25 Simple Ways To Transform Your Patio With Flowers And Plants

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A patio upgrade can make your outdoor space feel so much more welcoming. There are plenty of ways to transform your patio, ranging from a full scale renovation to rearranging the furniture you already have. One often-overlooked way to redo your space is to add plants. The right foliage can make your patio feel beautifully lush and cozy. Plus, depending on the plants you choose, it can be a budget-friendly option too (it's often a fraction of the cost of a renovation). Plants can be the key element to creating an outdoor space you love, so we've rounded up some inspiration to get you started. 

You can use plants and flowers to add shade, shape, and color to a patio area. To truly transform the space, choose appealing plant types, incorporate creative layouts, and use nice planters — these are just some of the factors in the ideas ahead. You don't need a lot of gardening know-how or even a particularly green thumb to execute most of these patio plant ideas. We focused on simple projects that most people can DIY (no landscapers or gardeners needed!). Use plants and flowers to transform your patio with the ideas ahead.

Make your own natural privacy wall

Keep your patio out of sight from neighbors and passersby with a privacy wall made from plants. Using foliage to create privacy adds gorgeous lushness to your patio area and is a welcome alternative if you don't like the unnatural look of walls or fences. Of course, planting hedges and bushes around your patio is one way to do so, but an easier DIY option is to use planters. A product like the Veradek Block Series Span Planter ($139.99 from Wayfair) is designed with this type of project in mind, but you can really use any tall-enough planter to create a privacy boundary.

Decorate a plant ladder

A blanket ladder is a cozy living room decor piece, but it also has great potential if you upcycle it for the great outdoors. Use a blanket ladder outside to hold small planters. A wooden option is perfectly rustic and will blend right in with your foliage. Just keep in mind that if yours is an indoor ladder, you will need to weatherproof it for outdoor use. Use hanging flower pots to add your blooms to the ladder. Ideally, find an option with a built-in hook and drainage holes. For example, the Ogima Large Hanging Flower Pots ($25.99 on Amazon) are a good choice.

Plant a succulent garden

If you don't have much of a green thumb, don't fret — succulents are the perfect hardy patio plant. They're low maintenance, drought resistant, and come in a range of pretty varieties. Just make sure not to pair certain succulents that shouldn't grow together, and like with any outdoor plants, consider your climate. Despite their association with hot weather, there are succulent varieties that do well in cold areas, for example, varieties of sempervivums can handle temperatures down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Read our succulent planting guide for the low-down on these popular and tough plants.

Crowd plants together to create a lush corner

Gathering plants together can create a big impact, turning a section of your patio into a colorful jungle. You can easily recreate this look with potted plants. Choose a variety of plants in a range of sizes and heights to create an extra lush appearance. If you don't have many tall plants, you can also put some pots on plant stands to add eye-catching dimension. Choose plants with big leaves to provide abundant coverage. Plants like elephant ear, banana tree plants, and some varieties of palm trees are great options for greenery, and don't be afraid to incorporate some potted blooms to add color.

Place potted plants on levels

Use height to create a dimensional display around your patio. You can turn a boring cluster of potted plants into an eye-catching arrangement with a simple shelf — and clear up some floor space too. You can repurpose an old shelf you have lying around (just make sure to waterproof it for outdoor use). Otherwise, you can buy an outdoor-ready shelf like the Olivblad plant stand, a metal plant stand that costs $26.99 from IKEA. If you want a wooden shelf, another option is the Hattholmen, which costs $269.99 from IKEA.

Put together a charming decorative plant table

Instead of a shelf, you can opt for a charming wooden table. Compared to a shelf, it provides more space for you to place plants and other garden decorations. With a matching chair, it creates a cute cottagecore feel and is one adorable way to decorate your patio in an English cottage style. Choose quaint and delicate blooms to suit this aesthetic and pair them with cute birdhouses. Of course, you can style a table to fit other aesthetics as well. For example, a plain metal or concrete table and leafy plants will suit a modern patio.

Hang plants from a rack

Playing with levels can really help you make a gorgeous plant display. if you don't have the option to hang planters from overhead, you can use a hanging rack to recreate a similar look. This idea is especially great for renters, or really anyone else who can't hang plants from a ceiling. Some plant stands have a top hanging rack, like the Yiyibyus Plant Display Holder for $99.98 from The Home Depot. You can also repurpose a regular clothing rack outdoors, like the Turbo clothes rack for $49.99 from IKEA, which is designed for indoor and outdoor use.

Plant climbing foliage across a pergola

It's hard to beat the stunning appearance of blooms fanning across a pergola. The only thing better is relaxing under its dappled shade. Transform your patio into a dream garden by growing a climbing plant around your seating area. If you don't have a pergola or the means to install one, you can opt for an arbor or arched trellis, though keep in mind that most are small and can't fit a whole seating area underneath. To help you choose your flowers, we've rounded up 15 climbing plants that look beautiful in an outdoor space.

Place plants in charming cottage-inspired decorations

Matching certain plants and garden decor can give your outdoor space its character. One cozy match is delicate flowers and cottage-inspired decorations. Another project idea to create a cozy cottage-inspired patio, choose potted plants like zinnias, daisies, yarrow, and other plants that are perfect for an English cottage garden. Set them in wicker baskets, watering cans, and old-fashioned metal jugs to get a similar look. To ensure plants are draining properly, it's best to keep them in plant pots with drainage holes, and just use the outside basket or jug as decoration.

Choose a statement planter

A planter can be as decorative as the plants themselves, and that can be an advantage through the winter, when some flowers and greenery go dormant or die. It will make your patio area look even more beautiful year-round. There are planters for all decorating styles as well. They range from ornate terracotta planters, like the Clarisse Anduze Planter for $329 from Pottery Barn, to simple and sleek modern picks, like the Veradek Midland Planter for $69.99 from The Home Depot.

Matching planters always look put-together

Matching decor almost always makes a space look more put-together — it shows clear intention in your decorating choices. One easy and cheap way to match planters on a patio is with large terracotta pots, which tend to be affordable from home improvement stores. Of course, you can always invest in a planter collection; they come in a variety of styles. Some come in matching sets, like the Kante Concrete Round Planters, which comes as a set of three for $119.98 on Amazon.

Mismatched planters are just as charming

Don't count out mismatched planters! Mismatched planters can look less put-together, but maybe that's exactly the aesthetic you're going for. You'll still want the planters to fit under a similar aesthetic (whether that's a similar decor style, material, or color scheme), but you can mix and match a few types to create an eclectic display. The finished look is more casual and relaxed, plus you get to choose a variety of designs rather than having to narrow it down to one favorite planter.

Make a plant wall

If you have empty wall space that you're not sure what to do with, then cover it with plants. A well-made plant wall always looks stunning, regardless of your decor style. An easy way to make a similar display is to start with some type of wall-mounted frame. You can make your own with wood pieces, or you can buy a sturdy lattice trellis and mount it to the wall. Trellis mounting hardware kits, like the Outdoor Essentials Trellis Mount Hardware Kit for $10.97 from The Home Depot makes the mounting process easier.

Or build a hanging herb garden

This DIY project from @heycurtiscrew mounts planters on a plank of wood to create a wall-mounted herb garden. It's a relatively easy patio project and you can go beyond herbs; you can also use this idea as the base for a flower wall as well. The key is to use wall-mounted pot rings, like the Pennington Wall Mounted Pot Rings for $9.99 on Amazon. These rings are designed to hold standard small planters, so you can swap out the plants as you wish. It also means you can use plant pots with drainage holes, the best choice for keeping healthy patio plants.

Match decor and flower colors

If you have a strong patio color palette, you can make it look even stronger by matching your patio plants to your decor. With so many potted flower options, you should be able to find a plant that works for any color scheme. If you don't have a set color palette, you can also match flowers and statement pieces on your patio, for example, red outdoor couch cushions with scarlet blooms. You can easily move potted plants around and swap out accessories according to the season or you're changing tastes.

Use plants to frame an outdoor seating area

Use plants to visually anchor a patio seating area. If your patio area is sparse, it only takes a few plants to frame its boundaries. You can place plants to delineate the entrance, placing a potted plant on each side. A plant in each patio corner adds greenery to the area, while keeping it minimalist overall. If you want a lusher look, of course, you can use more plants. You can create an entire natural boundary with a row of planters.

Always have a thriving green centerpiece

Your patio seating area deserves to be as dressed up as your indoor dining table. You'll really appreciate it if you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially if you like to dine al fresco. The easiest way to make your patio table prettier is by placing a flourishing potted plant in the middle. A large leafy plant, like the fern in this photo, is impressive and simple, but you can also use a mix of flowers to create a more romantic and colorful display.

Choose a statement plant

A lot of the plant-filled patios on this list are quite busy — maybe too busy if you prefer a tidier look. Unlike a "patio jungle" or layered plants aesthetic, opt for just one large plant on a minimalist patio. An eye-catching potted tree or shrub with pretty leaves or flowers is a great choice. You'll want to select a tree type that's suitable for container gardening, for example, a plumeria tree or bonsai tree, and choose a gorgeous decorative planter as well.

Make some simple wall art with carefully placed plants

We've covered plant walls and hanging herb gardens, here's another patio plant wall idea. Instead of a mis-mash of plants, you can install a handful of well-placed plants to create a more minimalist wall art look. This patio from @forthehome does so perfectly, with a line of three bushy plants in a row that really draw the eye against a plain white wall. We like how they chose leafy plants that completely cover the planter, so it looks like the plant is growing right out of the wall.

Hanging planters are always a good idea

There's a good reason why hanging outdoor planters are so popular: you can add them to pretty much any patio space, and they almost always make it look prettier. If you can mount directly to your patio, you can use a ceiling hook or wall-mounted bracket. If you can't mount anything, there are a couple of alternatives. Outdoor Command Hooks cost $13.22 on Amazon, though they do have a light weight limit. If you have a lawn or garden beside your patio, choose a hanging stake, like the Artigarden Outdoor Shepherd Hook for $24.99 on Amazon.

Cluster colorful blooms

It's hard not to get a mood boost from a cluster of bright and colorful flowers. Recreate the beauty of a blooming flower field on one side of your outdoor seating space. If you have a garden bed beside the patio, you can plant colorful blossoms like tulips, zinnias, daffodils, and more directly into the ground. If not, choose flowers that thrive in pots, and you can cluster them in a patio corner, like in this example from @the_little_end_cottage. To get a similar look, choose plants that bloom at a similar height — it makes it look more like a little flower field on your patio.

Play with levels

Play with levels when decorating your patio. A mix of tall and short plants creates visual interest and can make your outdoor space look absolutely gorgeous. This inspiration from @sonja_ols is a great example. It incorporates small, low-to-the-ground shrubs and tall, leafy trees to create contrast between high and low. It has a lot of greenery in the middle, with taller planters and table-top plants as well. Since they're all in pots, you can always move the plants around to mix up your display.

A container garden wall can make the most stunning backdrop

This patio plant display takes a fair bit of effort, but it's truly stunning. Essentially, it's a container garden, planted along an empty wall. To get a similar appearance, it's important to choose flowers that are full and voluminous, so when they grow out, they'll completely cover the containers. This project from @caseylynnlawtence uses a mix of coleus, grass, vine, gomphrena, and salvia varieties, amongst others. Watch the full tutorial at The Lawrence Garden Farm.

Create boundaries with planters

Use planters to separate and draw clear boundaries between outdoor spaces. Not only does it look more natural than adding a wall or fence, but it can be cheaper too. It's also a solution you can DIY! There's nothing to install; you just need some tall planters suitable for the area you want to delineate. You can choose tall, leafy plants if you want to create a privacy boundary, but if not, you can use a wider variety to make a pretty planter bed.

Make a tiered flower display

We've talked about how creating levels with plants adds a lot of visual interest to a patio. This is another idea along those lines, perfect for those who want to create a layered floral display. Instead of choosing plants with substantially different heights, this project places them on a tiered display. It creates levels, but you have to pay less attention to the actual plant height. By using two different-height benches, you can arrange the flower pots to your liking.