Garden Answers April 2014

Create the Perfect Patio

Create the perfect patio says:

The traditional cottage garden gets an 'up-cycle' twist with this patio style. If country cottage planting seems a bit too twee for your tastes, add some rustic salvage touches to give it a more practical, masculine edge. For planters, choose recycled apple crates, zinc buckets and enamel sticks; for setting, re-spray an old rattan chair to give it a new lease of life...

What to Plant - Cottage garden planting is all about mixing flowers in every shape, size and colour with wild abandon, allowing pretty annuals such as cornflowers, nigella and poppies to self seed wherever they like. Here the colour scheme is more restrained using purple and white plants for dramatic effect.

Alliums in purple and white have been used to create a visual rhythm around the seating area, with delicate white stocks contrasting with stems of black elder, sambucus 'Black Lace'.

Also try a selection of dusky pink plants such Verbena bonariensis, hollyhocks, foxgloves and astrantias to create a soothing sea of colour come midsummer. For front of border, have frothy alyssum (lobular) tumbling over your patio pavers.

Finishing Touches - Choose Rustic and homemade elements such as recycled planters, rope or wicker border edging, ceramic wall pots.

Add wooden crates as plant staging or shelves. A rusty storm lantern can be hung on a patio wall to boost light levels at dusk. Don't forget to welcome the wildlife in with bird feeders and a mini beast hotel made from recycled treasures. An old gardening sieve makes the ideal sedum display feature too.


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