Need a patio refresh without the long term construction or investment of a remodel? Enter the container garden. An island unto itself, this self contained botanical canvass is only limited by the size of your container and the scope of your imagination. Curated and composed in the right combinations, they’re the ultimate DIY fix for a patio that needs a quick summer pick me up. Here are six of our favorite container garden ideas to add instant pop to your patio.
There’s a reason succulents are all the rage in western gardens. They’re hardy, drought tolerant, and thrive in potting arrangements. They’re also a great way to add some structure and geometry to your outdoor space. With a wide variety of colors, petal shapes, and growth habits, succulents might be one of the most versatile garden palettes you can work with. Embrace you inner architect to build a foundation of contrasting profiles and silhouettes for a chic and modern patio centerpiece.
Make a Foliage Statement
Succulents aren’t the only stars of container gardening. There’s a whole jungle of hardy tropical plants that are right at home in our coastal climate. Cannas, caladiums, elephant ears, even dwarf bananas like the flashy “Siam Ruby” or “Little Prince” can create a lush summer foliage statement on your patio with a little bit of sun and a moderate watering schedule. Best of all, by growing these exotic beauties in containers, you’ll be squeezing the most out of your watering routine and can control drainage with planter saucers.
Repurpose and Reinvent
So you’ve selected a bouquet of stunning plants for your planter—no need to let your creativity end there! Your choice of “pot” can make as big of a splash as your botanical selection. Container gardens are the perfect opportunity to repurpose those vintage, patinaed, and rustic treasures you’ve been holding onto for years but haven’t found a home for. Just make sure your planter of choice has the right amount of drainage (this is where a drill and a little DIY knowhow come in handy) for your plants and you’re in business.
If you’re working with a smaller patio space or simply looking to make a larger statement along one wall, don’t grow out— grow up! While the large scale living wall phenomenon is a beautiful and stunning addition to any patio space, it can be a little ambitious for the average planter. However it’s a great opportunity to simply rescale your vertical garden inspiration with a creatively mounted pots and containers. Shady retreat your style? Bromeliads, air plants, ferns, and orchids are a natural fit for vertical growing. Dry and sunny? Succulents in repurposed boxes and frames are the ticket. The creative DIY home chef can even have an easily relabeled herb and vegetable wall garden with some skillfully applied chalk paint!
Add a Little Magic
No matter if you’re gardening with your child, grandchild, or inner child, the recently popularized “fairy garden” approach to container gardens can be a fun way to play with scale, multiple mediums, and mixed plantings. While some garden retailers offer prefab accessories for these projects, it’s also a fun approach to scouring yard sales, vintage shops, and your own garage for pieces that be assembled into petite cottages, paths, and fences. Fairies not your thing? No problem— all kinds of adventure friendly landscapes from dinosaur forests to alpine railroads can be created with container friendly plants standing in for their large scale counterparts.
Create an Oasis
Of all the things a patio should inspire, relaxation tops the list. While we might not all have room for an Olympic sized pool or an elaborate Japanese koi pond, there’s no reason you can’t add a water feature to your tranquility routine. Your water garden can start with as simple a vessel as a large glazed pot or a repurposed galvanized tub, and from there plant an assortment of dwarf water lilies, lotus, water hyacinth, and colocasia for cool-hued green and purple foliage and bright, multicolored blooms. Add small, low maintenance fish like pond comets or mosquito fish for serene movement and insect control and you’ve created your own mini patio oasis.