Patio Party Garden
Homeowners, apartment dwellers, and people with accessibility issues may all enjoy the benefits of container gardening for the following reasons:
- planters on a deck reduce the need for bending;
- pots of fresh herbs and edibles outside a kitchen door are convenient when cooking; and
- floral displays make a magical backdrop to your outdoor dinner party.
To make a small patio seem larger, use both vertical and horizontal space. Provide trellises for vining plants, grow low annuals under tree types, and make use of shelving when possible. Hanging baskets and wall planters are also perfect for patios.
Environmental issues such as excessive heat, prevailing winds, and existing structures blocking rainwater from reaching pots should be addressed. Grouping several planters together is often referred to as a ‘guild’ and can make for a spectacular display within your patio design concept. Taller, robust plants shield more delicate varieties from strong winds and heat that may be trapped by an enclosed deck.
Plant tall evergreens or grasses for shade and privacy. Use a light potting mix with some compost added and good drainage to ensure optimal plant health and beauty. Extra watering will be required to keep your patio planters healthy, so find ways to store rainwater for later use.
Be creative, have fun, and don’t be afraid to indulge your personality. Here are a few suggestions:
- brightly coloured flowers and foliage with dramatic textures displayed in neutral coloured containers can be very exciting;
- plants with soft pastels and smooth leaves offer a soothing, peaceful visual; and
- plant vegetables and herbs with shades of green in vibrant containers and mix with colour co-ordinated cushions, furniture, and artwork to create your secret refuge.
Poolside Retreat Garden
An outdoor pool is a wonderful centrepiece to an ambitious garden project. Build your garden around the pool’s perimeter and position planters on the deck. The area between your pool and the surrounding patio will be greatly enhanced with plants and will soften hard lines.
Safety should be your first concern when planning a poolside garden, so consider the following:
- avoid shrubs with sharply edged leaves or thorns;
- keep vines tied back from walkways;
- position planters away from the pool’s edge, ladders, diving boards, and slides; and
- plant only non-flowering varieties in the immediate area, if anyone is allergic to bee or wasp stings.
A poolside garden typically receives sunlight all day long and should contain plants that thrive in full sun. Reflected heat from patio stone and chemically treated water splash can dry out garden soil and planters, so drought-tolerant plant varieties are recommended.
There is a wide range of low-maintenance shrubs with interesting colour and texture to consider. Plants with waxy, thick leaves are tougher and hold moisture. Foliage with silvery, soft leaves and stems covered with light-reflecting tiny hairs called ‘tricomes’ are also good choices for pool gardens.