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I don’t like big expanses of yard to deal with. When I gaze out over a big yard, I can’t seem to break the area down properly in my mind so as to define a cohesive plan. I do much better with smaller spaces like my apartment patio.
So let’s look at what I do on mine. The below photo was last year’s patio arrangement. The photos in this post were from April and May 2020, as obviously this year’s garden isn’t much yet.
Clean & Get The Surface Ready:
First, clean it up. I have massive amounts of leaves on my patio. They have blown in from all over (due to Oklahoma’s winds).
And now I’m either going to have to clean them up or live with them blowing everywhere.
My back is not in good shape right now. Just thinking about going out there and beginning this intensive project makes me weary.
Create the illusion of a larger garden with an outdoor mirror
Determine Your Color Theme:
I typically choose purple, white and yellow flowers for my color theme. This year I’m adding red because I fell in love with a red geranium at the nursery.
Last year I chose blue for a fountain and bird bath and some of my bigger pots. To me blue looks nice with purple and yellow and red.
When you look out across a garden space, dark blue/purple flowers seem to recede. In garden design, you can use this quality to make spaces seem more expansive.
Bring In Furniture For Seating:
Once the surface is somewhat clean or clean enough, it’s time for the placement of furniture.
Keep in mind that you might end up moving things around once you lay out your container garden pots and other elements.
What we have planned in our mind and what actually works or fits sometime differs.
Stack garden pots in multiple heights to add dimensi
If you’re going to have a beautiful garden space, you’re going to want to sit outside and gaze at your efforts. And watch the birds and squirrels coming to visit.
Stack garden pots in multiple heights to add dimension
So I’d say have at least two chairs or one settee. I have both because my patio is fairly large.
Bring In The Pots/Containers:
Then bring in the pots. Or ones that aren’t already in place. Plan what’s going to be planted in each one and design your patio garden accordingly.
Keep in mind that plans will change or have to be altered. As you add plants you’ll often find that you actually need more or less. We gardeners often misjudge the space we have.
Utilize Vertical Space
I like to arrange my pots in groups of 3-4, depending on how large they are for the space.
My galvanized garden is not getting moved because the galvanized tubs are filled with dirt and plants and are terribly heavy. They are situated in the middle of my garden space.
Obviously I can’t move the blue raised garden that I added about five years ago. It’s over by the fence bordering the alley.
Bring In Annuals For Instant Color:
I buy a variety of annuals in small pots and I also plant seeds (because I’ve already added perennials over the years and they’ll be coming up). I like annuals for instant color.
But I’ll plant seeds because they’re cheaper, even if I have to wait for the plants to grow.
I always tend to get zinnia seeds because once they get going they’ll give you color into autumn. They’re also great for cutting flowers to bring indoors.
Add Herbs (Many Deter Flying Insects):
Also I’m very fond of herbs and add various favorites of mine.
I’m especially fond of lemon verbena because of its wonderful fragrance. I choose pineapple sage because Charlie likes to nibble on it when his tummy is upset.
I’m big on chives because I add it to my food for that extra bite of flavor. Also rosemary and oregano. Well, let’s just say I love many herbs!
Sometimes I plant vegetables as well. Last year I had tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
l already have mints and lemon balm coming up. As well as sedum and vines.
Planting Trees In Containers:
I have two containers with trees in them. One is a Ginkgo Biloba butterfly tree. And the other is a Japanese Maple.
I have them both placed on plant caddies so they’re easier to move.
In fact I urge you to order plant caddies to hold any heavy plants. If possible place the pots on rolling caddies before you even add your soil and plants.
Use Plant Caddies For Heavy Plants:
I didn’t utilize plant caddies until last year and my body has paid the price for moving heavy pots around.
Once they arrived I called my grandson, who is now 17, to lift the heavy ones onto the plant caddies for me.
It’s always so nice to have a teenage grandson around!
Planting Roses In Containers:
In case you’re not familiar with my patio garden, I have a yellow rose in the corner by the gate. I like to have at least one rose planted in my garden space.
I advise getting your rose or roses at the plant nursery where someone will be knowledgeable about the best roses for containers.
My rose doesn’t look so good after our cold winter, so I’ve got my fingers crossed on whether my much beloved rose will make it.
It’s planted in the biggest pot in my garden.
Attract Wildlife & Pollinators
I like salvias and zinnias and petunias and any flowering plant that will bring in bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.
You want to encourage these frequent flyers to your space.
Yarrow and salvia are just but two great pollinators.
Add Garden Art:
I also have garden art that I’ve collected over the years. You can see garden art placed here and there in my garden space.
Water Sound & Movement
I have three pairs of chimes. And a blue water fountain and bird bath. You’ll attract birds to your garden with running water.
Once you get all that situated, your garden is virtually complete.
Well, sort of. I don’t think a gardener’s urge to buy more plants is ever complete!
So how do you go about designing your garden space?