Transform a courtyard or patio into a restful, inviting haven with a mass of colourful annuals and glossy evergreens overflowing from a wealth of containers.
Even the tiniest corner or least-promising paved area can be turned into an attractive and inviting patio with a little imagination. Containers of every kind – bought or improvised – can provide planting space for a mass of inexpensive annuals in Summer and hardy evergreens throughout the year. Shady, unused spaces between buildings can become home to shade-tolerant plants in hanging baskets, wall-mounted troughs and barrels. Hot, sunny areas can be made to resemble Mediterranean courtyards with terracotta pots and window boxes filled with bright sun-lovingand aromatic .
Choosing the type of plants which suit the conditions is the main key to success, but colour co-ordination is another important element. Consider the background materials carefully when choosing containers; groups of terracotta pots will look good against a sympathetic brick or painted wall, but stone containers may harmonize better with stone walls.
Timber or plastic containers can be painted to match or contrast with surrounding woodwork. You may aim for a restrained, natural effect, with subdued, restful tones, or make a bold statement with splashes of vivid colour. Whichever approach you take, try to plan the overall affect in advance for maximum impact.
PICK AND PLANT
Sun loving plants
On sunny, ‘evergrey’ plants can replace evergreens to provide a permanent, muted background. Sun lovers like Lavender, Curry plant, Senecio, Arabis, Pinks, Alyssum and Lamb’s Ears are all easy to grow, but do need rigorous annual to prevent them from becoming straggly.
Patio plants grown in containers will need deadheading regularly to keep them flowering through the Summer. They will also benefit from an occasional liquid or foliar feed.