Small Patio Container Garden Ideas

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Discover the best small patio container garden ideas to transform your outdoor space. Learn tips on plant selection, container choice, and space optimization for a lush, vibrant space the whole family can enjoy.

lavender planted in container_

Planning a container garden for a small patio can be a rewarding way to enhance your outdoor space. However, in order for your garden to thrive, there are a few things that must be considered before you begin. But first, there’s one important aspect that needs to be decided in the very beginning.

Ask Yourself This Question

Here is the question you need to ask yourself before you do anything: “What will make me happy?”

patio container garden mint with garden marker

That’s probably not where you thought we were going to start! But it’s such an important question. If growing flowers and experiencing the joy of all those colorful blooms is what will make you smile, definitely plant flowers. If that sounds like too much work and upkeep, perhaps scale it down to a mixture of annuals and herbs. If growing vegetables and fruits is what makes your heart sing, do that.

rosemary in round pot with garden marker

For me, this year I needed something simple. Physically, I wasn’t up to buying and maintaining a bunch of new plants. (I’m OK…just feeling old!) So to make the process something I could still enjoy, I decided to plant herbs and lavender, with a few petunias thrown in for some more color. I used the five large planters I showed you last year, plus some smaller ones in a new portable raised bed. It took hardly any time at all to get everything arranged, and my herbs are growing like mad…but more on that later. Let’s get back to our decisions and choices.

planters with lavender in front of white picket fence

Things To Consider When Planning Your Containers

Plant Selection

  • Choose plants suitable for your climate zone.
  • Determine how much sunlight your patio receives, and this in turn will help you decide which plants to grow.
  • Select plants that won’t outgrow their containers quickly, and can thrive in confined spaces.
  • Consider plants that grow well together in the same container, and have similar water and light needs.
herbs and petunias in portable raised garden bed

Space Optimization

  • Remember to use trellises, hanging baskets, or wall-mounted planters to take advantage of vertical space.
  • Use pots with wheels to easily move and rearrange your planters.
patio container garden ideas lavender in planters with st. francis statue


Plan for the total cost of containers, soil, plants, and any additional tools or accessories. A few more things to consider are ongoing costs for water, fertilizer, and possible replacements of plants.

lavender in planter with st. francis statue

Personal Preference

  • Grow what you love, whether it’s flowers, herbs, vegetables, or a mix.
  • Plan your garden so it reflects your own personal style. Choose colors that will make you happy, and pots you will use year after year.
patio container garden with portable planter

Types Of Containers

Shop for containers that are large enough to accommodate the root systems of your chosen plants. (When in doubt, go bigger!) Make sure all containers have adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogged roots. Consider the container material. Choose something that retains moisture, is weather-proof, and durable.

planters with lavender in front of white picket fence

Individual Planters

Using individual containers for gardening is smart because they provide versatility and ease of maintenance. If they aren’t too big, you can move them around to optimize sunlight exposure, and protect plants from harsh weather. With individual containers, you can customize soil and watering needs, so each plant grows strong and healthy. Plus, they add a decorative touch to any space, making your garden both functional and beautiful.

small patio container garden in portable raised planter

Portable Raised Garden Beds

Using portable garden beds is a smart idea because they offer flexibility and convenience. You can put them in an ideal spot to take advantage of the best sunlight and weather conditions. Portable garden beds are great for small spaces since they can be arranged to fit your patio, deck, or balcony. You can literally create a lovely and efficient gardening space anywhere.

Bottomless Raised Garden Beds

This year, I almost traded in my individual planters for two bottomless raised garden beds. I was so close! In the end, I talked myself out of it because of the extra effort needed to get them set up, the amount of soil required to fill them, and the number of plants it would take to make them look lush and full. I was going to place them directly on the stones, where the individual planters are. I still think they are a great option if you want a bigger gardening space. Maybe next year!

lavender in containers with bags of potting soil patio container garden ideas

Can I Reuse Potting Soil?

Yes…but here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • First, it’s important to revive old potting soil by amending it with either compost, manure, or even fresh, fertilized potting soil. You will need a large plastic bin or wheelbarrow. Mix old potting soil with the same amount of compost, manure, or fresh soil. (A 50-50 blend.) Stir and shovel it around so it’s mixed very well.
  • Alternately, you can add granulated fertilizer to old potting soil. Follow the directions on the fertilizer container for how much to add, and how often.
small patio container garden and seating area 1

Combine A Container Garden With Seating

It makes sense to plan your outdoor space to be multifunctional by combining a container garden with comfortable seating. Here are some things to consider:

  • The plants add color and texture, making the space beautiful. Being surrounded by greenery provides a calm and refreshing atmosphere. How better to relax?
  • When you host family and friends, the garden will not only provide a pleasant outdoor setting, it will be a topic of conversation.
  • Tall plants grouped together act as a natural barrier, providing privacy, and sometimes shade.
  • Being in a green space reduces stress and improves your mood. Plus the actual act of tending the garden is relaxing and rewarding.
  • A well-designed patio and container garden will definitely enhance the overall look of your home.
patio seating polywood braxton arm chairs (1)

How To Add Your Own Personal Style


One of the easiest ways to add your own touch to your outdoor space is to choose furniture that you love. Make sure it’s comfortable, and will stand up to the elements. TIP: if you don’t have an indoor storage space for your outdoor furniture, it’s a great investment to purchase covers. We protect our table and chairs with this cover during the winter months, and even after four years, our table and chairs look like new.

lavender with ceramic plant marker

Plant Markers

Plant markers are not only functional, they can be beautiful as well. Since this year I chose to use planters I already had, I treated myself to new and colorful herb markers. The sky is the limit when it comes to styles available, so choose what makes you happy.

white outdoor chair blue pillow jar of flowers

Pillows + Tableware

When choosing pillows for your outdoor space, opt for weather-resistant fabrics that won’t fade. Look for vibrant colors and patterns to add a cheerful vibe, and pillows with removable covers for easy cleaning are a must. For tableware, select durable, shatterproof materials like melamine or acrylic, which are perfect for outdoor use. Choose coordinating colors and designs that complement your outdoor decor, creating a warm and welcoming space. Tip: if you have pillow covers and tableware that you’ve used inside for a long time, think about taking them outside. It’s a great way to use what you have, but by using them outside instead of inside, they will seem fresh and new.

tray of refreshments and flowers on outdoor table

Creating a small patio container garden is a fun and rewarding way to enjoy nature right at home. By choosing the right plants, containers, and adding a comfortable seating area, you can transform your patio into a beautiful and relaxing space. All it takes is a little planning, minimal effort, and some time!


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One Comment

  1. Love the idea of container gardening.I just added some new plants to the front of the house,lavender and crotons,supposedly deer don’t eat them,so far so good.