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Decorate your outdoor space with plants

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

With summer approaching, it's time to spruce up your patio for warmer days and bright summer evenings. An outdoor space can serve multiple purposes, but the best part is enjoying the fresh air and extra room during the summer months.

Image: Charlotta Jörgensen/Inspirationordinarydays

Plan the decor for the patio

Create a pleasant and green environment by carefully selecting and arranging your plants. To avoid impulsive purchases and waste, plan your decor and purchases with long-term solutions in mind, considering both the environment and your budget. Choose pots that match your desired interior style, such as terracotta or zinc pots for a romantic touch, terracotta for a Mediterranean feel, or square pots in black, white, beige, or gray for a modern style. A few large pots and plants create a minimalist look, while many pots and plants add a romantic, rustic, or eclectic style. Start by checking second-hand stores, online marketplaces, and thrift shops for suitable items that fit your project and outdoor space, including pots, hanging planters, balcony boxes, textiles, and outdoor furniture.

For a small balcony with limited space, utilize balcony boxes, wall-mounted trellises, and hanging planters for your plants. This not only saves floor space but also creates different levels, adding variety and beautiful focal points to your balcony.

Consider different plant varieties based on your preferred interior style. For example, geraniums are suitable for a rustic style, colorful flowers and olive trees evoke a Mediterranean vibe, while boxwood and ivy complement a classic style. However, it's essential to determine if the plants thrive in the direction your outdoor space faces, ensuring their longevity and well-being. Take into account the plants' characteristics as some are more resilient and adaptable to different conditions, while others require specific amounts of sunlight or shade.

When purchasing plants or seeds, look for information provided on the plant or seed packet or consult the staff at the garden center for advice on suitable plant choices for your project and outdoor space.

Image: Charlotta Jörgensen/Inspirationordinarydays

What plants should I invest in for the patio?

When buying plants for your outdoor space, you'll need to replant them. The plastic pots they come in are usually too small, as evidenced by tightly packed roots. Use larger pots with drainage holes and fill them with expanded clay pellets to allow proper drainage and prevent waterlogging. Consider using a landscape fabric above the clay pellets to maintain drainage and facilitate reuse. Then, fill the pot with fresh soil for replanting. Ensure proper watering and regularly inspect the plants to keep them healthy. Remove any withered flowers to make room for new blooms.

Geraniums are popular plants to adorn outdoor spaces, and the most common type is the zonal geranium. It thrives in warm and sunny locations, with the soil allowed to dry slightly between waterings. It can be planted in pots, boxes, hanging planters, or garden beds. When the flowers wither, remove them to promote new growth. Geraniums are an excellent choice for achieving a rustic ambiance. The Moonlight Guido, with its orange-red petals, was named the Geranium of the Year for 2023.

Lavender is a beautiful and resilient flower that emits a pleasant scent, attracting butterflies and bees. It is often planted in garden beds but also thrives in sunny locations when potted.

An olive tree can become a stunning focal point on a sunny and sheltered balcony or outdoor space. These trees can be overwintered and prefer abundant sunlight, even during the winter months.

For a windy outdoor space, consider recommending lavender, African blue lily, fern, and bamboo.

Image: Charlotta Jörgensen/Inspirationordinarydays

Herbs are a nice addition to the patio, both for the greenery and the extra life they bring to the outdoor environment, as well as for their use in cooking. If you want to grow herbs like basil, lemon balm, mint, rosemary, chives, and thyme yourself, they should be sown indoors in the spring and then moved outside when it's warm enough.

With a balcony or a small patio and garden, you can create an extension and an additional space for your home, blurring the transition between indoors and outdoors. To achieve that feeling, there are several methods to consider, and here are some tips for creating an inviting outdoor area where birdsong and breezes become the only things distinguishing the inside from the outside.

Image Sara Guldbrandsson/SGinred

Use textiles outdoors. There are outdoor rugs that can be used on the patio to create a cozy atmosphere. Placing a rug under a small bistro set or outdoor furniture ensemble provides spaciousness and a nice foundation.

Seat cushions and pillows are available in durable materials that can withstand moisture. Incorporating plenty of textiles on your outdoor space creates a cozy and inviting ambiance. If you prefer to use regular and perhaps more delicate textiles, a basket that can accommodate them is a good solution for when they need to be brought indoors overnight. Additionally, a basket filled with textiles adds a nice decorative touch to the setup. Of course, there are also storage furniture options specifically designed for cushions and textiles, but they often require more space, which is limited on a balcony.

Image: Louise Hjorth/lojsanhjorth

Curtains have many advantages, including reducing visibility, providing blackout capabilities, and creating a cozy atmosphere. There are also curtains designed for outdoor use, which can be used to protect against the sun and strong UV rays, provide privacy, and create a sense of spaciousness. Sailcloth and other waterproof curtains, commonly used for pergolas, can be utilized on the patio to create a pleasant and sheltered space.

To blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, you can continue the same color scheme from the adjoining room to the patio. There are various color techniques to work with, and one example is using shades of similar colors, where the colors have the same intensity. Different hues, but with the same color intensity, such as pastel colors as shown in the example below. If you want to learn more about color techniques and the NCS system, we offer color composition lessons in our courses.

Lighting creates a cozy atmosphere, and for late summer evenings, it becomes particularly enchanting with a variety of lanterns, string lights, and lamps. Solar-powered lamps are available that don't require electrical outlets and work perfectly as mood lighting. These come in many different designs, such as string lights, lanterns, wall fixtures, hanging paper lanterns, and spotlights.

Image: Charlotta Jörgensen/Inspirationordinarydays

5 tips for decorating your outdoor space with plants:

  1. Plan ahead - What style do you want for your outdoor space? Choose shapes, colors, and materials for the plant pots that match your preferred interior design style. If you want to mix different styles of pots and decor, create a cohesive look by using the same or similar colors for the pots, for example.

  2. Placement - Where should you position the pots? Do you need a plant or side table, or will floor pots suffice? Large pots can be placed directly on the floor, but with many small pots, it's beneficial to group them on different surfaces to avoid a cluttered feel. Hanging planters, wall-mounted shelves, and balcony boxes are great for creating different levels and focal points.

  3. Sow or buy ready-made plants? If you haven't tried sowing your own seeds, it can be fun to give it a chance - check the seed packets for sowing instructions. With ready-made plants, you'll likely need to replant them to provide enough space for their roots to thrive and ensure their well-being.

  4. Windy, sunny, hot, north-facing - Adapt your plant selection to the conditions of your outdoor space. If it gets very hot in the summer, use sailcloths and curtains to protect both yourself and the plants from strong sunlight.

  5. Don't forget about other elements of decor needed to create a cozy outdoor space - outdoor furniture, textiles, and lighting. Consider proportions - smaller furniture for a smaller outdoor space and larger furnishings for a larger one.

Last but not least, make sure to enjoy your outdoor space!


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