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Outdoor Container Garden Ideas – Creating a Patio Oasis

Back patio with pergola

When my husband and I moved to our third house, we acquired one and two third acres of land. It was previously part of a farmer’s field so there were no existing trees, shrubs, or flowers. Everything had to be created. It took us close to 10 years to finally complete the look I was dreaming of. After our children moved out, we downsized to a smaller home. Funny thing though, we now have 2 kids living with us again! So much for plans!

Our new yard consists of a very small but manageable 25 by 25 square foot patio. When we first moved in, I was determined to try and recreate a cozy, attractive and welcoming area to both humans and feathered friends alike. I feel like I’ve succeeded and now have a secret garden right outside the door where everyone loves spending time. I achieved this by using some outdoor container garden ideas.

My goal for this post is to guide you through some outdoor container garden ideas which will make you realize that you, too, can create a beautiful patio oasis.

(Some of the links within this post are affiliate links of which I receive a small compensation from sales of certain items.) (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Outdoor Container Garden Ideas

A patio or terrace garden is much easier to create than a garden in the ground, so be thankful you have such a small inviting area to adorn.

For tips on making a plan for adding a patio to your backyard space click here (Backyard Space Ideas)

When you look at your space, really look at it. Look below you, the sides, and what’s above. You may have walls made ofSlatted Fence stone or a stockade fence, you could have pavers, decking, or stone beneath you, and you could have a pergola above. Whatever you have, it willl make an ideal area for distributing pots, hanging baskets, fountains, bird feeders, etc. It is quite easy to place items in strategic areas rather than build a garden in soil.

A smaller terrace or patio is also easier to water. Using a soaking hose on a timer or a self-watering system is simple and practical to use especially when you are away from home for awhile.

Containers Do NOT Have to be Bought From Stores – Use Your Imagination!

When people think of containers, they automatically think of pot displays at a Lowes or Home Depot. These are tried and true places to purchase provincial-styled flowerpots. However, if you’d like to add Magazine Rack transformed into a garden basketmore character to your patio, explore yard sales, farmer’s markets, or antique shops. Anything that is a container made of metal, stone, or any durable material will work as a pot. Remember to drill drainage holes in the bottom if it is solid. I once used a magazine rack that I found at an outdoor sale and filled it with a coco liner. It is still very functional and looks beautiful.

While shopping at a going-out-of-business Pier 1 store, I came across decorative candle holder baskets that are now housing trailing vinca and ivy from a pergola. I purchased them at a really good price too! You have to think outside the box in order to add interest and unusual design to your terrace garden.Baskets hanging from a pergola

The wisteria in the yard was very old and full of dead branches, so to revive it I cut it down to the ground. I now have new growthwisteria vine used as a pot cascading over and through the pergola. I used the twisted trunk as a home for a flower pot made from coco liner wrapped in florist wire that is now attached to my stockade fence with large bicycle hooks.

So anything can be used as pots for plants. You’re only limited by your imagination.

Get unique ideas from Etsy.

Flower Arrangements – Two Important Aspects

Before you plant your flowers, be sure to buy some quality potting soil. This will guarantee prolific blooming throughout the season. Also, add some large stones in the bottom for drainage purposes.

After you have purchased or found your containers, it is now time to think of flower arrangements. Two important things to keep in mind are water requirements and sun/shade requirements.

  • Water – All plants are not created equal. Since your flowers will be in close proximity inside the containers, you have to

    choose flowers that have the same water requirements. It is not wise to plant succulents which require little water with impatiens or snapdragons which require an abundance of water. 

  • Sun – You will learn that some plants thrive better in full sun or part sun and others prosper in shaded areas. Again, you want to group them accordingly. Use your

    natural surroundings to dictate which type of flowers to buy.

All these requirements are listed on the tags of the plants when you purchase them. When you go to your local landscaping shop, they will display sun required plants in the sun and more delicate ones in the shade to make it easier to know which flower requires what type of sunlight.

Color Schemes – Let it All Hang Out

This is where you can have a lot of fun! Many people believe you have to plant certain colors together, namely the ones that compliment each other on the opposite side of the color wheel. Others believe you must plant all cool colors (purples, blues, pinks) together or all warm colors (oranges, yellows, reds) together. I disagree. I like making a combination of the colors or creating a pot with all one Macrame Baskets Used as Potscolor. A variety of these adds a lot of dimension to your garden.

It is totally up to you, though…..whatever floats your boat. However, when you finally select the color you like and purchase those particular plants, there is a common pattern to use which better displays the flowers.

Outdoor Container Garden Ideas
Container showing elements of planting

There are usually three elements to a potted arrangement. Usually you have a large focal point in the middle, perhaps a grass, surrounded by shorter secondary filler plants, like begonias or geraniums, and finally cascading plants called spillers like trailing petunias, ivys, sweet alyssum or creeping snapdragons. By following this technique you will add dimension and interest to your pots.

Arranging Containers – Odd Man In!

Flower pots placed on steps
Flowers placed on steps

When you arrange the pots on your terrace or patio, have an odd number of groupings. One standing alone is fine or three or five together. Remember to keep in mind their sun requirements especially if your area is shaded by a canopy of trees, a building, or an overhanging roof. The movement of the sun is also a consideration when placing plants. Remember to follow the sun and arrange them appropriately.

In addition to placing plants on the ground, you can hang them with hooks, bought from your local hardware store, on the stockade fence or overhead from a pergola or from branches of trees. Placing them on the side of steps is also an option.

That’s All Folks

I hope I’ve answered some of your questions regarding outdoor container garden ideas. Once you’ve started with these basics, it’s easy to add outdoor tables with a flower pot as a centerpiece or a water feature on the side. Have fun and enjoy gardening!Zen Garden Fountain

Leave a comment or question below. I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Gardening!


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Nina Melillo

 Welcome to my gardening blog. I began gardening years ago and with no practical experience and learned through observation. You can more quickly become a garden lover and create warm and welcoming oases by first reading my basic information category and then exploring the numerous other posts on my site. I hope you will find them inspiring and come to love gardening as much as I do.

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16 thoughts on “Outdoor Container Garden Ideas – Creating a Patio Oasis”

  1. Great tips and beautiful pictures that make it easy to grasp your suggestions. As a neighbor of Nina’s for 25 years, we were able to enjoy her beautiful gardens and ideas come to life. Highly recommended!

    1. Thanks so much Denise! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and learned something. Also, thanks for the compliment on my gardens from long ago!

  2. robert melillo

    Wow! This was really informative and comprehensive. Thanks for all the great info on patio/terrace gardening. Can’t wait to get started creating my own oasis.

    1. Thanks Robert. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thought it was informative. Write if you need help on your own garden!

  3. Elaine Patykula

    Great ideas for outdoor containers for plants. Your garden looks amazing! Looking forward to getting creative at my home.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the suggestions. I feel the more exotic the pot, the more character your garden has. Like I said in the post, anything can be a container for flowers as long as it’s sturdy. Spring is a good time to explore outdoor home sales. I’m sure you’d find a lot of ideas there. Thanks for the comment! If you’d like me to answer any questions, please ask.

  4. Interesting and informative! I like incorporating herbs to my flower pots! Fragrant and useful in my cooking. Keep it coming. You’re inspiring me to make spring planting plans!

    1. Thanks Ellie. That’s a great idea! Yes, incorporating herbs into flower pots makes gardening very versatile. I’m glad I’m inspiring you to garden!

  5. What a great resource Nina, thank you for sharing! I have an elevated planter (1.5’x4′) on my patio that I can’t wait to get started on again this Spring. Sun and water requirements were definitely not taken into consideration last year with my selection of plants, oops! Thank you for that reminder 🙂 Any other helpful hints for arranging annuals in this rectangular space (varying height, color, placement)?

    1. Hi Helen. I’m glad you found my website a good resource. Yes, when arranging annuals in a rectangular place first begin by purchasing an odd number of plants in each variety. Do not place them in a row, this leads to a boring display. Place them together in a triangular shape. Also, beware of the height of the plants. Taller plants are best on the side and/or back, medium sized in the middle, and shorter in the front. Also when buying annuals, look at the leaves and texture. It looks prettier and adds more interest if you vary the leaf and flower colors. Dusty miller and lambs ear add a nice silvery/neutral color interspersed with other brighter shades. White angelonia is a tall spiky flower that looks well in groupings along with white verbena. The white color adds an airy feel to the garden. White alyssum in the front will add a sweet aroma to your garden. Don’t forget to allow for growth and space your plants appropriately. I hope I have helped in some way. Let me know how it turns out!

  6. I absolutely love your patio oasis. The multiple levels of pots and containers really draw attention to the patio landscape. Your combinations of colorful flowers and trailing foliage are giving me inspiration for spring planting. I’m looking forward to more posts and pictures.

    1. Thanks so much for the compliment! I’m glad you liked the post and descriptions of where to place containers. It’s best to think outside the box when decorating a patio. It adds a lot more dimension when you use unexpected places as a show piece for your flowers.

  7. Your patio looks awesome! You truly have a green thumb. I will try on a much smaller scale as I am gardening challenged. Great info in the article, thanks.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I know you say you’re gardening challenged but I believe everyone can have a green thumb. Follow some of my suggestions and I think you’ll surprise yourself. The Gardening Ideas for Beginners – I think I can article is good for those believing they cannot garden and Starting a Garden For Beginners – It’s Not That Difficult is also good. You can find them on the home page of my website.
      Let me know how you make out. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or comment on the topics. I’d love to hear from you.

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