How to create a patio garden
Because a patio is really an extension of the living area of the house, it should be planted to look attractive all year round. Here are some tips.
1. Plant out half-hardy bedding plants as soon as the risk of frost has passed, usually late May. You will still find plenty of summer-bedding plants in garden centres.
2. Prepare the soil in raised beds and patio borders by clearing any weeds and forking in some organic matter, such as rotted manure or mushroom compost. Apply a general fertilizer before planting.
3. Plant annual climbers in containers or raised beds to add colour to the patio. Nasturtiums and sweet peas look charming growing up a wigwam of bamboo canes or rustic poles.
4. Plant some herbs for the kitchen and for their fragrance. Plant by paving that gets the sun as the heat will help to release their aromatic oils. Lavender, rosemary, sage, marjoram, coriander and basil all grow well in warm, dry conditions during the summer.
5. During the spring start to think about summer containers and hanging baskets for a summer patio display. You can achieve dramatic results by sticking to simple colour schemes, using foliage as well as flowers to keep schemes lively.
6. Plant up pots or raised beds with summer bedding to provide a colourful splash starting in July. Or choose unusual flowering perennial plants like blue agapanthus.