Private Patio Garden Ideas
Your patio can easily become the most lived-in area outside your house, a social hub and family resource. A patio can also serve as a private outdoor space, especially in apartment or condo living. To privatize it, some form of screening may be necessary. Screens can be made from living or inanimate materials.
A living screen requires maintenance. It will have to be pruned to keep it at the desired height and to control its lateral growth. The plants need to be watered. You will have green matter to dispose of. In choosing suitable plants you will want to take into account any prevailing winds and your hardiness zone. In choosing exactly where to plant you will need to take note of what or who you are aiming to be screened from, and limiting factors like underground services, existing drives and the like.
Plants that provide quick-growing screens that don’t need support structures include bamboo, photinia species, American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) and red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea). Depending on the variety selected the foliage provides a dense to medium screen. The plants mentioned here are generally not suitable for container planting, although you may have success with some bamboo species, such as fountain bamboo (Fargesia nitida), in containers.
Building a screen can be as complicated or as straightforward as you choose. Materials include brick, block, plank or steel mesh. You can do it yourself, have a landscaper build it, or buy a readymade commercial product. If you choose to build a substantial, permanent, wall you can take the opportunity to incorporate storage or display space on the side facing the patio. That adds the option of enjoying sculpture, pottery or other art and craft pieces as you sip a cooling drink or listen to your favorite music on your patio. You will need to check local regulations before you start to build anything. For apartment patios you may find that a shade cloth screen provides sufficient privacy. If you are artistic you can paint a mural on the cloth!
Possibly the quickest way to provide a screen is to combine a structure such as a trellis with living material such as clematis, honeysuckle or passion fruit. Be aware that Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is an invasive weed in the United States. You can make these screens mobile, too, by planting into a container and training the plant over a ‘ladder’ made from trellis, bamboo or plastic stakes. There are combination trellis and planter boxes available that won’t rot or warp, and that you can erect without needing any tools. Containers must be of a suitable size for the plant you are growing – clematis need at least eighteen inches of soil for their roots, and honeysuckle also likes moist, cool roots (although tolerating hotter and drier conditions).
Article by Steve Boulden. As a professional landscaping contractor and designer, Steve also offers free consulting services to do it yourself landscapers and home owners. For more information about landscaping and garden [http://www.the-landscape-design-site.com], visit www.the-landscape-design-site.com [http://www.the-landscape-design-site.com]
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