How to Decorate a Patio with Plants (8 Important Tips)

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Decorating a patio with plants might seem easy, but the sheer range of options available can make the process overwhelming. Luckily, there are some fairly standard rules you can follow to create an amazing setup without much effort.

And that’s exactly what we’ll look at in this article. Below, you’ll learn how to decorate a patio with plants.

Patios vs. Other Outdoor Spaces

Patios are arguably one of the most accessible outdoor spaces to decorate with plants. Unlike balconies, decks or verandas, there’s less concern over weight limits. You should be able to use any plant or pot you want.

Similarly, you’ll (ideally) be working with a completely flat space. On one hand, this is ideal for creating plant arrangements. On the other hand, it means you have to be more thoughtful with the range of plants you use.

How to Decorate a Patio with Plants

1. Create a Color Scheme

Green leaves aside, it’s worth creating a color scheme with the plants you use. For example, you might focus on red flowers combined with plants such as Japanese maple. It doesn’t matter what color scheme you choose, but keep things complementary.

You could go for a warm palette of reds, oranges, and yellows, or a cool palette of blues and grays. Some examples include:

  • Red verbena
  • Licorice plant
  • Blue salvia
  • Cornflower
  • Marigolds
  • Sunflowers

2. Use Pots for Contrast

Once you have your plant color scheme sorted, consider contrasting them against pots. You could use a blue pot in a warm-toned arrangement or plain terracotta for cooler-toned plants.

However, it could get too busy if you put orange flowers in a blue pot. Instead, use brightly colored for non-flowering plants like ivy.

3. Combine Perennials and Annuals

Regardless of your patio’s size, you should combine perennials (which come back every year) and annuals (which die off after a season). Doing so means you’ve always got some kind of plant life on your patio.

Use perennials as the backdrop for your patio, and annuals for highlights. Generally, flowering pot plants will be annuals, whereas shrubs and trees are perennials. Some ideal perennials for patios include:

  • Roses (potted or vining)
  • Bamboo
  • Acer
  • Lavender
  • Willow
  • Honeysuckle

4. Go Big

As mentioned, a patio is typically a flat space. This means you should add height and interest using plants, which isn’t too difficult. For example, you could have some potted trees or shrubs and a climbing plant growing up a fence or wall. Add in pots of different sizes with flowers and creeping plants, and you’ve got more than enough variety.

5. Create Zones

Large planters (such as this trough) are also ideal for creating zones. You could use them to create privacy on your patio or for separating a seating area from a grilling area. Using plants to break up a space is far more interesting than fences.

That said, you could always use a trellis or lattice with a climbing plant to the same effect.

6. Appeal to the Senses

Plants appeal to numerous senses, so take advantage of this on your patio. Some options include:

  • Smell: rosemary, lavender, etc.
  • Sight: any flowering plant
  • Touch: Purple passion plant
  • Sound: ornamental grasses
  • Taste: herbs

7. Choose Low Maintenance

The more plants you add to a space, the more work you have to put in. However, there are plenty of low-maintenance options for patio planting that still look great. Succulents are perfect for filling up pots, and the more you ignore them, the better they grow.

On the other hand, something like a creeping rose or honeysuckle doesn’t need much work. They’re both fairly drought-tolerant and only need pruning once a year.

An easy way to get around the watering of larger plants is to put them directly in the ground. Hopefully, this should be possible on your patio, as it’s common for them to have border planters. If not, use the largest pots you can find.

8. Group Containers for Impact

Grouping planters into clumps can add a lot of interest to a space. If you do this, try to vary the shape as well as the size. A bowl planter (such as this) works well next to taller planters (such as these). Make sure you also add different colors and textures to keep things interesting.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these tips should help you decorate your patio with plants. It’s worth doing some research first to come up with a coherent plan before you start buying anything. Ideally, this’ll give you a unified design to make your patio more appealing.