11 Ways to Turn Your Patio Into a Garden
Many people’s patios are open yards, semi-enclosures, or courts adjoining their homes. These spaces are used mainly for relaxation, recreation, entertainment, and dining.
Typically paved, they are not totally surrounded by walls (like a courtyard) and are sometimes totally detached from the house.
A patio should set a perfect stage to showcase garden and outdoor furniture, lovely flowers, outdoor décor, and potted plants, and so is best designed and oriented with the entire landscape in mind.
Because patios uses are versatile, there are numerous ways to add interest to yours. However, if you live in a smaller-sized home built on a not so large lot with barely much garden area, you can create one that either looks like a garden or is an extension of one.
Ways to Make a Garden Out of Your Patio
Patios are built at ground level or around 15cm to 30cm (6” to 12”) above ground level and because of this, they rarely require safety railings. Flooring can be made of natural stone, pavers, ceramic tiles, red or brown bricks, smooth pebbles, rock or pea gravel.
These flooring materials serve as a base of sorts for a garden décor and will easily blend and flow into surrounding outdoor space.
So, to turn your patio into a garden of sorts, you can tap into any of these (or a number of them) ideas.
- Create a focal point with an elaborate wood trellis with creepers or flowering vines
- Create rectangular planting pockets around the patio’s perimeter or a circular one in its centre.
- Frame the patio’s perimeter with raised beds of bright and colorful annual plants like your favourite roses.
- Accentuate the patio with a shade-producing tree planted in a huge tub or half-barrel.
- Splash a colourful array of potted flowers against a dull boring background. Plants should be arranged in varying heights using decorative or simple display stands.
- For small patios that don't have sufficient floor space to arrange planter boxes, create ceiling beams where you can hang planters of various sizes at varying levels.
- For a larger patio, give it some character with dug-out squares, triangles or circle pockets. These can be arranged in irregular patterns. Plant like the African iris, gazanias or snapdragons can be planted in each pocket and will take root directly into the ground.
- Choose lights that creatively illuminate up your patio especially if you do outdoor entertaining often. Commercial grade draped string lights are great for the outdoors. Add a few varieties of mood lights as well, like lanterns and battery operated candle lights.
- Grow vegetables and herbs in elevated planter boxes, regardless of your space limitations.
- Create a screen of plants against the wind in the winter and excessive sun exposure in the summer. This will create a lush garden look.
- For untidy structural elements, dead ends, or drab corners around the patio, create a cluster of potted plants around such, to hide them.
Don’t forget to add some lemon grass in a couple of decorative pots to repel mosquitoes in the summer.
All plants chosen must be adaptable to your local climate so that your patio will look healthy and lush all year through.
What to Avoid
- Avoid plants that grow uncontrollably. It is good to be selective about the plants you choose because you don’t want a look that will end up being ‘wild’, cluttered, and untidy.
- Avoid over-planting! Your patio will also appear unplanned and may end up resembling a forest of plants. If that's the look you like that's fine, but if you are one for a manicured well thought out garden, you may end up finding the space unappealing.
- Avoid using plant colours and foliage that are not in harmony with each other and the surrounds.
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