For those of us who live in apartments or houses with small lots, a miniature garden can be created on almost any patio, deck, daybeds, or front porch. These planter-gardens are ideal for those who enjoy the versatility of bringing potted plants in and out based on weather, or who are unable to tend a full-sized outdoor soil plot.
Many sizes, styles, and colors of flower pots are available for use on porches and patios and can be selected to match the preferences or decor of the homeowner or renter who is using them. Some specific varieties of planters are especially suited to use on patios.
To make the most efficient use of space, a porch garden should include at least a few hanging planters. This creates a beautiful balance with the plants growing below, and it adds significant character and garden-space without cluttering the floor of the patio. Hanging planters are usually relatively small in size and lightweight, and can be made from wire mesh, plastics, or lightweight polyresin ceramics.
Another planter style that makes very efficient use of space is the classic window-box, one of the oldest, most tried-and-true methods of creating a patio-garden with very little space. Window boxes are available in many materials, including ceramics, plastics, fiberglass, and even metal, and can be painted or embellished to match the theme or color motif of the house or patio. The disadvantage of window boxes is that they are more difficult than other planters to move indoors in the event of poor weather.
Other planters are specifically designed for use on patios and porches and attach directly to handrails, flooring edges, and other out-of-the-way spaces. Similar to window boxes, these space-efficient beauties are available in a wide variety of colors, sizes, styles, and materials, and can be carefully selected to match the dimensions of your own porch garden.
Classic flower pot and vase-style planters are the easiest to move in and out, and may be ideal for temperamental plants that may need to be moved indoors or outdoors based on climate, weather variations, and seasonal changes. These versatile planters can be pot-shaped, vase-shaped, fish-bowl-shaped, or anything in between, and are available in nearly every imaginable material, color, and style. However, unlike hanging planters and window-boxes, they may clutter a porch or patio garden.
Some gardening supply stores also sell wall-hanging flower pots, which require no floor space because they hang directly on the wall of the patio or porch. These planters, which look like ordinary flower-pots cut in half, have a large, smooth edge that enables them to be hung directly on the side of your home. These are versatile, beautiful, and can seamlessly blend a patio garden with the decor of your own home.
Another option for a porch garden completely forgoes the use of any flower pots or planters at all, and takes advantage of the soil surrounding the area. Ivy, grapeleaf, and other climbing vines will eagerly creep up the side of a land-locked porch and require no potting soil or planters. Although they can not be transported easily and are incompatible with second-story patios, they have an advantage of taking little-to-no space.
Creating a patio garden is a fun, exciting project for those seeking to add a vivacious, green character to their own porches and decks. Selection of planters can be based on available dimensions, desired motif, and the aesthetic preferences of the person creating the garden.