Question: I know it is a little late in the season, but I am just getting around to actually putting pots and plants on my patio.

Question: I know it is a little late in the season, but I am just getting around to actually putting pots and plants on my patio.

We needed to have some construction done on our house and it’s recently been finished. I cannot let a summer go by without enjoying my patio for at least a while. I have decided to plant all Coleus plants, this way it will segue into the fall without a problem.

I would like to purchase some aged terra cotta pots but have found them to be quite pricey. I live in an antique home and thought that they would go well with my decor. Do you have any suggestions as to where I can purchase less expensive pots?

Answer: I always enjoy my patio spring through fall. Your idea of using Coleus plants makes perfect sense. (I use them all the time). They make a beautiful display in the summer and work well as the days become cooler. The plants actually stand up to fall nights without much problem.

As far as your pots go, I have an even better idea. You can age pots naturally yourself for very little money. There are a few different ways of achieving the look you want. The first is to use wood stain. It adds instant character to new pots.

You can either use a gel wood stain or a liquid wood stain. Just dip an old cloth (preferably cotton) into the stain and wipe it onto the terra cotta pots. Work quickly; you don’t want the stain to dry with harsh edges. Rub the stain in and then wipe off any excess with another rag. You can apply the liquid wood stain with a paintbrush, if you want. The more coats you add the more aged the pot will look.

This is a great option for pots that have surface designs. The stain will be darker in the indentations and the raised areas will be highlighted. This works well in any garden setting, from formal to country antique. 

Another option (and this happens to be my favorite) is to use plain yogurt and moss spores (available at any local garden store). All you have to do is mix the spores into the yogurt, stir, and apply to your pots with a brush. Place them outside in the shade for at least 10 days and you should see results shortly thereafter. These have that great “Old World” finish. The Coleus will look great growing in any of these pots. Have fun!

Question: I have just recently added a screened-in porch to my home, with screens that can be replaced with glass as the seasons change. I installed a brick floor in the room and love the look of it but would like to soften it just a little by adding some kind of area rug. I am not sure what type of rug could withstand the change of seasons. Any suggestions?   Answer: There are definitely some dos and don’ts for choosing an area rug for your three-season room. My best advice is to go with one of the fairly new polypropylene carpets.   These can be used outside as well as inside. And the best part about them is cleanup is so very easy. Just lay them out on your lawn and take the garden hose to them. Then, let them dry in the sun and bring them back in. They have a very natural woven look to them and last for a long time. The other plus is the cost; they are very well priced. So, if in a year or two you decide you want another color or size, you won’t feel guilty about buying a new one. These are available at your local carpet stores. Linda Brigida is the owner of Interiors, a decorating business located in Plymouth, Mass., and specializing in window treatments, room design, color choices and furniture selection. Design dilemmas appears in Town Commons every other week. E-mail your questions to or call Interiors at 508-746-2166.