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Too much patio!

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Question from Louise Wheeler


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We have a West facing patio (7 x 5 metres approx) made of Cotswold stone slabs edged with dark sets which then continues in smaller reddish sets down the side of the house and into drive at the front of the house. It was all built about 4 years ago just before we moved into the house so is in good condition. Unfortunately no planting spaces have been left anywhere in the paving so I rely totally on using plants in pots. I keep buying bigger & bigger containers which seem enormous in the garden centre but when placed on the expanse of patio just don't make much impact. On the shady North fence of the patio I've got large hostas and last Spring planted a Fatshedera X lizei grown in a large ceramic trough to try & cover the long fence. Unfortunately after bad aphid attack last summer & a lot of frost damage it looks unlikely to do the job. Are pot grown climbers the wrong approach? I've considered lifting up some areas for planting but my husband is reluctant as he thinks it may unsettle the rest of the stones and that there may be concrete underneath anyway. Whilst useful for the kids to scoot, sand table, table & chairs etc I'd love some ideas on how to soften the look of the whole area, preferably adding much needed contrast in height. The long south facing fence along the side of the house (partly shaded) is also very stark.. The photo shows South facing kitchen wall of patio and how small and low everything seems to look!
Many thanks in advance.

Too much patio!

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  • Views: 641
  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Sun. 21st February 2010 11:26

Thanks for your question!

Reply from Nicola

Hi Louise, Thanks for your post. Our experts will be on hand this coming Thursday to answer all:-)

Have a great Sunday. :-) Nicola

  • Posted: Sun. 21st February 2010 11:58

Softening the patio

Reply from Anna Taylor

Hi Louise,
I think you know the answer ! Bigger pots for bigger plants. You need to buy pots that are more appropiate for the scale of the wall and paved area. This will also have the advantage of a large enough area for larger plants to grow good root systems and establish with more nutrients available to them. Be sure to water well, especially in the hot dry weather, but also windy days when the pots will dry out quickly. I would consider lifting part of the patio along the wall as it looks in the photo that there is no drainage gap between the wall and paving. This is important to stop rain splashing up on the walls and causing damp issues - the walls look like there is a little damp there. If this is the case, I would recommend taking up the paving here, minimum of a few inches, but if you took up one or one and half paving slabs, you would have a lovely border to grow plants in. Or to appease your husband you could place pots on top of gravel here, to help drainage and give some structure to the area. I think one long bespoke planter the length of the wall about 45cms wide and tall would be great here and if substanial enough could be extra seating.

Pot grown climbers are fine so long as they have enough room to grow, watered and mulched.

Hope this helps to start.

  • Posted: Thu. 25th February 2010 19:47