Tips for a Patio Garden

Homeowners use patios for gathering spaces for meals or socializing. The option of decorating this space with flowers, shrubs and trees creates an oasis in the backyard. The key to creating a patio garden lies in defining the space and limiting the amount of plant maintenance.

Simple Landscape Design

Keep the design simple. The patio is for relaxing, not constant maintenance of plants. Include low-maintenance evergreen shrubs as accent or focal points around the patio area. Fill in between the evergreens with low- to medium-height shrubs. Choose annual flowers to create an oasis with little maintenance during the summer growing season. Test and amend the soil to provide optimum growing conditions for plants. The simple addition of compost to the patio garden beds often makes the critical difference in the health of your plants.

Foliage Plants

Foliage plants offer a beautiful option to the typically high-maintenance flowered perennials. Perennials bloom for a short period of time. While the impact at bloom time may be dramatic, adding perennials for color around a patio doesn't provide consistent decorative aspects for the full growing season. Choose perennials for foliage as well as floral appeal. These base plants will spice up your patio garden with intricate leaf designs and foliage colors. Some dramatic options include any variety of hosta or caladium.

Container Gardens

Add container gardens to the patio area to bring the garden directly into the living space. Use pots on accent tables, as centerpieces for large tables, or as a collected potted garden. Container gardens offer versatility in pot size and color to match patio furniture. Placing multiple-sized pots in a corner of the patio uses foliage and flowers as a decorative element. Remember to pair each plant with the proper light requirements. Container garden plants require consistent watering to retain health and vigor in a confined environment.


Patio areas need some shade to make the space livable. Shade comes in many forms such as umbrellas, sail shades or awnings. Living shade options include trees and shrubs. Limit the choice of trees and shrubs to those that don't create leaf litter and plant debris. Falling leaves and flower petals will stain patio surfaces and collect on outdoor furniture. The eastern redbud grows in the perfect shaped umbrella canopy and reaches a mature height of about 25 feet. One of the many dogwood varieties provides adequate shade and delicate flowers to serve as a focal point in your patio garden.

Keywords: patio garden design, small space gardening, terrace garden

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.