As the trend to outdoor living grows, so does the patio garden. Open any magazine, and it will feature a patio garden somewhere. You can do so much with a patio garden that it is only limited by your imagination and sometimes your budget, as any garden can get quite expensive. You can get thrifty and expand your garden by using containers you have around the house and decorating them. Another way to save money is to use cuttings of friends' and family's plants.
If you have limited space to work with on your patio, the best way to give it all the plants you want is to place them in containers. You can grow everything from flowers to dwarf citrus trees and conifers in containers. Arranging your containers in an unused corner of the patio will allow you five or six different plants in individual containers or a couple of larger container gardens. Using small tables to place containers on not only brings colour and fragrance into your patio, but gives you a place to put your drink glass down. Another space-saving idea for a small patio is to build an arbor. You can have climbers and hang plants from it, reserving all floor space for your furniture. Shelves can even be attached for smaller containers.
Many people build raised beds into their patios, using a material that matches the patio, such as brick or stone. These raised beds can be built all the way around the patio and an entire garden planted in them. Using taller plants in the centre and smaller plants on each side, they can be a delight to see from the patio or the yard. For those with a lot of room, container plants can be used outside the beds to further dress the patio.
Vegetable and Herb Gardens
Patios are wonderful places to have vegetable and herb gardens. Either in raised beds or containers; vegetables and herbs make beautiful plants to look at and make excellent additions to your meals. You can use a picnic table bench for containers and barrels to create a corner garden on your patio. Once the vegetables are harvested, plant some fall flowers and foliage in the containers to extended the growing season.
Formal Patio Gardens
You can plan a more formal patio garden for entertaining your guests or an outdoor retreat for yourself. Many formal gardens use much of the yard space around the patio and include sculptures and water features. These patio gardens incorporate raised beds, cascading plants down stairways and tree and shrub planting in the ground around the patio. Many have themes, using many plants in the same family to decorate their garden. Bonsai and bamboo are one of the more popular patio gardens today, but are also time-consuming.
Lush Patio Gardens
The ultimate patio garden is for the gardener with a lot of time or one that can hire a gardener. Using hundreds of ground planted and container plants, close together, can be awesome to look at. However, you must remember that each plant has its own special needs and if not taken care of on a daily basis, this garden can turn into a jungle. The plants must be grouped to their watering and soil needs. Some need to be pruned, while others need buds pinched. Soil can sometimes need to be changed and fertiliser requirements will be different for many. Beautiful as it may be, it requires work. For the gardener with the time however, this may be the most rewarding project they do. It is the retreat of all retreats when done properly. The aroma alone will take you away. Add in some water features and it can't get any better.
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