The patio or outside room as it's become, is very popular and suits today's inside-outside lifestyle with plants and colours tying it all together. Dressing the patio for a function or for a few weeks and then changing out the plants that are finished is an international trend becoming more popular in SA. Here are our tips for a stunning party ready patio.
Add instant colour
Most outdoor rooms are patios and as such a lot of the space to dress the patio with plants and colour is in containers. What we are seeing more and more is flowering plants being used as decor and as such match the colour scheme.
Table bowls planted up with colour or just a large bowl used as an over pot where one can drop in seasonal colour without replanting is the way to go. Larger containers anchor your look with a focal plant or something striking as a centre piece. Around them fill in with colour or create combos to really catch your guest's eye.
Ready to go to suit your style we like Kalanchoe, Impatiens, Begonias and Gerbera. Poinsettias will do very well outside on the patio for December as long as they are in the shade. The idea is to get a few weeks of stunning and then to throw them out and replace with the next batch. This keeps your patio dressed as the seasons pass.
Think of planting up your containers as if they were flower arrangements. So no gaps and instant is the key. Colour combos or leaf texture work well. The idea is to add things you like and to mix and match. Classic combos of lime and green with touches of purple foliage with a few impatiens or begonias in between are one of my personal favourites. Use Coleus, Little Ruby as well as trailing Muehlenbeckia to cascade over the edge.
For more sunny combos use a mixture of Durranta Gold with some Diamond Euphorbia along with some succulents to get an opulent look.
The thing to remember with combos is to plant up for now and not for long term. After a few weeks pull out the tired ones and add some filler in between.
We want more!
If you're decorating the patio especially for a function then more is definitely more. Impact is best gained from repeating a combo or plant. For summer one can look at the Mona Lavender Plectranthus which is one of the most popular indigenous flowering perennials. After the flowers are done move them into the garden where they will fill a shady spot.
Containers are as much part of the process as the plants but they of course last longer as permanent additions to the decor. What I do like is to have a few smaller bowls which can be changed out to suit the table and the candles.
Terracotta is always a good choice on the patio. The clay absorbs water and then releases it back into the soil as needed and they are made from the earth so they bring an element of organic and natural to the space. That said a blue or green glazed pot and even a black or grey one will add a touch glossy opulence to your outdoor room.
TIP: sometimes you don't need to plant out your combos. Simply keep them in their pots and dress the edges with some moss or coir to complete the look. This makes it easier to change out one or two and less soil mess on the patio.