22 Mar Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space With a Patio Garden
Spring is officially here, which means stores are stocked with seeds, flowers, fruit and vegetable plants, and everything else you need to build the perfect balcony or patio garden.
Planning Your Patio Garden
You’ll save yourself time, money, and frustration if you design your patio garden before you buy anything. Look for inspiration online, in magazines, or around your neighborhood. Take advantage of every available surface, including your walls. Wall planters, ladder shelves, hanging baskets, and rail planters will help maximize the number of plants you can grow in your small space.
Decide whether you’d like to grow flowers, food, or a combination of both. Then, study where the sunlight hits your patio during different times of the day. The amount of available sunlight will dictate which plants will thrive in your garden.
Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash are just a few of the vegetables that grow well in full, direct sun. Dwarf varieties are easy to contain and put off almost as much produce as their full-size counterparts. Berries are also easy to grow in containers. Let raspberries and blackberries grow up a trellis behind hanging baskets of cascading strawberries. Cut them back in the fall and they’ll return stronger every year. Plant herbs and marigolds with your fruits and vegetables to help keep bugs at bay. If you’d rather turn your patio into a floral paradise, lilies, hibiscus, roses, zinnias, and petunias flourish in full sun.
A lack of sunlight doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful, productive balcony or patio garden. Broccoli, peas, cauliflower, radishes, beets, and leafy greens all grow well in the shade. Or, fill your containers with impatiens, begonias, fuchsia, violas, and forget-me-nots for cheerful color. Add a few varieties of ferns or coleus as a beautiful foliage backdrop.
Consider your needs and habits before finalizing your garden plan. Grow what you know you’ll use. If you love aromatherapy, grow herbs and flowers like lavender, gardenia, rosemary, sage, and eucalyptus. Love herbal tea? Try growing your own mint, chamomile, and lemongrass.
If growing your own food is your main goal, pack as many fruit and vegetable plants into your space as you can. What you don’t eat fresh can be canned to keep your grocery bill low through the winter. If you don’t have enough space or sunlight for all of your favorites, coordinate with friends and neighbors. Offer to grow extra shade veggies for them in exchange for their extra sun produce.
The containers you choose will set the style of your patio garden. Embellish it with a few fun accessories. A small garden statue will add character and whimsy without taking up too much valuable space. Or, add a more personal touch with DIY stepping stones or plant markers. String lights around the ceiling or railings so you can enjoy your garden at night.
Regardless of what you decide to grow, keep in mind that pollinators are your friends. A small bird bath filled with pebbles and shallow water will invite helpful bees and butterflies to share your space.
Plants aren’t just for outside! Click here for the perfect plants to add to your indoor space.