Cottage gardens are an informal assortment of flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. Rather than lining up the vegetables in straight rows, daisies grow next to dill; lettuce is shaded by cosmos and tomatoes are happy next to the roses. The garden may seem unstructured but that doesn't mean it's unplanned. Bring that country garden feeling to your patio. Enclose your patio with fruits, vegetables and herbs growing in containers.
Remove any roofing or shade structures that would hinder the patio from receiving at least six hours of sunlight per day. Fruits and vegetables don't do well in shade. While there are some flowers that thrive in the shade, most prefer sun. Use umbrellas that can be moved from spot to spot as needed for shade. Or use a retractable awning system for shade only when it's needed.
Place two rectangular containers at the edge of the patio to enclose the front.
Place the other two rectangular containers at each side of the patio. The four rectangular containers now enclose the sides and front of the patio. The back is likely enclosed by the house or garage. If it's not you will need additional containers.
Fill all the containers with potting soil mixed half and half with soil from your garden. Mix in a slow release fertilizer per label directions.
Plant two rectangular containers with dwarf fruit trees such as peach, plum, apple or citrus depending on the zone you live in. For example: Citrus trees need a frost free environment while apple trees need a chilling period when they're dormant. As the trees grow they will provide a living fence to enclose the patio.
Underplant the fruit trees with vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet peppers and bush beans and herbs like basil, parsley and lemon thyme. Plant vegetables and herbs you like, not ones you think you should eat. If you can't stand to eat broccoli, don't plant it. Add a few flowers to complement that cottage garden look.
Plant the two remaining rectangular containers with tall cottage garden flowers such as larkspur, cosmos, delphinium and foxglove. Plant a fragrant rose at each end of the container. Edge the containers with strawberries. If you want more privacy, add a white picket fence to the outside of the container.
Use the smaller, 18- to 24-inch pots, for herbs, additional flowers and vegetables. Lavender, rosemary and lemon verbena are good choices because they will release scent when you brush by them. Those herbs are used frequently in cottage gardens for medicinal purposes as well as flavoring.