Advanced search

Tarting up the patio - any ideas?

(24 Posts)
shockofred Sun 11-Jan-15 09:11:51

We are slowly working on the garden which was virtual wasteland when we moved in. I am gradually creating a cottage garden from the stark long rectangle of grass but the patio is made up of square slabs (think paving slabs) and it is just a rectangle that spans the width of the house. There are some narrow borders either side and I have various pots out too. We have a large garden table and chairs taking up about a quarter of the area. What else can I do to soften the space? It looks so bland and stark sad

HaveYouSeenHerLately Sun 11-Jan-15 15:21:05

Do you have much budget?
What colour are the slabs?
How big is the area?

There seem to be some products out there to stain patio slabs. You need to do a certain amount of prep first (e.g. pressure washing). I don't know how long the colour would last before requiring reapplication though.

Google comes up with laying decking tiles over an existing surface to completely transform the look.

Apologies if these are impractical ideas. I've never undertaken this type of project before but I know how uninspiring grey slabs can be wink

How much sunlight does the patio receive? Plants will definitely help to break the space up and draw the eye away from the slabs.

I have climbers in my small side beds, bushy lavender and a variety of striking pots at different heights. I find small pots get a bit lost - aim for some high ones or clusters of different heights in order to stand out smile
I also have a couple of hanging baskets and might fill some hanging pouches with annuals and trailing lobelia in May-June for extra colour against the walls or fence.

Do you have room and light for a raised bed?

MaudantWit Sun 11-Jan-15 21:03:44

I second the suggestion of grouping large pots together. Also, try to have pots of similar materials and colours together, so all terracotta or all glazed and so on, as this looks more coherent.

What does the back wall of the house look like? Do you have any climbers growing up it? If you can't make a planting hole for climbers or plant them in a big pot, wall pots might be a way of adding interest and colour.

shockofred Sun 11-Jan-15 22:58:06

Thanks for the replies!
The slabs are a tasteful pavement grey with zero texture or any redeeming features grin

The back of the house has a big patio door which I am training a clematis up, and various pots against the wall. I hadn't thought about tall pots actually - I wonder if clusters of multi size pots would give a better effect?
The garden is east facing and there are fences either side. South facing has ivy and a passion flower with various potted fruits, lavender and a gorgeous acer. North facing has a (as yet unflowering) honeysuckle, jasmine and kerria. Also a little herb patch with a bushy rosemary etc. I have pretty much zero budget but do have some larger pots I could move around to break the space up. Thanks for the ideas - I wonder how well a potted apple or peach would do? I have a large potted fig under one window which merrily fruits!

HaveYouSeenHerLately Sun 11-Jan-15 23:05:42

That sounds brilliant already! My house is east facing too smile

HaveYouSeenHerLately Sun 11-Jan-15 23:17:13

Oh and I've tried to incorporate a few evergreen things as well.

To date I have pyracantha on the fence and potted shrubs such as rhododendron, fatsia Japonica and box to add winter and early spring interest until the rest catches up wink

I've created bulb 'lasagnes' in some pots beneath still-flowering geraniums and dianthus this year.

I love the sound of your fruit trees smile

MaudantWit Sun 11-Jan-15 23:24:24

You've got some lovely plants! An apple could do well in a pot, if it's a large pot with good compost and the tree is a dwarfing one. Some of the websites sell fruit trees designed to be grown on patios, on very dwarfing rootstock. If you've got a wall facing south-ish, a peach might do better in a pot than in a border, as it would benefit from the warmth of being against the wall.

funnyperson Sun 11-Jan-15 23:29:44

I've sometimes wondered about stencilling floor paint in a pattern/flower design on my grey patio slabs but haven't done it.
Also, taking out some of the slabs near the house gives room to plant climbers.

MaudantWit Sun 11-Jan-15 23:35:34

And, looking on the bright side, I think grey makes a better backdrop for pots and flowers than beige.

annabanana19 Mon 12-Jan-15 07:14:10

Get on Pintrest! Im stuck on it looking for ideas on pots for my garden. And its a large area but pots only.

Im gonna be making a tiered terracotta display for a corner.

shockofred Mon 12-Jan-15 07:28:20

I'm obsessed with pinterest! Some really inspiring stuff on there - if anyone has a board to share I'd love a nosey!

I already have a dwarf apple in a pot but I don't know how happy it is - it fruited 2 years ago, but didn't even blossom last year. I repotted it and moved it though, so not sure if it's sulking??
I have a fatsia In a border and it's fantastic so I might research taking a cutting from it for a big pot - it would hide a multitude of sins I suspect!
I keep meaning to try a layered lasagne of bulbs too but keep getting distracted...

poocatcherchampion Mon 12-Jan-15 08:05:15

We have this exact problem. Can decide whether to deck it, pull it up or try to make something of what we have...
Helpful thread!

shockofred Mon 12-Jan-15 08:09:07

I pondered the idea of decking but got a bit freaked out at the spider/rat hotel possibilities!! I also wondered about ripping up the slabs and replacing it with pea gravel but dh wasn't keen! We can't afford to re-lay it at the moment either. Dd loves to use it as a giant chalkboard which is quite cute but ultimately it's an ugly grey concrete rectangle!

PurpleWithRed Mon 12-Jan-15 08:11:54

I hate my decking - slippery in winter and now looks tatty in summer because I'm too lazy to sand it down and treat it, and I hate the look of treated decking anyway. Stick with paving in my opinion. Can you take up the slabs at the edge to make the side beds less mean?

juliascurr Mon 12-Jan-15 08:13:36

any help?

yours sounds simlar to my easily maintained courtyard patio grin

annabanana19 Mon 12-Jan-15 08:15:08

I have a slate patio. Using reclaimed slate. Those slabs on people's gardens that serve no purpose. Looks old and random but goes well with my old cottage.

SilasGreenback Mon 12-Jan-15 08:49:24

Can you lift out some slabs? It sounds as if the patio is quite big, if your table only takes up 25%, so you maybe don't use it all. Then plant low growing plans like calamine or thyme in the empty spaces.

MaudantWit Mon 12-Jan-15 08:59:37

I doubt gravel is the best option for you. It tends to spill all over the garden and (depending in the age of your children) is no good for riding bikes or chalking on. It also makes an attractive toilet for neighbouring moggies.

shockofred Mon 12-Jan-15 09:21:40

Ah yes, the giant litter tray effect!

MaudantWit Mon 12-Jan-15 09:23:18

Yes, it's not good! Bark mulch on flower beds seems to go the same way. Yuk.

shockofred Mon 12-Jan-15 09:26:31

I took up tge slabs at the edges to create two bed - one is soil with the climbers up it, the other side is gravel with pots on it. The problem is one corner is dark and dingy, and currently has a little table in it for stacking pots etc. I could lose a couple of slabs there but do you think it might affect the house brickwork? It's where the outlet pipe/drain is though, so an evergreen might be a good option? The other side has the garden gate so I can't lose any more there. I know I sound like a right pain wink

shockofred Mon 12-Jan-15 09:29:47

Thanks for the link Julia - I definitely think some thyme and chamomile could help!

shockofred Mon 12-Jan-15 09:32:13

Maud, when I first started doing the garden I covered all the new empty beds with bark chip and I was so pleased with how 'tidy' it looked. 2 weeks later the lawn and patio was covered in it too, and everytime I dug a hole to plant, I'd find a lovely gift of poo or festering critter. Thanks cats!!

MaudantWit Mon 12-Jan-15 10:09:05

Ugh, yuk!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: