Planning Your Patio Garden
A patio can be a wonderful place to relax during the warm days of spring, summer and autumn; or all year if you live in warmer climes. At times when the lawn may be too wet or even muddy, the solid floor of a patio means you can sit outside even after heavy rain and make the most of the fresh air, and visual pleasure of your garden. You can even turn your patio into a patio garden to make it more interesting.
You can turn the plainest of patios into a patio garden with the good use of containers or outdoor planters. If you are starting from nothing, and designing and building (or having designed and built) a completely new patio, then it is worth giving the garden aspect of the patio some forethought.
The reason for the pre-planning is that you have an opportunity to create something very special with little extra expense beyond the foundation work and the patio floor. Here are just a few thoughts to build in at the design stage, so your patio garden can be more than just a flat area of paving slabs.
Colour Scheme for the Patio
When planning a new patio it is best to consider the colour scheme beyond just the colour of the paving slabs. If you want a patio garden, then you will need containers to grow plants in. Try to be sure that you can obtain containers or planters which blend well with the colour of the slabs. For example, light brown paving slabs above may look very nice, but are not so easy to blend in naturally with surroundings, or find complementary planters for.
Natural grey stone, on the other hand, is much easier to find suitable planters for, and can have a much more natural appearance in the garden.
That is not to say paving slabs other than grey cannot be used, but just bear in mind the rest of the decor you will need to fit in to make your patio garden attractive.
As with many aspects of garden design, height is important when planning a patio garden. This can be achieved in a number of ways, which can all be used at the same time. Here are some examples:
1. Consider having a wall around the patio, on which you can put a few containers. On a patio or terrace, columns and balusters can be very attractive, and add a distinctive style.
2. Consider having a covered or partly covered patio. That gives you the opportunity to not only provide shade and cover, but allow for trellis on one side. That way you can grow climbing plants on the patio which add that all important height to the patio garden.
3. Choose some high containers that will immediately contrast with your smaller containers.
4. Choose some tall growing plants and container suitable shrubs, to contrast with the low growing and trailing plants.
Consider Your View and Adjacent Garden
It is best not to design the patio in isolation, but consider it in conjunction with the view you would most like to see. This means that the positioning is especially important, as are the garden design considerations in the surrounding garden.
For example, if you want sweet smelling plants to fill your senses on a warm evening, you can plant them next to the patio. Or, if you want a private area in which to sit, some taller shrubs outside the patio in that area may provide you with just that.
By using a combination of the above features, you can develop a patio garden that will be a pleasing and impressive feature of your garden overall, and also be a great place to relax on those balmy sunny days. Try to visualize it in full before starting work on construction, and your garden patio could end up as your dream garden patio.
This article was written by Roy Thomsitt, editor of Exalted Media [http://www.xltmedia.com].
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