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How to Create the Perfect Patio Container Garden

A patio covered with colorful planters filled with flowers.
Valda/Shutterstock

Some of us lack the yard space, but still desire a garden of pretty blooming flowers and fresh veggies. You can add a little charm to your patio with a gorgeous container garden. There are a few things it’s helpful to know before you get started, though.

For some, planting a garden means bright, beautiful flowers, and for others, it’s all about food. Whether you’re going for charm or culinary practicality, we’ll start with the basics.

Location Is (Almost) Everything

Before purchasing pots and trying to figure out which soil to buy, you have to confirm a location. While we’re talking about a patio garden, these instructions are just as crucial for any other area.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a rooftop, backyard, or even that little corner where your house and porch meet, the most important thing is how much sunlight and shade this area receives.

Most veggies need full, direct sunlight, and won’t do well on a shady backyard patio. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, corn, and squash all need full sun (for 6-8 hours per day).

Root vegetables, including carrots, radishes, and beets, tend to do best with at least half a day of sun (4 hours). If you’re working with a well-shaded area, leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and most lettuce varieties, will do well there.

Choose Your Plants

Now that you know how much sunlight (or shade) you need, it’ll help you get a general idea about which plants you can grow.

Take some time to figure out which veggies or flowers you want to plant, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If this is your first try at gardening, there’s a lot of information to soak up.

If you want to know which veggies grow well in pots, check out this list of 10 that flourish in containers.

Know Your Soil

Someone wearing green gardening gloves and scooping potting soil out of a container.
Sanddebeautheil/Shutterstock

Okay, so we stressed that location is everything, but the potting soil you use is the foundation for thriving potted plants. Choosing the right mix can be tricky because there are so many options.

The main thing to remember is you want potting soil, not garden soil. Potting mixes are specifically formulated for plants in containers. You want a soft, fluffy soil that’s also porous and will hold moisture well.

Look for soil with ingredients like peat moss, coco coir, perlite, compost, or vermiculite. Some soils work better for large planters, while others are lighter and better suited for hanging plants.

We recommend you understand the significance of a quality potting soil before you make your selection. The right soil is a necessity to create a garden that will flourish.

Types of Containers

What’s cool about container gardening is that you can put your plants in almost anything! As long it’s the proper size and has drainage, you can use any of the following:

  • Raised Beds: These are made from different materials and sit on top of the existing soil. They can be just a few inches tall, or even waist-high.
  • Window Boxes: You attach these long, rectangular boxes to the outside of your windowsills. You can plant flowers, herbs, or veggies in them, and then just open the window whenever you need to grab something.
  • Pots: There are many different pots made from various materials, including plastic, clay, terra-cotta, cement, or ceramic glazed. Each has its pros and cons.
  • Hanging Baskets and Bags: Usually, people grow ornamental or decorative plants, like flowers, in these. However, strawberries and tomatoes are also known to do well in hanging planters.
  • Creative Containers: As we mentioned above, just about anything can function as a plant container, including old wheelbarrows, baskets, and watering cans.

Most people appreciate flowers and plants—especially if they produce plump, juicy vegetables.

Take it a step further and add some knickknacks, like a rustic watering can, a weathered wagon wheel, or even a chair planter. You’ll love the treasures you can find to add to your patio garden.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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