The Patio as Your Centerpiece
This renovated main entrance was terraced with a brick wall and given a flagstone patio hedged with boxwoods. Informal plantings border the boxwoods and make this outdoor space an ideal space for entertaining and dining in pleasant weather. http://www.fernhilllandscapes.com
Image courtesy of Doug Myers, Fernhill Landscapes
Whether you’re upgrading your current patio or designing a new one, don’t forget to include landscaping as part of your outdoor design plans. Landscaping a patio can be as simple or as complex as you desire. Here are a few ideas to get you started with your plans.
First things first: your patio is an outdoor room. It’s up to you to decide how to furnish it and dress it up. When drawing up a landscape plan for your patio, you should take a few things into consideration: how big is the space you’re landscaping? Is it a 10’ x 10’ square patio or one that borders the entire backside of your home? After determining the size, you can create a list of plants, furniture or hardscape items such as archways or pergolas that fit within your budget.
If your patio is concrete and your home is a traditional architectural style, you might think about softening the edges of patio with a row of small ornamental grasses or low flowers such as verbena or wax begonias. These types of plants provide a visual barrier – and you won’t trip over them when you step into the yard.
Designing a landscape plan for your patio gives you the chance to rethink typical potted plants. Round clay containers are fine for planting herbs and flowers on your patio, but don’t be afraid to investigate different shapes and sizes of planters. Long, rectangular window boxes can also be used on the ground. 100-gallon containers can hold giant succulents or fruit trees, which can add fragrance and a spot of shade to your patio area. Be mindful of how much privacy you desire from your patio. Do you want to wall it from the rest of your property or yard with tall shrubs or keep it open and inviting?
If your patio is made with brick pavers or stone embedded into soil, keep in mind that you have the ability to alter the design of the patio itself. Removing a few stones or bricks to make way for a knockout rose bush is a colorful and unexpected trick. Or perhaps you have room to plant a Japanese maple tree after removing several pavers.
If you have an existing structure such as a screened porch, pergola or gazebo, hanging plants from the structure can come in handy. Instead of the containers that philodendrons or ferns are sold in – which can often be drab green plastic – get creative: paint the tubs to match the siding of your home or use a funky, colorful design for an eclectic look.
Whenever you think about your patio, think about your favorite thing to do in that space. Read? Eat? Nap on a hammock? How do you feel when you’re on the patio? Let that feeling be your landscaping guide.