Patio Gardening 101: A Beginner’s Guide To Patio Gardens and Horticulture Research
Do you want a porch or patio that will immediately catch the attention of anyone in your neighborhood? The vivid colors of plants and flowers are going to be very hard to miss. The thing is, having limited space is no longer a hindrance to anyone who wish to have a beautiful garden.
Plants and flowers in containers can now grace your patio or porch for a beautiful, uplifting look!
What’s more, you can even plant your own vegetables in your makeshift garden. Hey, who’s to say bright red tomatoes can’t make your place look vibrant?
Here are a few tips and ideas on how to grace your porch or patio with living colors.
Porch garden ideas
Front Porch Garden Ideas
The porch must always have a warm, welcoming look. The right combination of beautiful containers and healthy plants can make the porch appear more inviting.
Here are some of the easy- to- follow front porch gardening ideas:
Line up the sides of the porch steps with potted plants
Liven up those steps with an assortment of colors that will make the entrance look warm and cheerful. Uniform potted plants will look best for a traditional walkway but if you’re feeling whimsical, try different colors!
Flank the door with larger plants for maximum effect!
Nothing is more welcoming than an entryway flanked by a potted plant or two. Consider something larger than the plants lining your walk.
It could be the refreshing aura a plant gives off, or the tantalizing warmth it displays that creates a welcoming aura to your home. Whatever the case, it does give your door a whole new look.
Create your centerpiece
The thing about an empty pot is that it entices you to place something beautiful in it. Unleash your artistic side! Picture what kind of plant will fit your coffee table the most, and put it right in the middle of it. Try placing plants of the same species in similar-looking pots, and you will be surprised at how eye-catching these can be.
Fill that bare wall
Don’t you think that the left-side wall is too bare or in need of decoration? That would not be a problem! All you have to do is mount potted plants on it.
You can always experiment with how you want your plants to synchronize with each other. Maybe all the first and third rows will have this type of plant, or maybe each column will have different kinds of flowers. Never be afraid to find that style that suits you.
All these done together can completely decorate your front porch garden. Your garden porch does not necessarily have to have lots and lots of plants scattered here and there.
A number of them placed in an organized fashion can already liven up your porch in ways you might not have thought possible. These simple ideas can even be used for an apartment porch garden!
But how about patio gardens?
Patio gardening for beginners
There will always be a first time for everything, and with this comes the inevitability of committing mistakes. However, one can minimize the errors by asking the basic questions, such as: what are the things that I need to have in order for me to be able to grow plants effectively?
Here are some of the things a plant needs in order to grow healthy and lush:
All plants require a source of sunlight for healthy growth. It is important to remember that some plants require more sunlight than others. So it is very important to know how much light your desired plant needs. Too low or too high levels of sunlight can cause your plant to wilt. You can ask a local gardener or gardening guild for advice on how to start.
The soil is the main source of nutrients for the plant. No matter how much light and water there is, poor soil will result in poor plant growth, if not nothing at all. Loam soil is the most ideal soil to use, because it contains a balance of the nutrients that a plant needs such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
If there is no loam soil available, synthetic soil will do just fine. Take note that the soil will eventually degrade because the plants constantly absorb nutrients from it. Therefore, if we want our plants vibrant and crisp we must continuously care for the soil.
The next great quest would then be to get the best soil for your plants. How do you do this?
How to do you get good soil?
Here are some of the ways on how to keep the soil healthy:
1. Add organic matter to the soil.
Organic matter can range from manure, urine, and composts. A very large amount of organic matter is not required; a sufficient amount relative to the size of the pot and the amount of the soil will suffice.
This will ensure that the soil will regularly be replenished with the nutrients it needs to maintain the microbes and other living organisms inside it. Since your plant is trying to survive outside of a natural ecosystem, you need to help the soil along.
2. Use mulch to cover the soil.
One might think of how repulsive the patio or porch will be, if every potted plant has droppings all over it. Digging the organic matter deep into the soil for zero visibility can be a solution to that particular dilemma. You can also apply the organic matter on days when no guests are expected to minimize the impact.
However, excessive tillage can result in soil components being crushed, leading to the destruction of the soil structure and causing the loss of the pore space that allows plants to breathe.
A much more efficient alternative is to cover the soil with mulch. Mulch is made up of organic materials such as leaves, barks, grasses that are spread over the soil. This is indeed a good way to cover up all those droppings.
There is more to this than that though, because mulch will not only cover up the droppings, but it will also prevent the manure from drying up before the soil can absorb the organic nutrients. Moreover, mulch insulates the soil to protect it from harsh weather.
Depending on the climate, a plant needs to be watered at least once per day. In order to prevent an excessive amount of water to overfill the container where the plant is rooted, it is advisable to have good drainage at its bottom.
Remember that one disadvantage of using pots/containers for plants is: the survival of the plants depend solely on you.
PROTIP: If there are no holes present, drill little holes on the bottom of the container. This allows air and other nutrients to be absorbed. Since you’re raising a plant without the help of a natural ecosystem, you have to be the one to provide everything instead of nature.
Now that you have good soil, you have to find the right plants for your porch or patio.
Plan the Plants
When you’re developing a garden, it’s important that you know which plants can withstand various elements and are appropriate for your home. Gardening is supposed to be relaxing and fun, not difficult and frustrating because you’ve used the wrong plants for your setup.
Climate is a serious factor to consider when choosing which plants go right into our lists, because some plants will not survive in a specific climate.
PROTIP: Take advice from your local gardening community or even from the shop. They can tell you which plants are best for beginners.
The main limitation of pot gardening, is the fact that we cannot freely lump many varieties of plants together unless we have lots and lots of pots or containers. But fear not, because there is a solution to this particular problem: We shall plant large plants.
You see, small ones will require quite a lot of clumping together with other plants if we are to add that extra touch to our patio or porch. But the large or bushy ones, will definitely give that extra flourish our place needs even if there are only a few of them placed here and there.
However, small plants can be utilized as a centerpiece in the outdoor coffee table, or it can complement larger plants to add a look of diversity. Whatever the case is, large plants are an absolute must.
Orientation of the Sun
Your porch or patio will have adequate up to little sunlight exposure, if not entirely shaded. Considering that some plants require extensive amounts of sunlight while others do not, it is advisable to choose plants that will thrive despite the limited light they receive.
We wouldn’t want to have wilting plants making our place appear gloomy!
What if you want a garden in front of your patio? For those of you living in the suburbs, take advantage of your lawn or larger space to create a beautiful garden
Garden Patio Ideas
Compared to the front porch, which must always focus on how the house must look welcoming, the patio provides more freedom for decor because it is usually an outdoor area located anywhere around the property. We can place as much plants as we want in whatever way we want it.
We may want to make a patio vegetable garden, or a miniature version of a forest getaway. Whatever the case, here are some patio gardening ideas:
Patio Container Garden Ideas
Patio container gardening is extremely economical and practical. You can use basically anything as containers, and you can relocate them anytime and anywhere! What’s more, you will not be as concerned with plant eaters devouring your plants because you can regulate everything. You control the location, the soil, and the water: practically the whole thing.
Of course, this means that the plants are entirely dependent on you for their needs. More importantly, due to the mobility of the containers you can garden in any space you desire.
Unleash your creativity!
Pots are not the only options for patio garden containers. As long as it is something that has good drainage (you can always drill holes nonetheless), and it has the right size for your plant, why not? Jars, old shoes, wine boxes, used pans, even pails and baskets!
All these can be used as patio gardening containers. Not only will this be a relief from having to invest in pots, but it will add a splash of color and a sense of originality to your garden.
Do you prefer a subdued, quiet look? Go for containers that have light and washed out colors. Do you like a vibrant and lively feel? Use containers that have bright and vivid colors! Whatever suits your personality, there are countless types and colors of containers that will surely work for your very own patio container garden.
Garden with style
Since containers are versatile, they can adhere to any garden patio designs; you can always take advantage of this to project a specific style you are fond of.
Have you always been fascinated with the Victorian era?
Use containers that have intricate embellishments or patterns. You can even use that old miniature fountain you use indoors, or that unused birdbath you have not touched in ages. Maybe you want to go for a more modern look? Envision bright red flowers on vibrant white containers.
Small Patio Garden Ideas
Play with Vertical Spaces!
A single wall can hold many plants attached in a vertical fashion! You can always build vertical shelves that can maximize the limited space available.
Raise that plant!
Utilizing the tops of tables, or making use of hanging baskets are innovative ways to conserve space. Don’t be limited to the floor or ground
Use Crawling vines!
As long as you don’t mind trimming the vines a little now and then, they are among the most flexible of plants because they crawl anywhere the sun touches. Gutters on your patio will come in handy for this one.
Patio Vegetable Garden Ideas
Grab containers of the largest size your patio area will allow; roots of most vegetables do not go far down, so deep containers are not necessary. Wide containers are best for growing vegetables because they will allow for a good size and ample harvest. Patio vegetable garden containers that are at least 10 inches wide will do.
Raised Garden Beds
A raised garden bed, otherwise known as a garden box, refers to elevated soil bordered by wooden sides wherein the bottom is open to the ground. This type of setting is extremely beneficial because of a number of reasons:
- It is very spacious; a lot of vegetables can fit in a single garden bed. Moreover, their roots can go further down in order to obtain more nutrients.
- Due to containment, the soil will be free from weeds
- The borders of the beds can act as a barrier against snails and slugs; it will prevent the precious garden soil from being washed away during heavy downpours.
- It can accommodate crawling vines.
- The raised bottom will provide easier access for gardeners
Therefore, you don’t have to bend so low when gardening. You can even sit on a chair while doing some weeding, or harvesting.
What more could we ask for?
Choose vegetables that grow well in containers.
Some vegetables require an extensive space in order to grow, while others will do just fine in containers, such as:
- Culinary herbs
Consider these plants when deciding which vegetables you want to grow. You may want to focus on your favorites so you have fresh picks when they’re ripe!
These patio and garden ideas will not only beautify your home, but also provide you with ways on how to plant your own food!
Apartment Patio Garden Ideas
Most apartments forbid drilling holes on the walls, or altering any existing structure. Therefore, it will be quite difficult to make use of hanging pots, or attaching vertical shelves along the wall.
But never be discouraged, because there are other ways on how you can have a beautiful apartment patio garden.
Use old bookshelves or shoe racks
Hey, we may not be able to attach vertical shelves onto the walls, but we can use old bookshelves or shoe racks to make use of the “vertical space” principle in order to conserve space!
Utilize the railings
Attach container plants over or hanging from, the railings!
This is perfect for small plants. Consider the herbs that can be used in the kitchen--in a handy plant pocket. A pocket shaped like a jar or a pot is a very good alternative because they are lighter and smaller.
Therefore, you can just hang them from anything with just a simple string.
Back Porch Garden
Unlike front porch gardens, which are continuously exposed to roads or walkways, the back porch can be more suitable for a porch vegetable garden. Therefore, patios are not the only places where you can plant your veggies--even back porches will do!
You may want to keep your more utilitarian plants out here such as your herbs and vegetables. Consider creating a small greenhouse to keep out larger pests and tree animals from feasting on your home-grown produce.
PROTIP: Use your fresh herbs at the end of your cooking while dried herbs are for the start of the process!
There you have it! With all these ideas in mind, the green thumb spirit within you can now soar high. Just remember to care for your plant, and everything will fall into the right pots.