Summer Porches with Style

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By Brandon Branch

There’s nothing better in the South than sitting on the porch in the afternoon, watching the sun go down, and having a glass of wine. Or in my case a gin and tonic.

I love to transform a porch into a true outdoor room. Just because it’s made for the inside doesn’t mean that it can’t go outdoors.

Luckily, we now have wonderful outdoor fabrics in the market that make things easier for decorating. I love to use whicker, baskets, tons of pillows, and rugs. I have even been known to bring lamps out onto porches. You can always just run it in if the rain is coming!

There’s nothing more wonderful than filling a porch with tons of candles. And in Savannah, citronella candles are your friends. The bugs will carry you away! I love to plant a gardenia or two near the porch, because there’s nothing better than the smell of gardenia at dusk. It’s also always nice to have a potted herb garden on the porch, even it’s just for running your hand through and getting a smell of the fresh herbs.

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My dogs Simon and Charlie LOVE to lay out on the porch with me as well. So don’t forget a nice comfy dog bed for the pets. (I love the dog beds from Harry Barker.)

One of my favorite things in the summer to do is to go antiquing and find wonderful containers that cost $5 or $10 and then fill them with annual plants. Even if at the end of the season the container is ruined, at least it’s served a purpose for that season.

I like porches that are monochromatic, and getting a pop of color from the flowers that I use. And if you keep the porch monochromatic, it’s easy to pop color through the season for different parties and events. I personally love to keep the porch all green, because green just seems to work outside. The best thing about outdoor living is that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Paint can be chipping off the chair, the table can be slightly rotting, or you can have mold growing on the rug; it all adds a certain Old Southern charm.

Especially here in the South, we love our giant hanging baskets- the bigger the better. Giant Boston ferns, giant baskets of ivy and impatients. And there’s nothing prettier than a giant hanging basket of red geraniums and English ivy.

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If you read my book, Paula Deen’s Savannah Style with Brandon Branch, you will have noticed there are no ceiling fans pictured in the book except for on porches. Indoor ceiling fans are my pet peeve - I don’t believe in them. I believe ceiling fans are only made for porches. With temperatures soaring into the 100’s in the South, a ceiling fan is a nice bonus to an outdoor room.

So this summer get outside, get to decorating, get your hands in the dirt and have a gin and tonic on me!

Photos by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Brandon Branch is a playful Southern gentleman. His style is equal parts Yankee chic and Southern elegance all muddled together in a monogrammed mint julep cup. An invitation to one of his Savannah dinner parties is the equivalent to getting the golden ticket from Willy Wonka. Brandon holds the position of Design Director for Paula Deen Enterprises and serves as Paula Deen's Personal Assistant. He was featured on HGTV's seasonal special "Celebrity Holiday Homes" and looks forward to similar opportunities in the future. Pick up a copy of his New York Times best-selling book, Paula Deen's Savannah Style in our online store.
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Reader Comments:

54321

Where can I buy a container for indoor herb like yours????

By Paula Redfield on July 25, 2012

54321

Just noticed your expertize(sorry I'm a late bloomer)& just LOVE your ideas for a porch. Now if I could only get my husband & sons to build one for me to enjoy I'd be set. I also love your gardens too. My area is getting ready for the Kentucky Derby & hope they pay attention to you & Paula,they could use the help! You need to come visit & enjoy our mint juleps, & parties. Keep up the great work you both do.

By carla frizzell on April 10, 2012

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Hey Brandon, Could you give us any ideas for those of us getting ready for a graduation party of the back deck or porch? Thanks for listening! Shelia Key

By Shelia Key on June 02, 2011

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Thank you so much for the ideas for our front porch smile We are having family and friends over in a few weeks, and my porch will soon be ready to greet them with style!!! Love your ideas...

By Monica West on May 31, 2011

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I love porches, but mine is so tiny...still use it but want it to be larger for friends to enjoy too...going to have to talk to a carpenter...<3 you Paula and all that you do...

By Sherry on May 20, 2011

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Brandon, Love your ideas and the book is fabulous. My husband and I met you at A Spring Evening with Paula Deen for Bethesda and I met you again at her new home when she had 12 come and cook and have dinner for Safe House. You rode back to your house with us as we were staying at the Kehoe. Our ranch house is now built but needs your touch, come to Texas and decorate!! And if you are ever in need for a little Texas flare at one of your dinner parties, we would be glad to help you out! Take care and keep doing what you do. Sincerely Lori Lesley

By Lori Lesley on May 11, 2011

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Thanks for all the wonderful comments about my blog. I love hearing from everyone out there. Let me know what y'all would like my next blog to be about. You can see all of Paula's Furniture at Pauladeenfurniture.com. Keep the comments coming. Brigitte a patio in shade is perfect! Please tell me what a Clair de Lune garden is because I don't know. Brandon

By Brandon on May 11, 2011

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Brandon,This is Mary the lady that made the table cloth and napkins for Paula in October.I'm getting ready to do some things in my home.I haven't done anything since my husband died in 2003.Is there a cataloge of Paula's furniture line?I have things that are my Mom's,his Mom's and things that belonged to greatparents and grandparents.Of course I'm gonna use them.I'm a little nervous about making the changes wanting them to be right.I wish you could be here to do it for me.There wasn't one thing in Paula's house that I didn't like.The bed they showed when she was in North Carolina (the black iron one) I just love.I thought I could use it with the antique's from the grandparents.Sorry, I could go on for ever talking about what I want to do in my house.Love and Blessings,Mary

By MARY2711 on May 11, 2011

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Love your porch. I try to decorate my patio but it is mostly in the shade. and I love to be working in my yard. Last year I added a Clair de Lune garden.

By Brigitte on May 10, 2011

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Brandon is fantastic and I love his style. He was on HGTV's Christmas Special with Trisha Yearwood. His special Southern Style mixed in with holiday decorations was great.And of course I have his and Paula's Savannah Style Book. I have a great front porch and I love to use Brandon's ideas to help decorate mine. I would love to meet him. Thanks, Cathy Alford

By Cathy Alford on May 10, 2011

54321

I cant wait to read more of these! I am a southern gal living in the Netherlands. I just recently moved into a small appartment with a tiny balcony. The set up gives an outdoor feel to my little livingroom/kitchen area. I love sitting here with my doors and windows open and feeling like I am outside. I think a southern touch is just what this place is asking for. Definately looking forward to more ideas.

By Cindy Howell on May 07, 2011

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I cant wait to read more of these. I am a southern girl who lives in the Netherlands. I have recently moved to a very small appartment with a small balcony but with the windows and door to the balcony open I have the feeling of being outdoors. I think the southern touch is just what this little place is asking for. I will be checking often for more of your wonderful ideas.

By Anonymous on May 07, 2011

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beautiful just beautiful<3

By glenda murray on May 06, 2011

54321

Well, maybe if we had your money we wouldn't believe in them either. Here in Florida, they keep the house cool and the air runs less!

By Joe Mason on May 06, 2011

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I know this isn't very polite but I think I need those two adorable babies of yours. I am 61 years old and been a widow for 10 years now. I used to have two beautiful Shit tzu's that I lost 2 years ago. They were the love of my life at the time. My husband was a High School teacher and Football Coach for 36 years before he died. He used to give my little Bogie his wrist watch when he would come home from school at nite. My little Bogie would run and hid with it and lick the salt off of it. After he died, Bogie would just get so excited if I would shake that watch. I just know that he missed his Daddy so much. Anyway, you said your babies found you a husband and I think it is time for me to finally step up to the plate and find me a friend also. So could you help me out and loan me your babies for a while. I promise I would love them just as much as you do. I think they might need their bed also, so could you please mail that too?;) All kidding aside I watch your shows all the time and when I cook something wonderful I call myself Paula. Hmm I hope that isn't identity theft is it? I do love your porch photos. I love see other things you do beside cooking which I love to watch.

By Mary Paine on May 06, 2011

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Paula I Love your porch. It looks Southern elegant. Could you please stop by my house and make mine look just like yours? Im a huge fan of yours you inspire me. LOL Susan

By Susan Fox on May 06, 2011

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These porches make me dream of Tybee Island. Can't wait to get there this summer!

By Suzanne Cox on May 06, 2011

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I LOVE PORCHES !!!! just to sit out on the porch and drink my morning tea or watch the sun go down !!! My favorite is to sit on the porch when it is raining and the sweet smell of rain in the air and watering the green grass just makes life so much better !!!! smile This porch brought back memories of growing up and all the happiness of a child !!!:) Thank You Paula !!!!!

By Terri stevens on May 06, 2011

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WE JUST RECENTLY MOVED INTO OUR RENOVATED AND UPDATED 1935 CRAFTMAN COTTAGE AND WE HAVE STARTED COLLECTING RUSTIC FURNITURE AND KNICK NACKS TO DECORATE THE AWESOME FRONT PORCH...THANKS FOR THE MANY IDEAS IN YOUR ARTICLE, NOW LET THE FUN BEGIN.

By RHONDA CASEY on May 06, 2011

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I LOVE SITTING ON ARE PORCH WITH MY HUSBAND IN THE EVEING AND HAVING A BIG GLASS OF SWEET ICE TEA. WE WATCH ALL OF THE BRIDS AND WILELIFE. ARE DOG RUN AND PLAY. WE AL SO LIKE HAVING ARE MORN. COFFEE OUT THERE WHEN WE CAN WE JUST ABOUT LIVEON ARE PORCH IN THE SUMMER.!!!!!!!!!!!!

By frances francis on May 06, 2011

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love the table paula would look good on my new patio. so glad you are back. I hope to get there to see you in person one day.i will start tomorrow to find the patern form the tablecloth.
Gladys Rainesl in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I just want to say this I don't even know if is the right page all I ever wanted to say to Paula Deen welcome back I have missed you. You are my favorite home down girls keep your head up and hang on and feel the love. P.S. from a woman of color.
in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I just love love love the table and flowers and am so glad that I can still access all of Paula's recipes, her family life, Bobby's lighter versions and Brandon's beautiful work. Truly thankful to see such beautiful tablescapes. You guys are my heros.
Patricia in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 9:14 am