Patio Gardening 101

Some of us have to garden on our patios. Whether because of injury, disability, or preference, here are some great patio gardens you can create.

With container gardens, you can get the soil just right. You pretty much eliminate weeds, having to dig in hard dirt, and the stress to your back. 

I think container gardens are great options for a patio or any place else you might want to garden.

For apartment dwellers, they are perfect.

You can have your whole garden in one large container if you so choose. You will have to decide what plants go in what container given their sun/part sun/shade/part shade preference. 

Put all full sun plants in one container. Put part sun in another container. And so on.

Sun Gardens

Some of the most common choices for full sun perennials in containers are:

Annual Flowers That Do Well in Direct Sun

Many annuals make great choices for sunny areas and container plants. They are also excellent for filling in gaps within sunny borders. Most full sun annuals are accustomed to drought-like conditions, which make them good candidates for these types of areas.
Suitable annuals to grow in pots or sunny borders include:
Shade Gardens

  1. HELLEBORES - early bloomers; partial shade
  2. FERNS - try a Japanese painted fern, maidenhair or deer fern
  3. BEGONIAS - try ‘Bonfire’, Rex or tuberous begonias
  4. HOSTAS - try a minature variety such as 'Tiny Mice'
  5. JAPANESE MAPLES - a single specimen makes a strong statement
  6. BAMBOO - Phyllostachys nigra offers structure and height

Herb Gardens

10 Best Herbs For Container Gardening

Mint, chives, sage, bay, thyme, rosemary, parsley, coriander, basil & sorrel.

Vegetable Garden Guide

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardens

Thrillers, Fillers & Spillers
When you're putting various plants into a container, you might follow the Thriller, Filler & Spiller concept below...

1. Thrillers

Thrillers are tall, upright plants that add the height to the arrangement. Thrillers are the great way to add a vertical aspect to your containers.

Thriller Plant Options
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Alocasia
  • Canna lily
  • Yucca
  • Aster
  • Coleus
  • Cosmos
  • Dracaena

2. Fillers

Fillers are covering plants that spread to fill the gaps between the thrillers and spillers.

Filler Plant Options

  • Geranium
  • Impatiens
  • Petunia
  • Pansy
  • Coleus
  • Dusty miller
  • Begonia
  • Pentas
  • Lantana

3. Spillers

Spiller plants are those that spill over the edges of the container and cascade down.

Spiller Plant Options

  • Allysum
  • Million bells
  • Fuchsia
  • Helichrysum
  • Sweet potato vine
  • Mandevilla
  • Nasturtium
  • Morning glory
  • Bacopa
  • String of pearls

Water Gardens/Aquariums

And if you want a water garden, you can have that on the patio as well. There is the galvanized container water garden. And others are listed below. 

The information for these are in the resource section at the bottom.

1 & 2. Source
3. Source
4. Source
5. Source
6 & 7. Source


  1. Love this. The container gardens are all amazing. Make yourself a water garden like the koi one and add a small pulp and you have a water feature. So fun.

  2. Those are some super cool water features!!!!

  3. Great info Brenda! Thanks for putting it all together in this post!


  4. Hi Brenda, what an amazing gardening primer you've put together. Wonderful resource and I'm going to bookmark it so I can refer back to it when I start my upcoming, small-scale gardening.

    My pleasure to pop over and look around.

    Happy day.

  5. Brenda, I needed this post SO much! Happy Easter to you and the darling fur people.

  6. Thank you for sharing this wonderful info. Such lovely gardens.

  7. Brenda, thank you for taking the time to post this article for all of us plant lovers. It was quite informative.

  8. Going to try an herb garden...again, and hoping for better luck! Lots of great info, Brenda!

  9. Thank you for putting this together! We've got to wait until May 15th or so to plant...but it sure is nice to start thinking about it. We are getting snow tomorrow! ;)

  10. I want to try some container gardening...looks easier than digging in the ground maybe. Thanks for this. Sheila

  11. Thanks for the info. You did a wonderful job putting it all together for us. We are in a winter storm watch for today & tomorrow morning. So, thinking about the flower garden is wonderful.

  12. We awoke to 8 inches of snow and our east-west interstate closed from border to border. Wyoming is a great place to live but I miss spring. Your post was timely for me, I can think of spring as I watch the snow continue.

  13. Such an inspiring gardening post Brenda! I love container gardens and you have shown some beautiful ones here. The plant advice and information will be useful for all kinds of other garden growers too. Happy Spring!
    Helen xox

  14. Container gardening is wonderful!

  15. Thanks for all the helpful information on gardening. I will certainly be using some of your ideas.

  16. This is a very helpful information. We made 2 raised garden beds a couple of years ago and hope to add more this spring. I haven't had much luck with putting tomato plants in large pots which I think were 5 gallon, but I'm going to try again. I do grown basil in pots. Love that herb container in your photos!

  17. Oops...should be "grow" not grown.

  18. This is the best helpful post ever. Love all your post...this one most informative. Every day I can't wait to see what you have for me to enjoy and learn from, thank you Brenda.....for being YOU!!!!!!

  19. This is a great post Brenda..I do a lot of planting in pots now and I have two raised beds...I hope I can print this out...Thanks!

  20. What a great post Brenda! Right now I have an entire yard to plant in but when I get my tiny/small home I might not! I love, love, love the cozy feel of a beautiful patio garden. The thriller, filler, spiller technique is awesome!



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