Perfect for Patios


DIY and how-to

Perfect for Patios

Adding the appropriate plantings to a patio is as important as adding the finishing touches to a well-designed interior. With the right choice of containers and plants, the patio ceases to become a ‘space’ and takes on a unique character of its own.

Container choice

There is huge range of containers from which to choose, and these will influence the ambience of the patio. Geometrically shaped containers in a formal arrangement give a contemporary look, whilst glazed green or aqua pots are distinctly oriental. Terracotta containers suit any Mediterranean theme, whilst ornately decorated fibrecrete pots are timelessly classical. Fortunately, the cottage style remains as popular as ever and permits a variety of containers as well as hanging baskets to be grouped together randomly – so long as they are brimming with colourful plants.

Make sure you choose the right sized container – both for its position and for the plants it will contain. Big containers overflowing with plants are more eye-catching – and require less watering – than small pots.
Grouping containers is more attractive than scattering. Place the larger containers at the back and smaller containers in the front. Position plants in a medium or large container according to their ultimate height, with tall plants towards the centre and smaller ones at the edge.

If space is limited go vertical with pots attached to a wall, or invest in a jardinière. Alternatively, choose a couple of large, upright containers, and position them in the corners of your patio.

Choosing plants

  • The most important factor is whether your container will be in the sun or shade, or in a position where it receives partial sun. If in shade, look for plants that grow in the shade, and vice versa. If you live in a frosty area, choose plants that tolerate frost.
  • Another consideration is how much time and attention you want to give to your plants. Low water usage plants are easier to care for, and yet can still give a lovely effect. Examples include succulents, bougainvillea, felicia, pelargonium, gazania, gaura and ficus.
  • For year-round good looks, select evergreen shrubs for your containers. Colourful seasonal annuals can be planted around the shrub.
  • Choose plants that suit the container. A low container will focus attention on the plants, while a decorative pot can be as much part of the display as the plants it holds. Trailing plants suit a large container and hanging baskets. Use trailing plants to soften edges. Examples are Helichrysum petiolare, lobelia, nasturtium, cascading petunia, and verbena.