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Widen the space around the patio or deck for a lovely show of plants

It is common for a narrow strip of soil to surround the patio. This strip was widened to accommodate upright yews and hydrangeas for privacy and color. © Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

It is common for a narrow strip of soil to surround the patio. This strip was widened to accommodate upright yews and hydrangeas for privacy and color.
© Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

As we head outdoors for race weekend and Memorial Day, here are a few tips on how to spruce up your patio or deck to add a little beauty to the fun.

In general, we tend to have narrow strips of dirt around the patio — barely 2 feet wide, so suggestion number one would be to widen the planting area. Planting a 4-foot wide shrub in that 2-foot space turns into a pruning chore.

Making the planting area 4 to 6 feet wide not only allows for a broader selection of plants, it also is more in scale with the patio, deck and house. And while carving a larger planting bed, give it a few curves rather than straight lines.

When it comes to decks, a common mistake is to use plants that are too small. Plants need to be in proportion to nearby structures, whether it’s the house, garage, deck or patio. Tiny plants can get lost in the mass and size of nearby structures. Planting areas around decks need to accommodate the height and width of plants that will camouflage footings, posts, beams and other structural and construction materials.

Be sure to read the plant tags to make sure your selections will thrive in the horticulture environment you have, such as sun or shade or wet or dry soil. Always allow for the mature height and width of the plants you select.

Add containers filled with annuals, perennials, small trees or shrubs, herbs or maybe even vegetables or small fruit, recommends Altum’s Horticulture and Landscape in Zionsville, in a recent newsletter.

“One of the fastest and most flexible ways to transition into summer. Wipe down your containers and fill them with fresh potting soil. Or pick a pretty new pot or two for a focal point. We also love repurposed containers like galvanized tubs, weathered buckets and troughs. Flea markets and garage sales are where we find some of our favorites. Just remember to add a hole for drainage,” the newsletter says (www.altums.com).

Containers not only add spot color, they also serve as boundaries and soften corners. Cluster pots for even more impact. Water as needed and regularly fertilize plants in containers for the best show.

 

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