It is quite possible to turn even an unpromising space into an attractive and welcoming outdoor area by building a patio on it. It does not even need to be immediately adjoining your house. It is quite possible to build a patio outside a greenhouse or beside a pond. You can build a patio in the middle of your vegetable garden or in your orchard if you want to. A paved area on which you can sit and relax, have a barbecue, put some pot plants â it can go wherever you want.
However, the patio designer is normally looking at an area which becomes an extension of the house out of doors. Typically, you walk onto your patio through French windows from your house.
The Mosaic Patio
This is a patio surrounded by walls as in a city house with only a tiny outside area. On the patio is laid a decorative mosaic pavement. Mosaic pavements are hard wearing, withstanding both rain and traffic. There are, after all, mosaics in Europe that are two thousand years old. This is a high budget patio for those who either have the gifts themselves or can afford to employ a craftsman to lay the mosaic and who are interested in having a patio which is completely unique and a work of art. The mosaic is a geometric design or is realistic with fish and waves or plants and trees. The possibilities are endless. The principle behind this patio is that the greenery is all on the walls, and the pavement is left empty. It is a patio on which you look down from above and is well suited to a narrow city house. You can of course put outdoor furniture on the mosaic pavement, but nothing else. No tubs, no pots, nothing. The pavement stops about 18 inches from the walls. Trellises are fixed to the walls and up them are grown a variety of climbing plants which are rooted in a good compost along the base of the wall. Use well weathered bricks as an edging between this bed and the pavement.
The Landscape Patio
In this patio, the area has plants in containers, leaving only narrow paths between them. The landscape patio is for looking into, not for sitting in. The principle of the landscape patio is that it should give a false sense of perspective. This is done by placing a few taller plants closer to the house, medium plants in the middle, and shorter plants further away leaving plenty of space between them so that the eye can travel down the patio. The taller plants close to the house are small trees, about five or six feet in height â cherries and almonds are excellent â so that the foliage is above and you can see past the bare trunks. Other containers with ground cover plants and thick carpets of mosses are placed between the main plants to give a natural effect. The result of the diminishing size is to give much greater depth to the patio. The back wall is painted white and have a few light creepers climbing across it â morning glory flowers are ideal for a situation like this.
The Productive Patio
This is the patio for those who have only a patio and miss having a real garden. Actually a patio can be every bit as productive as a small garden and is much easier to maintain because you do not have other people's weed seeds blowing into it. It is a container patio. Clay or wooden containers will give better results than the modern plastic ones.
Beans and peas are grown up the trellised walls with their roots in growbags - the only concession to plastic. Pots of marigolds are everywhere, because they attract bees and help the pollination of the other plants. Tomatoes, peppers, both hot and sweet, aubergines, black and white, and cucumbers are grown in a happy profusion. Trays of lettuce and other salad plants are on a rack against a wall. Pots of herbs fill every available space. Even carrots and potatoes can be grown in tubs. The garden is not too formal; the effect is meant to be that of a cottage garden, and on a summer day, when the bean and pea flowers and marigolds are full of bees, the happy owner will believe that that is exactly what it is!