other practical advantages as well.  A nice garden not only increases the value of a home, it is also a great way to control storm runoff and drainage. When it rains, water should flow away from your home. If it collects around the base of your home, it can cause significant property damage, creating an ideal environment for rot and mold.

A well-designed landscape promotes outdoor living by creating an attractive, functional environment. Homeowners and their families can enjoy evenings on their patio or deck, with a beautiful landscape setting the tone in the background. A lesser-known benefit of landscaping is its ability to reduce a home’s overall energy usage. Strategically placed trees and shrubs create shade, which in turn reduces cooling costs during the summer.

So there you have it!  In writing this article, I have learned a lot about the importance of nice home landscaping, so I hope you have as well!

Cherish the rest of these warmer days and all the best to you and your family and friends — wherever your home may be.

Cheers, Leisa