The backyard patio area serves as an outdoor living space for entertainment, relaxation and gardening. The primary tools used for decorating patios include furniture and container gardens. Container gardens bring flowers, foliage and scent right into the patio living space. Innovative use of patio space requires a plan to ensure proper placement of furniture as well as accent plants, flowers and vegetables. Patio gardening ideas include the use of container gardens and vertical space as well as the available space surrounding the patio area.
Patio Vegetable Gardens
Small backyards, courtyards or townhomes might have limited space for gardening. This certainly doesn't mean you can't add a vegetable container garden to your patio area. Choose half barrels or large pots to divide the outdoor living space with a living screen of vegetables. Plant tomatoes, green peppers, lettuce or any preferred vegetable to add living greenery to the patio area. Place flowers around the edge of pots to add a little color to your vegetable container gardens. Marigolds and dahlias repel garden pests to keep vegetable plants healthy. For more information on companion plants for vegetables, see the Resources Section.
Choose unusual containers for planting flowers in your patio living space. Planters can take just about every form as long as the container drains properly and can hold soil. Some ideas include old-fashioned wheelbarrows, kettles, watering cans, baskets, wrought iron wire baskets, molded plastic containers and cement pots. Gardeners don't need to go with an old, boring round pot. Gather old, unusual containers and decorate your outdoor living space as you would the inside of your home. Select items that reflect your personality and fill them with the plants you love the most. Group various sized containers together to create a living garden with depth and height.
Shade Loving Plants
A sun-filled patio area often makes a gardener lean toward only planting sun-tolerant flowers. This notion is inherently correct but consider how homeowners use this living space. Patio areas often feature a collection of lounge furniture as well as an umbrella. This umbrella offers the gardener the option of placing shade-loving plants with attractive foliage under the protective cover of shade. Coleus, caladium and flowers of the impatiens family will light up this living space with vibrant flowers and foliage. If you select shade plants for the patio area, protect these container gardens during times of bright sunlight by placing the plant in a shady location. Use tall decorative trees or sun loving plants to provide additional shade for shade tolerant plants.
Using Vertical Space
Gardening in vertical space refers to the use of height in containers and around outdoor living spaces. The area above and below a hanging pot can be used to add decorative elements to the patio garden. Install a freestanding wrought iron plant hook to provide a location for a hanging planter. Include taller plants as well as trailing vines that drape over the planter edge to use all of the available decorative space. Use vertical shrubs or hedges around the perimeter of the patio for seclusion and privacy. If you prefer openness, choose a few shrubs to anchor the rear of the patio area without overpowering the view of the property.