patio garden
patio garden
(Image credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz)

Gardening around patios can present a daunting challenge, but patio landscaping may be easier than you think. A few carefully chosen plants can create a screen, hide unsightly views, obscure a busy street, serve as a windscreen, or provide privacy from neighbors. We’ve included a few of our favorite ideas for creating a garden surrounding a patio.

Gardening Ideas for Patio Surroundings

Natural beauty: Surround your patio with a few small beds, fill them with shrubs and flowers, then sit back and watch the birds and butterflies as you relax. Raised beds and planters also work well.

Year-round green: An evergreen screen will provide privacy, and will remain green and lovely year-round. For instance, consider Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis), arborvitae, or cedar. Japanese garden juniper (Juniperus procumbens) is another beautiful, low-growing shrub.

Shady patio landscaping: Provide a cool, peaceful atmosphere by filling adjacent beds with foliage plants. Many, including hosta and ferns, are ideal for those shady spots around your patio.

Color and motion: Ornamental grass provides a feeling of privacy and most varieties offer year-round color, motion, and texture to the area around your patio. Ornamental grasses worth considering include purple fountain grass, blue oat grass, autumn moor grass, sheep grass, maiden grass, or ribbon grass

Tropical garden: If you live in a warm climate, plant tropical (or tropical-looking) plants around a section of your patio. Look for plants in bold colors of red, yellow, orange, or coral with a few deep green foliage plants for contrast. Suggestions include elephant ear, sweet potato vine, bird of paradise, New Zealand flax, or celosia.

Culinary herbs: If you enjoy cooking, consider planting a small herb garden adjacent to your patio. Herbs are attractive, easy to grow, and require very little care, although most require plenty of sunlight.

Tips on Planting Near Patios

When landscaping around decks or patios, there are a few things to consider:

  • Avoid thorny plants, especially if you have small children or pets. Similarly, agaves are lovely, but the sharp tips can cut like a knife. Spiny cactus should also be located a safe distance from your patio.
  • Consider planting jasmine or another fragrant vine near your patio. Enjoy the sweet aroma outdoors or let it waft through open windows on warm summer evenings. 
  • Choose plant size carefully. Avoid overly large plants, which require more maintenance and may soon crowd your patio area.
  • A water feature such as a portable fountain or even a birdbath with bubbler can mask unpleasant traffic noises.
  • Solar lights are a fun, inexpensive way to add interest around a patio area.
Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.