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Landscaping a Patio, Creating an Environment

Have you ever sat outside, on someone else’s patio, and thought to yourself, “Wow, what a junkyard.” You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Too much clutter and no rhyme or reason; or, too much cement and no greenery. It makes you want to close your eyes and hope it’s all a bad dream. Then you go home and start looking at your own patio with nervous eyes. Perhaps it’s a bit too stark? Perhaps it’s time to get rid of that plastic Ficus tree and replace it with a real one?  

Considering that your patio is just as much a living space as any space inside your house, it shouldn’t get overlooked when it comes to planning. Your patio furniture is one aspect of your patio; how it’s landscaped is what ties everything together like a bow on a gift.

Creating an Environment

Your front yard sets the mood and offers a glimpse of what’s beyond. Your backyard is your personal, private oasis; your patio is the jewel of that oasis. Whether you want enchanting or Zen, proper landscaping is key in creating balance and harmony. The tips below are just a few ideas to help you create your perfect patio.


  • Select surrounding plantings to provide interest for every season. Colors should complement each other.
  • Choose flowering plants with fragrance for all seasons and plants that will complement each other with a variety of textures and heights.
  • For potted plants, choose plants that will stay compact or in proportion without constant pruning. Use various sizes of pots to create a terraced look; cluster three to five pots utilizing different shapes and heights.
  • Bring your patio alive by hanging lush groupings of flowers. Large planters made from wood, brick, or stone is perfect for separating space to create vignettes.
  • Place a potted manicured tree on both sides of the patio door to highlight and showcase the entrance.


  • Heat lamps and portable fire pits not only add warmth and allow you to entertain or relax in the cold months, they’re also attractive. A heat lamp will blend into the overall look. However, a fire pit will become a main focal point and create a feeling of intimacy.


  • Water features such as stand-alone fountains and wall fountains are a great joy to look at and listen to – soothing and peaceful. Bird baths add an element of charm and bird feeders are quaint and attract your garden’s best helpers.

Arbors and wall trellises

  • Arbors add height and dimension and create an intimate space. Plant jasmine or climbing roses on the arbor for beauty and privacy. Wall trellises are a great choice for long patios that run the entire length of your back wall; rather than look at wall you can weave a flowering vine through the trellis.


  • When entertaining at night, your lighting will set the mood for everything else. Soft lighting via bistro lights or candles will create a calm, relaxed atmosphere. Lanterns add a touch of whimsical flair. Tiki torches at the parameter of your patio will add a festive mood. There are a zillion things you can do with lighting to create whatever experience you wish – your imagination and the lighting choices available await you.

Wind chimes

  • Pretty to look at, they sing to you on warm breezy lazy days.

Landscaping your patio doesn’t need to be complex, but it pays to have a plan. Balance is crucial – not too much and not too little, not too short and not too high, etc. Keep that in mind along with the above tips, and the rest will come easy.

Here are some great sites for visual ideas:

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