How to Select Patio Plants


Outdoor patios are a wonderful space to use for outdoor living and dining with friends and family. Adding plants and flowers around the patio will bring in needed color and texture while providing privacy. Hang baskets filled with your favorite flowers like petunia's and verbena. Nestle containers filled with herbs and creeping vines to bring in a lush and green addition to the patio space. Observe the space to ensure the plants and flowers receive adequate sunlight and shade, depending upon their preference.

Step 1

Plant fuller shrubs like barberry or forsythia bushes to create a private patio space. If your goal is to create a semi-private patio, use shorter shrubs like hydrangea and boxwood to help shade the area, but still let in light.

Step 2

Use shade-loving plants for patios that don't receive a lot of sun during the day. Hostas and hellebores crave the shade and will thrive around the patio space. Plant ferns around the patio and in containers for a lush and green space. Ferns are available in a variety of textures and sizes, perfect for creating an interesting design to the shady space.

Step 3

Create an unusual patio border using ornamental grasses. With their arching foliage and rich fall colors, these grasses will look stunning around the patio. Use them as an accent plant to stand alone or bunched together with other grasses. Blue fescue, a stunning blue-green ornamental grass, looks especially beautiful when planted with several other species.

Step 4

Plant drought-resistant plants that are native to the area to reduce the amount of water needed. Patios that receive more than four hours of direct sunlight per day benefit from native plants. Research to determine which plants are native to your area. Cosmos, phlox and petunia are all drought-resistant flowers and add bursts of color around the patio.

Things You'll Need

  • Shrubs
  • Containers
  • Ornamental grass


  • North Carolina State University: Shrubs
  • Univeristy of Vermont Extension: Drought Resistant Plants
Keywords: selecting patio plants, shrubs, ornamental grass

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.