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.
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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.
When you look at your space, really look at it. Look below you, the sides, and what’s above. You may have walls made of 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 more 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.
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 growth 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.
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 color. 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.
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!
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!
Leave a comment or question below. I’d love to hear from you!