Looking to eat what you grow on your patio? Climbing vine vegetables like tomatoes and beans work well, as do bulb and root vegetables like onions and radishes, and leafy greens like cabbage. And container-friendly herbs are always an option.
To keep your garden budget down, ask friends for cuttings, purchase packets of seeds for cheap, and even check out community pages on social media to find free or discounted options. And you can turn old palettes, troughs, and buckets into planters for your plants, vegetables, and container garden herbs.
But fair warning: Once your patio garden is all in place, you’ll never want to spend time elsewhere.
Between the AstroTurf and potted plants, this Venice, California patio has been turned into a jungle oasis. Potted plants work great in smaller spaces.
2. Minimal and Green Patio Garden
Ashley of @east_shore_home jazzed up her patio garden with lush greenery and a wooden trellis, which serves as a form of privacy and a place for her plants to thrive. Plus, who wouldn’t want to chill out in a hot tub in the presence of their plants?
3. Coastal-Inspired Patio Garden
In drier climates, a coastal-inspired patio with a few select hearty plants boosts the relaxation factor on sweltering days. As seen on Meliha Omic’s patio, adding planters around your space cuts down on extra maintenance that comes with larger gardens and raised beds and just allows you to chill.
4. Artsy Patio Garden Idea
Being short on space doesn’t mean you can’t add a little plant life to your patio, as proven by Tovah Fine. Her space utilizes hanging planters and different levels to incorporate as many plants as possible. The colorful, artistic accents are a nice touch too.
Believe it or not, the greenery wall on this patio is actually fake. The potted plants are all natural though, and we love the rental-friendly makeover the patio got.
6. Outdoor Living Room Patio
Bringing the indoors out is easy, as seen on David’s patio. Surround your outdoor furniture with plants for a welcoming feel.
8. Climbing Vines and Planters
The gorgeous climbing vines and planters make Irene’s patio extra dreamy.
9. Chic and Streamlined Patio Garden
If you value lawn space, but have a smaller patio, planter boxes and a select few patches of greenery and Mexican beach stones can boost the garden feeling. This space from Amber Freda Garden Design is a perfect example of how to blend chic city life with suburbia’s comforts.
10. Faux Window and Decorative Grasses
Between the plants and furniture chosen, this patio feels like a whimsical secret garden.
11. Patio Garden Inspired by the Tropics
12. Cascading Vines and Raised Patio
Sara Gasbarra’s modern patio is surrounded with cascading zinnias, red rubin basil, and a lush cucumber vine. Your greenery doesn’t have to actually reside on the patio.
Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann
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If you feel like your room is missing something, it probably needs more plants. Lush foliage does for a space what no other kind of decor can do, bringing vibrancy and LIFE to any room. Not that it has to be alive…
There is no shame in introducing faux plants to your bedroom, kitchen, living room, or anywhere else. Especially if that room doesn’t get a ton of light or a lot of foot traffic to remind you to water your verdant roommates. Until somebody gets up close and personal, they probably won’t even realize the plants are fake. And even if they do, you give them your best Ariana-Grande-cold-shoulder and say, “yeah it’s fake, and what about it?”
Ready to get your faux on? The world of fake plants is vast, so if you need help getting started, why not bring home one of the designer-approved fakes spotted inside the rooms at Apartment Therapy’s 2021 Small/Cool Experience? You can see that these six plants look perfectly at home in trendy and modern spaces, even when they’re right next to the real thing.
The Trailing Plants in Estelle Bailey-Babenzien’s “Biophillic Beauty”
Bailey-Babenzien blended cultural influences to create this plant-inspired room. But she also blended one clever faux plant amongst the living flora. The trailing plants at the top of the bed-frame trellis are clever fakes — why put a real plant up high where it’s hard to water and nobody will ever get close up?
The Monstera in Natalie Papier’s “Flexible Spaces”
The Pampas Grass in Bobby Berk’s “Warm Minimalism”
Ok maybe not technically a plant to a lot of people, but the pampas grass in Berk’s neutral-toned room still does the work of a house plant, adding movement and a natural vibe. If you’re committed to a palette of warm colors and the minimalist vibe, some faux pampas grass might be the perfect finishing touch in your space.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig and Palm Trees in Liz Kamarul’s “Bringing the Indoors Out”
OK, this room packs a faux-plant punch. There are three — count ’em, three — incredible fauxs in Kamarul’s outdoor scene, proving that you can also fake it ’til you make it on the patio, too. (Can’t spot ’em? They’re the fiddle leaf fig tree, the large palm in the corner, and the small yucca-style palm.) Why would you use fake plants outside? Well depending on the direction your outdoor space faces, it could get low light or too much light for certain plant varieties. And again, there’s no shame in admitting you’d rather have a little urban landscape that doesn’t require daily love and care.
And in order to achieve exactly the houseplant style you have in mind, you can go the DIY route. In fact, we’ve planted 10 ideas below for fun-to-make markers. You probably already have the supplies you need for several of them.
A quick heads-up: Note that any specific plants mentioned in this story or any others may be toxic to pets or humans. “Toxic” plants can induce symptoms that range from mild (upset stomach) to severe (possible death). If you have a cat, dog, or kid, make sure you research the plants ahead of time on a reputable site like ASPCA.org, PetPoisonHelpline.org, Poison.org, or by calling your vet or pediatrician.
Playing with wire is the perfect opportunity to get punny. “I remember walking round a garden center and seeing some plant markers that were (arguably) a little boring and thought, ‘I can do something like this but funny,’” says Lauren Lakey, who sells her plant markers in her shop, In Other Words Designs. “If you’ve got any thin garden wire laying around and some pliers, you can have a go at creating your own. Try printing off a template to help you form the words.”
From the materials to the crafting, Alma García’s plant marker DIY is impressively doable. All that’s required is a package of popsicle sticks, white chalkboard spray paint, and a Sharpie. First, García says, spray paint all the markers, let them dry, and then freehand herb names. “This makes it more personal and beautiful,” she says. “My inspo came from my little DIY garden that I created during quarantine. It is so therapeutic to grow your own herbs and hand-make your own items. I decided to make these and add my personal handwriting to the markers and received so many compliments.”
Break out a woodburning pen.
If you have a set of letter stampers, you can put them to work to make some polished IDers. “With the right tools, your herb garden will shine with these dainty, vintage silverware herb markers,” says Courtney Vettel. “To create, flatten your spoons, stamp your letters, and don’t forget to outline your lettering in black marker to make them really pop!”
“I really just wanted to create some colorful plant markers for my vegetable beds that would be easy to see and that I could reuse each year,” says Alison Edwards. “First, I searched at our local river for pebbles that reminded me of the shape of the vegetable, and then I hand drew the illustrations using porcelain pens, added detail with gel pens, and finally sealed them with a spray varnish.”
Paint on paint stir sticks.
If you’ve got stir sticks left over from another DIY project, you can turn them into plant markers using paint and a Sharpie paint marker. “I used paint stir sticks that I buy in bulk,” says Tahnee Phan. “I chose to go with black acrylic paint, but I can see them being very cute in a variety of bright colors to pop in the garden, like purple for eggplant, red for tomatoes, orange for carrots, etc.”
Update your wooden spoons.
Upcycling has never looked so good. “I love color, and I love any opportunity to find a new use for household items,” says Beth Kingston. “These DIY garden markers were not only fun to make, they added a little pop of color to my vegetable garden in those first few weeks where you’re anxiously waiting to see if anything’s actually going to grow!” Get the step-by-step instructions on her blog, The Kingston Home.
This stenciling project is pretty — and pretty fast. “I wanted to create colorful and inexpensive plant markers using supplies I already had on hand,” says Mark LaFerney. “I love how quick and easy this project is. I really love an easy and affordable DIY. Plus, they look great and can be customized to match any home decor.”
Doodle on popsicle sticks.
If you want to show off some artistic flair, consider paint markers for your plant markers, like Maggie Nale did when she designed these stunners. “I love to draw and hand-lettering, and [had] been itching to use my new paint markers, [so] I decided to make my own plant markers,” says Nale. “My go-to inspiration is looking through Pinterest. I search for plant photos and lettering ideas. I found these large popsicle sticks at Lowe’s at the paint section. I sanded it, and used Uni-posca paint markers to draw and hand-letter. Then I added Mod Podge.”
Michaila Joy is a pro ceramicist, so she whips up these houseplant markers using porcelain clay. “I first roll out a slab of clay and let it air-dry a bit,” explains Joy. “I then draw out the plant marker [on] paper, cut it out, and use it as a guideline to cut out the markers on the clay with an X-Acto knife… I let it dry out completely, and then fire it in the kiln. Once it’s bisque fired, I stamp on the plant puns and dip them in clear glaze. They’re fired once more, and then they’re ready to use.” But get this: If you want to simplify at home, Joy says you can easily use polymer clay to shape these, which only requires baking in the oven.
Apartment Therapy’s Styling with Plants vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Greendigs.