Take your stoop from eyesore to idyllic in five minutes with these simple tips.
—Photo by David Lauer
1. Plant In Threes
Choose a trio of containers in lieu of a single pot. (You get more visual interest from varying sizes.) Here, Alissa Shanley of B. Gardening Landscape Design  filled modern white planters with an arrangement of coral begonias, blue lobelia, and lime green helichrysum, all anchored by elephant’s ear.
2. Lay The Groundwork
Indoor/outdoor rugs come in color and pattern combos to satisfy every style. Find one you love and slide it under the swing, or use it to delineate a small seating area. (Feeling bold? Paint your porch floor to resemble a rug using a durable product such as Benjamin Moore’s Floor & Patio latex enamel.)
Becca Tile Reversible Indoor/Outdoor Rug in Blue, $249 (five by eight feet), Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com 
3. Add Softness
The trick to choosing pillows is to establish a palette of three colors first; then find a solid, a small pattern, and a large pattern in those hues. A variety of sizes or shapes gives the grouping extra flair.
Room Essentials Outdoor Pillow in Red Herringbone, $9.99; Threshold Oversized Throw Pillow in Blue Chambray Denim, $29.99; and Threshold Outdoor Pillow in Coral Flower, $14.99, all Target, target.com 
4. Table It
Drum stools and garden seats make perfect outdoor tables: sturdy, chic, and easy to move. Go with a deep, saturated color for a big style statement. On larger porches, a pair of tables guarantees plentiful spots for setting down glasses of lemonade.
Punched Metal Dimitri Drum Stool in Peacoat, $69.99, World Market, 770 S. Colorado Blvd., Glendale, 303-758-0530, worldmarket.com 
Styling by Kerri Cole; Plants: Alissa Shanley, B. Gardening Landscape Design