Gardening on your Patio or Deck with Flower Boxes and Pots

Wooden patio.

We all need a good place at home to relax and kick up our feet. Why not transform your patio or deck into a retreat that you can enjoy with a few gardening ideas? Flower boxes and pots are easy do-it-yourself projects that can take a drab patio or deck and turn it into the outdoor space you deserve. Choosing Flower Boxes, Pots, or Both Choosing a container should be fun and easy. There are lots of options available from cheap to expensive. The best way to decide is to look at what will work best for you and your space. Both will give your personal garden an enjoyable experience.

Flower boxes usually have a long narrow rectangular shape making them ideal for small and trailing plants. You can use them to outline your patio, attach to the railing of your deck to save space, or have them custom built in your deck for seasonal planting. Flower boxes come in a range of materials from wood, to plastic, to composite. This option is generally more expensive than a traditional pot but can also give a more dramatic look and offer privacy.

Pots offer portability and often come in a wide range of designs, colors and materials. If you are looking for low maintenance pots consider those made out of plastic. Plastic pots are generally cheaper to purchase, are lighter for moving around and come with multiple drainage holes. Terracotta, ceramic and concrete pots are visually more appealing but may provide inadequate drainage for most plants since most only have a single drainage hole. These pots may also be more prone to cracking or breaking but if taken care of properly can provide years of use and color to your outdoor space. What Should You Plant The first thing you need to consider is the location of where you will be placing your plants or flowers. If you are placing your container in an area that gets full sun you may want to consider those that are also heat resistant marigolds, zinnias and petunias. If you are planting in an area that gets a lot of shade you may want to consider begonias and impatiens. Regardless of what you choose, take the time to research which type of plants or flowers will work best for you, depending on where they will be planted and how much, or how little, sun they will get. Basics of Gardening Now that you have decided on what and where to plant your mini garden, now you have to get your hands dirty and do the work. Make sure that your containers have adequate drainage. If the flower boxes or pots you are using don't have drainage holes in the bottom you can add your own or use plastic water bottles in the bottom of the container. Most store bought containers will already have drainage holes but sometimes extra drainage may be necessary to make sure that plants and flower don't get overwatered.

Fill your container ¾ of the way with a good quality soil. Never fill your container all the way to the top or you will be removing soil when you start planting. One tip that can help make your containers look their best is to add fertilizer to the soil or buy potting soil with fertilizer already in it. This will help feed your plants and flowers to make them grow. Now you need to lay out your plant and or flower arrangement. This is much easier than it sounds and is a great project to include the kids. Arrange your plants and flowers within the container before you dig the holes. Once you are happy with the way your arrangement looks, make deep holes for each plant or flower and then fill around it with additional soil. Once your container is planted it is time to water your new masterpiece. Watering plants and flowers will help them to settle. A majority of plants like to be kept in damp, not overly wet soil. To figure out if your plants or flowers need water simply stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If your finger tip feels dry, add water. Be sure to water slowly and make sure the water is going to your plant's roots. If the water starts to run out the bottom of your container, you have accomplished this and can stop watering.

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