Simple Patio Garden Tips for Small Spaces

Do you have a Pinterest board filled with beautiful landscaping ideas but aren’t sure how you can adapt them to create a patio garden? If you’re an urban dweller with limited space, chances are you’ll have to be a little more creative in putting together the perfect backyard garden, but you can do it. 

With some helpful tricks and a little know-how, you can maximize every inch of space you have for a small garden and create an outdoor oasis to enjoy year-round.

In this guide, you’ll learn about planning a patio garden along with what you’ll need on hand to make it a success. We’ll give you ideas for what to plant, how to create a welcoming outdoor space, and tips for making your garden (no matter the size) an open-air haven. 

Planning Your Patio Garden

Whether you’re giving your current garden a makeover or starting from scratch, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about how you’ll use your outdoor space. If you enjoy being outside as much as possible, think about including seating areas while you plan (more on that later). 

Consider existing landscaping too. Perhaps your patio garden is almost perfect, but you’d like to grow your own food. If so, learning how to start a raised vegetable garden might be all you need to make your space work with your lifestyle. 

If your patio is empty, you’ll have more room to create the garden of your dreams. Are you interested in vegetable gardening or just keeping a few herbs in window boxes? Maybe you’d like to do a little of both. 

Here are some ideas for getting the most out of your patio garden, regardless of what you choose to plant:

Keep It Modular

There’s a reason behind the container gardening inspiration you see online and in magazines — it works. 

Container gardening is perfect for patio gardens, balconies, and any small space where you’d like to add some greenery. Containers also work exceptionally well for veggie gardens. 

Some fruits and vegetables have different light requirements. If you’re interested in growing peppers, for example, it’ll be vital for them to get full sun. By planting them in containers, you can easily move them around your patio or even bring them indoors if it gets too chilly. 

You don’t have to stick with terra cotta pots in a container garden either. Hanging baskets, planter boxes, and raised beds are all great ways of making a small garden work for you.

To Climb or Not To Climb

Vertical gardening is another excellent way of inviting more plants into your patio. Choose planter boxes with a built-in trellis, or DIY your own. With a little elbow grease, you can repurpose a wood pallet into a beautiful pallet garden.

Trellises are perfect for climbing plants, whether you’re wrangling tomatoes or hoping to spiff up a bland corner of your garden. Plants such as hops create privacy, climbing roses add color, and honeysuckle will make your patio garden more inviting for hummingbirds and pollinators (like bees and other insects). 

Putting It All Together

There are few handy supplies you’ll want to have for your patio garden. Organic potting soil is a must. A high-quality soil will provide your plants with everything they need to grow and if you plan on starting a veggie patch, consider this even more of an essential. Plant markers will come in handy here too, especially when plants are young and harder to tell apart from each other.

It might seem like a small detail, but spend some time picking out the right watering can. Plastic is lightweight but not as eco-friendly as an old-fashioned galvanized steel can (which can be recycled). 

While you might want to pick up the biggest watering can you see, remember it’ll be much heavier with water. With a smaller can, you’ll make fewer trips filling up, but your back will thank you.

Deciding What to Plant

Patio garden: Plant sprinkler and vegetables in a container

Depending on how much room you have in your patio garden, you can choose to keep it simple with easy maintenance plants and flowers, stick with a handful of herbs, keep a vegetable garden, or a combination of everything!

Keeping a garden helps you connect with nature (and your food) in new ways. It’s also an excellent form of stress relief and an activity the whole family can enjoy. 

If you’re not sure what to plant, take a peek at some of the garden ideas below to get your imagination going.

Start an Herb Garden

Even the smallest backyard space can benefit from an herb garden. They’re easy to plant in window boxes or other containers and allow you to save time and money. (You can just pick them when you want them!) 

It’s a good idea to start with herbs you already love cooking with. Parsley and chives are easy to grow and work well in just about any dish. Oregano and basil are delicious in pasta and on pizza, while sage and rosemary are perfect for poultry and root vegetables. 

If you decide to plant herbs in the same container, be sure and research which herbs grow best together. Some prefer more arid conditions (such as sage and rosemary), while others do best with moist soil (like parsley and chives).

Psst: Check out our step by step guide on how to grow herbs for more tips.

Grow Fruits and Veggies

Put your green thumb to work growing fruits and veggies in your patio garden. If you’ve got enough sunshine, tomato plants will thrive beautifully. Container gardening works well for tomatoes, but choose a pot that gives them enough space to grow. 

You can start your tomato plant indoors and transplant them outside if you have a shorter growing season in your area. 

Back to the Root’s Cherry Tomato Windowsill Planter is the perfect way to get your patio garden started and comes with everything you need. All Back to the Roots seeds are 100% organic and grown in the United States, so you always know where your food is coming from and how it’s handled. 

Peppers, lettuces, cucumbers, and radishes all grow well in containers, so keep those in mind when you’re getting ready to plant your urban garden.

Other Plants and Flowers

Sprucing up a garden doesn’t mean you have to focus on growing vegetables. Depending on your climate, you can grow an array of edible flowers or succulents and cacti. 

Succulents are low maintenance and work well in small gardens. Some enjoy basking in full sun while others are happier in the shade. An easy-care option, they don’t require much watering. Instead, you’ll likely need to be careful not to overwater them. 

Flowers always brighten up an outdoor space, but it’s even better when you can include them in your culinary adventures. Lavender’s delicate flavor pairs well with chocolate and other sweets and can be used to make a tisane (hibiscus and rose petals are delicious too). 

Keep an eye on any zucchini you plant as well. They’re easy to harvest and you can add them to pizzas and flatbreads or stuff them with a savory filling and fry them. 

Creating Your Ultimate Patio Garden Oasis

Woman relaxing in the balcony while reading a book

After you’ve organized and planned your patio garden, it’s time for some finishing touches to tie everything together. 

Look for patio furniture to make your time outside even more enjoyable. Bonus points if you can find something that folds away for easy storage so you can go from morning coffee to afternoon yoga with ease. 

Umbrellas, shade sails, outdoor rugs, and even a cozy throw blanket all work to make your patio more inviting, whether you’re enjoying the company of friends and family or tucking into a favorite book. 

Don’t underestimate the power of upgrading your lighting situation. Swap out the shades of your outdoor porch lighting, hang strands of twinkle lights, or arrange a few lanterns to create a chic and cozy getaway. 

A note on fire pits: Check with your local municipality and any neighborhood rules and regulations before installing one. Some may not allow wood-burning fires, but a propane option may work. 

Urban environments can make it a challenge to feel connected to nature. If you’re craving quiet in a busy neighborhood, look into adding a water feature or small fountain. Patio fountains can be low maintenance and go a long way in making the time spent in your garden serene and relaxing.

Grow Food, Veggies, and More in Your Patio Garden

Putting together the perfect patio garden for you and your family is easier than you might think. There are several ways to make the most of your small space from starting a veggie patch to keeping an herb garden and everything in between. 

Even better, you can always find a way to perk up your patio with simple lighting upgrades, easy landscaping, or adding a bistro table and chairs. 

Just because you have a smaller outdoor space doesn’t mean you can’t turn it into a welcoming escape from the hustle and bustle of your day.

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