Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to Start a Patio Garden

It's summertime!! It is the perfect time to spruce up those areas in your home that look a little drab. One area that seems to be neglected often is the patio. There isn't much use for it other than some cute chairs! This blog is here to give you a fun option to bring your patio alive and offer you some fresh, fun flowers, plants or herbs to your everyday life!

If you have a patio, no matter how small, you have the space for a beautiful garden. Plants and flowers make a patio more beautiful and inviting, and help to create a comfortable place to relax in your leisure time or to entertain guests. If you like to grow edible plants, a patio is a convenient place to keep favorite crops on hand, such as fresh herbs or tomatoes. Gardening in a small space can be a challenge, but with certain considerations, a patio is the perfect spot for a thriving garden.

1. Decide on the purpose of the garden. Patio gardens may be strictly ornamental, or you may prefer to grow herbs, vegetables or even dwarf fruit trees on your patio. Have your intentions clear in your mind before investing in any materials and supplies.

  • 2. Measure your patio to determine how much space you have available. Make a scale diagram on graph paper, marking lines to indicate square footage available. Consider how much space you will need for other items, such as outdoor furnishings or a grill. Measure those items and fill them in on your graph where you intend to put them. 

    3. Go out to your patio for a few days at different times to evaluate how much light your patio gets. Mark your graph indicating any areas that might get full sun, partial shade, or full shade. This will help you choose the appropriate plants and arrange them where they would grow best.
  • 4. Use your graph to determine how much space is available for containers, and how they will be placed. For example, if you have a corner with approximately four square feet of space, you might choose one large four foot square wooden planter, or several smaller pots.
  • 5. Purchase an assortment of containers for your patio. If you're growing edible crops, determine the size of the containers by what would suit each plant's needs. If cost is a concern you can purchase inexpensive plastic pots. If you are more interested in visual aesthetics, choose decorative containers.
  • 6. Decide on the placement of your pots. For visual appeal, create a balanced design. Stagger the height of planters by placing some on the floor, and some on plant stands or on top of overturned pots. Utilize space above with hanging planters or wall pots. Place higher planters and pots on stands in the back, with lower or smaller planters towards the front.
  • 7. Choose your seeds or starter plants based on the space and light that is available on your patio. Don't fight nature by trying to grow a sun-loving plant like basil hidden in the shadows. Look on seed packets or plant markers for the grower's recommendations so you can select plants that will get the light they need on your patio.
  • 8. Use a light-weight growing medium for your containers. This will give them better drainage and make the containers light enough to move easily if necessary. Don't use garden or top soil for containers. An all-purpose potting soil is a good choice, though mixing potting soil with compost, peat moss or perlite is even better. Look into what types of growing medium your plants will do best in if you plan to mix your own medium.
  • 9. Place gravel, pot shards or packing peanuts into planters before adding medium and plants. This will improve drainage and soil aeration. Mulch plants in containers to help retain moisture, and to discourage certain pests.

    After all this is set up, enjoy watching your garden grow! Whether you plant flowers to brighten the space or an herb garden to spice up your meals, patio gardens cost little to start and they go a long way on visual appeal. Take a dead or empty space in your home and bring it to life!

    By: Mackenzie Wright
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