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On the Porch with Mary Jeanne Kneen

Produced by Clara Haneberg

On a warm summer day, you can find me:  On a golf course!

Ever been stung by a bee? Yes! Twice. The first time, I was about 10 years old running through the sprinklers on a warm summer day. It stung the bottom of my foot, and I’ve been terrified of bees and other flying things with stingers ever since.

Sweet tea or lemonade? Lemonade.

As a kid, I loved playing __________ outdoors.  “Kick the Can” with my neighborhood friends, tennis or just riding my bike.

In my garden, I grow: I haven’t had a garden for years! City living! smiley But my daughter gave me a succulent for Mother’s Day last year, and it is still thriving! I am shocked. As a child, my favorite thing in my mother’s garden were the tomatoes. I love them so much. There is nothing like a fresh garden tomato!

For me, outdoor design is: Making your outdoor space cozy and comfortable for entertaining and lounging with family and friends. Regardless of the type of outdoor space you have, it should incorporate natural elements as much as possible. Mood lighting for evenings is also a must! I love hurricane lanterns on the dining table and strings of lights running through trees.   

My biggest outdoor fiasco involved: I like to think “fiascos” are a part of the adventure of being outdoors. Even being caught in the rain is fun, and part of the experience.

My favorite memory of being outdoors is: I have so many it is hard to choose. As a child growing up in Michigan, the summertime was special. Grilling on the patio with my family and all the other outdoor activities I did as a child and young adult were fun. We also vacationed in Florida in the winter, and I was always on the beach or in the ocean.  Having lived in Europe for several years, I also have great memories of al fresco dinners, charming markets and exploring different cities. Now, I am still a beach girl, but you can also find me on a golf course and, when possible, dining alfresco.

Sunglasses, floppy hot, SPF—or all three? Sunglasses and SPF are a must. I am not a hat wearer unless it is a golf hat!

You won a free ticket to any outdoor destination, and you pick: A beach. I’d probably choose St. Barth’s, where I went on my honeymoon, or a golf course that I haven’t played in an exotic place…maybe New Zealand or Pebble Beach.

The ideal weather forecast is: Hot! 85 degrees and sunny!

Every outdoor space should have: Comfortable chairs, good mood lighting (candles, hurricane lanterns, strings of lights) and, if possible, a dining table.

My favorite outdoor activity is: Playing golf! (Are you sensing a theme?)

What I love most about entertaining outdoors is: The smells and sounds of nature and the moonlight. Being outdoors puts everyone in a good mood—it’s casual, fun, and seems more spontaneous.

Who would you invite to your dream alfresco dinner party? Honestly, I would rather be with my family and closest friends than anyone else in the world.

Every good outdoor gathering has: The ability to put people at ease and put smiles on their faces—and great cocktails help!

Everything is ___________ outdoors.  Better