Adding plants around your patio’s border can instantly liven up the space. Vibrant flowers and foliage transform a drab patio into an inviting oasis.
When planning your patio border planting, consider sunlight, soil conditions, and space available. A mix of heights, textures, and colors creates visual interest.
Here are 22 beautiful patio border planting ideas to inspire your design.
1. Lush Hanging Baskets
Hanging baskets make excellent patio accents. Planting vibrant blooms in the baskets adds pops of color around the patio’s perimeter.
Begonias, petunias, and fuchsias are ideal for hanging baskets in shady spots. For full sun areas, choose heat-loving options like Million Bells or trailing lantana. Mix colors and textures for maximum impact.
2. Low-Maintenance Succulents
Succulents like sedum, echeveria, and aloe make easy care border plants. These fleshy-leaved beauties thrive in full sun with little watering required once established.
Their sculptural shapes and dusty hues add interest to the patio’s edge. Mix varieties for contrasting shapes, colors, and textures.
3. Cheerful Marigolds
Marigolds are a go-to annual for borders, thanks to their easy care nature and continuous blooms. French marigolds display single flowers while African marigolds produce large, double blooms.
Choose marigold colors like red, yellow, orange, white or multicolored patterns. Deadhead blooms regularly for nonstop color all season long.
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4. Fragrant Lavender
English lavender remains a patio favorite for its heavenly fragrance and pretty purple-blue blooms. Plant compact varieties like Munstead or Hidcote along the border’s front.
The hardy perennial thrives in full sun and hot conditions. Lavender blooms through summer and makes a great cut flower.
5. Ornamental Grasses
Ornamental grasses add texture and movement to patio borders. Options like maiden grass, fountain grass, and switchgrass grow in upright clumps.
Let them sway gently in the breeze. Grasses come in colors like green, blue, red or variegated forms. Use larger varieties like pampas grass as screens.
6. Climbing Roses
Train climbing roses over an arbor or trellis along one side of the patio for vertical interest. Varieties like ‘New Dawn’ and ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ bloom repeatedly for months of color.
Plant bushy David Austin roses in patio corners. Enjoy their sumptuous, old-fashioned blossoms and heady fragrance up close.
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7. Evergreen Shrubs
Evergreen shrubs provide year-round structure and color. Use compact boxwoods to outline the patio’s shape. The neat mounds maintain their rich green hues even in winter.
Other evergreen options like holly and yew work well for hedging or screens. Underplant them with bulbs or annuals.
8. Herb Planters
Tuck pots of herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, basil and parsley around the patio’s perimeter. You’ll have seasoning on hand for outdoor meals.
The herbs’ bushy growth adds texture while their aromas scent the air. Snip herbs often to encourage new growth. Bring pots indoors for winter.
9. Bright Geraniums
Geraniums love heat and thrive in sunny patio borders. The colorful annuals bloom nonstop once night temperatures stay above 55°F. Upright zonal geraniums work well in beds.
Cascading ivy geraniums shine in hanging baskets and containers. Choose single or double blooms in bold shades.
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10. Low-Growing Thyme
Thyme makes a pretty, drought-resistant ground cover around patios. The herb’s tiny leaves form a dense mat in zones 5-9.
Walking on creeping thyme releases its fresh herbal scent. Let it trail over stone walls or pavers along the border’s edge. Pink blooms attract bees in summer.
11. Bright Lantanas
Lantana thrives in hot sun and poor soil – perfect for patio planters. The shrubby annual comes in colors like red, yellow, pink, white and orange.
Trailing varieties spill beautifully over container edges. Lantana blooms nonstop once established. Just give it plenty of sun and occasional water.
12. Cascading Petunias
For gorgeous summertime color, plant Wave petunias around patio borders and in baskets. The popular hybrid thrives in full sun and doesn’t mind heat or drought once established.
Flowers bloom prolifically in shades of purple, pink, blue, red and white. Deadhead to encourage new blooms.
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13. Carefree Daylilies
Daylilies provide a carefree burst of color for shady or sunny borders. The hardy perennial sends up elegant blooms on tall stalks in summer.
Flower colors include yellow, pink, red, purple, cream and bi-colors. Plant en masse or mix varieties. Dividing clumps every few years encourages flowering.
14. Dramatic Tropicals
Large-leaved tropicals like elephant ears and cannas pack serious visual impact. Their huge foliage adds drama to patio planting beds. Most tropicals need full sun and moist, fertile soil. Add other heat-lovers like caladiums and coleus nearby for bold color combinations.
15. Trailing Verbena
For vivid flower power, plant trailing verbena around patio edges. The heat- and drought-tolerant annual thrives in full sun and poor soil. Flower colors include red, purple, white and pink. Give it space to spread into a colorful, draping mass. Pinch back for fuller growth.
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16. Annual Vines
Use fast-growing annual vines to decorate vertical structures bordering the patio. Climbing morning glories and moonflowers open showy summer blooms in the evenings.
Hyacinth bean vines display lavender flowers and purple-streaked seed pods. All thrive in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil.
17. Brilliant Hibiscus
Plant a row of hardy hibiscus along the patio for gorgeous blooms. Varieties like ‘Lord Baltimore’ produce huge red flowers with ruffled petals.
Plant hibiscus in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun. Give them room as these woody shrubs can reach 6 feet tall and wide.
18. Sun-Loving Zinnias
Few flowers can match zinnias for nonstop color. The classic annual thrives in sunny patio borders. Choose dwarf varieties or cutting types that grow over 3 feet tall. Zinnias bloom in almost every color except blue. Deadhead to encourage more blooms until frost.
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19. Shady Impatiens
Impatiens offer an explosion of color for shaded patio borders. The shade-loving annual flowers from spring to frost if kept watered. Choose solid or bi-color blooms in shades of white, pink, red, orange, purple and more. Plant impatiens in rich, moisture-retentive soil.
20. Evergreen Ferns
For a lush, woodland look, border your shaded patio with ferns like holly fern, Japanese painted fern and autumn fern.
Most ferns thrive in part to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. Evergreen varieties provide foliage interest all year. Let them naturalize and spread.
21. Fragrant Roses
What’s more welcoming than the scent of roses around your patio? Plant compact floribundas or old roses along the border for repeated blooms.
Varieties like ‘Knock Out’ and ‘The Fairy’ resist diseases in hot, humid climates. Cite them in full sun for the most blooms.
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22. Eye-Catching Coleus
Coleus makes a statement with its vividly colored, dramatically marked foliage. The annual comes in endless combinations of pinks, reds, greens, purples, yellows and more.
Use coleus as edging plants or in containers flanking the patio. Provide afternoon shade in very hot climates.
With any border planting, select plants suited to your patio’s sunlight, soil and climate. Space plants appropriately and use trailing varieties to soften hard edges.
Maintain a cohesive look by repeating colors and plant shapes. Following these design principles will help you create fabulous patio border planting ideas you can enjoy all season long.
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Q: What are some good full sun plants for a patio border?
A: Lantanas come in many bright colors like red, yellow, and pink. They bloom continuously in heat and sun. Zinnias also thrive in full sun and provide vivid flowers. Marigolds are an easy care option.
Q: What are some good plants for a shady patio border?
A: Impatiens bloom abundantly in shade with flowers in white, pink, red, purple, and orange. Begonias offer colorful blooms and foliage. Ferns like autumn fern provide lush greenery.
Q: How wide should a patio border planting bed be?
A: For small plants, allow 1-2 feet width. Medium perennials need 2-3 feet. Bigger shrubs or grasses may need 3-4 feet or more.
Q: Should I use annuals or perennials in patio borders?
A: Annuals like petunias give seasonal color. Hardy perennials like lavender provide reliable return each year. Using both is recommended.
Q: How can I give my patio border planting a cohesive look?
A: Tie the design together by repeating colors, limiting the palette, and using plants with similar textures and heights.