Best Way to Plan Your Patio Garden

A number of different elements are used to create interest and contrast in this patio garden. The simple design, based around a small rectangle, emphasizes the symmetry of the overall area, but the shape is softened and given life by the use of plants to cover angles and the bare expanses of hard landscaping. This garden is all about boldness and the careful positioning of plants to impart atmo­sphere to the space.

The plants at the centre and around edges are chosen to contrast with the grey pavers, which are themselves in different shades and sizes to give the illusion of texture to the sur­faces. The walls of the raised beds are built of solid bricks in the same colours as the pavers to tie the garden together.

Patio Garden Best Way to Plan Your Patio Garden

Complemented by a selection of colour­ful and exciting plants, this garden is the ideal place to relax after a hard day’s work, while the arrangement of features and plants so that the entire garden cannot be viewed at once from the house makes it appear larger than it really is, and will entice visitors into the garden to explore every corner. Because it is sheltered, this garden will be in use for much of the year, and because it is well planned and the planting is chosen with care, it will be a delightful private retreat and an extra room to extend the living space.


The central feature of the garden is a raised stone platform, and there is an additional raised bed at the far end. These create dra­matic changes of level without taking up any more surface space than if they were on the ground, and they have the additional advan­tage of bringing the plants up to eye level. The top of the platform is paved with pale slabs, and plants, chosen for their interesting leaf shape and texture, are grown in small pockets of soil. Within the platform itself there are one or two surprises, such as the small wall and the beautiful specimen plants, which can be prominently displayed on the higher level.


Some of the plants in the raised beds are scented, adding a subtle, aromatic quality and reinforcing the relaxing atmosphere. The far bed is full of lush leafy plants, including Rodgersia podophylla, to provide a dense green boundary.

Patio Garden 1 Best Way to Plan Your Patio Garden

The open-weave fencing provides ample space for climbers to grow and provide a green backdrop to show off the central gar­den. Trellis is used on the side fences to max­imize the range of plants that can be grown. Climbing plants, including Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris and different forms of clematis, provide a green surround and colour during the flowering season.

The colours themselves are kept largely pale except for one or two plants, largely because these paler colours make the space appear larger, but also because the generally subdued palette makes the one or two brightly coloured plants even more eyecatch­ing without being overpowering. The subtle green, yellow, grey and blue shades of the foliage also reflect the colours of the pavers, and in a small area such as this the subtle hues and interesting textures create a harmo­nious and calming impression. Character and individuality are introduced by striking specimen plants, such as Rheum ‘Ace of Hearts’ and, near the edge of the central plat­form, Phormium cookianum subsp. hookeri ‘Cream Delighr’. Herbs and small shrubs are grown together in the raised beds to provide interesting contrasts of form and habit, and the herbs release their aromas when brushed against on a summer’s evening.

The rectangular shape of the raised plat­form and beds could emphasize the shape of the plot, but the large, rounded plants and twining climbers soften the whole area and add a gentler character. A large pot holding a specimen acer is used to add greenery to the otherwise bare wall under the window, and trailing plants hide the edges of the raised bed to minimize the impact of the hard lines.

Patio Garden 2 Best Way to Plan Your Patio Garden

A few large, movable containers are used because many small containers make the gar­den more labour intensive. The advantage of containers is that you can grow favourite plants, moving them to get the best light and shelter. Containers can be decorated with your own designs for individuality.

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