Landscaping Ideas for Patios

Don't despair if you love to garden and have only a patio. You have many options to explore, ranging from a container garden to creating multiple layers or a striking flower garden. A small herb or vegetable patch may interest you if you like to cook. As you start to plan your patio landscape, think about the effect you hope to achieve, as well as the use you will give the garden.

Creating Privacy

Line the edges of your patio with easily pruned shrubs, such as crotons or boxwood. Crotons add color and texture to your garden, where boxwood shrubs create a soothing backdrop for other plants. If you live in a tropical area, palm trees have attractive fronds that create an illusion of privacy. Another option is to plant flowering vines, such as morning glory or clematis, on a trellis. As the plants grow and flower, you will be rewarded not only with beautiful flowers to look at, but also a natural wall between you and your neighbors. If you cannot plant either the shrubs or flowering vines directly in the soil, they do well in containers. Once you have created a privacy wall, spread white gravel in the areas without plants. White gravel reflects light and discourages the spread of weeds.

Using Space Well

A large space can be divided evenly around the perimeter with large flowerpots containing flowering trees. Good flowering trees to choose from are hibiscus or well-pruned citrus trees. Repetition is soothing, so prune your trees to keep them about the same size. On the other hand, if you want some flair, a dramatic eye-catching floral arrangement adds visual interest. Place a large flowerpot or pedestal in a spot where it will not compete for attention. This could be the center of your patio or in a neglected corner. Wild grasses, flowering plants and trailing vines take advantage of vertical space. Add a comfortable bench and table to create your own private garden. If you only have a small space, use small containers and pick a color scheme. Your colors could be reflected by using matching painted flower pots or containers. Attach them to your patio walls or around a sliding door so that any steps or ground space is clear. Using neutral-colored containers allows you to plant complementary colors in flowers. For example, you might choose to showcase yellow and purple primroses. It is important to match your plant size with the patio size. Very large flowerpots and arrangements will not create the impact they deserve in a small patio, and small containers will seem to get lost in a large patio.

Creating Ambiance

Create any ambiance you choose with plant-filled containers. Using containers affords you the greatest flexibility of all. You can rearrange them as you please, lining them up or grouping them together. Come winter, you can bring your containers inside and enjoy your plants in colder months. Containers can be as rustic as a large plastic bucket or elegant faux stone. Think about the look you wish to achieve, whether it be a country theme or a sunny southern European atmosphere. Match your containers and plants to the patio furniture you choose. Terra cotta containers with flowering lemon trees or jasmine plants will perfume your patio. Coupled with chairs, an attractive table and soft lighting, your patio can become an instant getaway in the evenings.

Keywords: patio landscapes, gardens in small spaces, container gardens patio

About this Author

Ruth Taylor is a teacher and a freelance writer. She has been writing for years, but only recently started freelancing. Her articles have appeared in Livestrong, eHow and other websites. In college she majored in Spanish and graduated summa cum laude with a M.A.T. in teaching a second language. She has taught both in high school and elementary school.