Whether you are looking for ideas for a small patio, or just small ideas to start with for your backyard space, the suggestions below are sure to give you a place to begin to get you off and running.
Herbs are a great place to start. Mint, rosemary, oregano, parsley, cilantro, chives, and basil are some great choices. I suggest adding a purple variety of basil, as it will add beauty, while being useful.
Many herbs like at least partial sun, to one degree or another. Ideally, your herbs should get about 8 hours of sunlight per day. However, I can tell you that I have had herbs do fairly well on my patio with only indirect sunlight all day long for months at a time, so don’t worry too much if you have a similar light situation. Having said that, some of the herbs that do best with more sun are cilantro, basil, chives, and oregano. If your patio has less sun, however, consider things like lemon balm, chives, spearmint and parsley.
If you live in a dry climate (or if you don’t but are concerned about not remembering to water very often) these may be good choices as they are drought-tolerant: rosemary, tarragon, savory, thyme, sage, mullein, echinacea, lavender, calendula, and dandelion. The last five herbs listed are also beautifully ornamental with attractive flowers.
CHOOSE A NICE VARIETY
As mentioned above, I think starting with herbs is a great idea. If you choose a variety of green herbs and mix in several flowering herbs along with your purple basil, you will find yourself well on your way to a beautiful (and functional) herb garden that will gift you with beauty, culinary flavors, and natural medicine if you so choose.
In addition to all of the above, however, you may want to add some more ornamental plants if your desire is for a colorful and attractive patio garden.
OKAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT FLOWERS
Many flowering plants do quite well in pots or small containers. Crysanthemums are a common choice for patios and come in a wide variety of colors. Roses are another great choice and come in numerous colors, sizes, and varieties. If your patio allows, I suggest adding to the interest and appeal of your patio garden by getting a nice trellis or two and growing a mandevilla or black eyed susan vine.
If you are looking for larger plants that will add a bit of size to your patio garden, my very favorite is the hydrangea bush. Snowball Hydrangeas are stunning with their bright white balls of blossoms, but I love all hydrangeas in all colors. They are very popular in shades of blue and pink as well.
Other flowers that do wonderfully in container gardens include begonias, petunias, geraniums, pansies, and violas. The last two are not only beautiful, but also edible.
A SPLASH OF COLOR
In addition to the above flower suggestions, my favorite splash of color on my own patio is from my strawberry plants. Hanging baskets are perfect for strawberries.
Just remember that strawberries love sunlight. You can also add color (and taste) by growing some cherry tomatoes in pots on your patio. Rainbow colored bell peppers and hot peppers are also quite beautiful and will be a great addition. If you have already had your potted herbs growing as well, you’ll really be in for some fresh new flavors for your kitchen, with the convenience of merely stepping out of your door.
A WORD ON PRESENTATION
One easy way to liven up your outdoor area is to plant small herbs or flowers in vibrantly colored pots. If you really want to make great use of your space, place them on a wire shelf like this.
Some plant racks even have a place for hanging pots or baskets, such as this one, which adds a very nice variety. If you are going for a fancier look, this parisian-style one may do nicely. Regardless of whether they are on a rack, lining your steps, or merely on the ground, colored pots can add a lot of interest to your patio area. They also give you options to add more as you grow your garden area (and your gardening ability), without worrying about matching perfectly. I love the flexibility a little diversity of color can bring. Everything does not have to be perfect. In fact, I have found that doing things as I am able to, adding a little at a time or changing as I get new ideas, makes it more realistic for me to keep up with. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew.
Since I am looking to build garden areas that are both pragmatic and sustainable for my lifestyle, I hope these ideas help you to do the same! Comment below with your own ideas or share with the community what has worked well for you. We all benefit from others sharing their experiences. This is one of the most valuable tools we have in our learning and growing journey!