Shop our year end clearance and SAVE! Shop Now!

Gardening on a Deck or Patio

If you really only use your deck to keep the recycling bins out of the kitchen, you're missing a great opportunity. With a little planning and a few choice plants, a deck can become the heart of your garden, instead of just a useful extension of the house.

When you arrange plants in pots on a deck and plant a flower bed around it, you're tying the spaces in your yard together. Large flowerpots have the most impact, and they also need less frequent watering than plants in small containers. Plastic pots that resemble weathered terra-cotta are lightweight and easy to move around.

On a sunny deck, fill pots with long-blooming annual flowers and tropicals that can take the summer heat. A pot of herbs mixed with marigolds looks great, or try a dramatic flourish of purple fountain grass or ornamental millet, striped-leaf cannas, or a combination of verbenas, nasturtiums, zinnias, and lantanas.

On decks shaded by house walls or trees, plant hostas, caladiums, or lush ferns in pots. White impatiens sparkle in dappled light and bloom all summer long. Small hydrangeas also look elegant in pots in light shade.

If the deck is on the west side of your house, a trellis or an arbor will cast some pleasant shade on hot summer afternoons. Flowering vines soften the architecture of these structures. Morning glories (or moon flower) are easy to grow; ornamental gourds or feathery cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) will also cover an arbor in no time. They can all be grown in pots.

A garden on a deck should be just as interesting and well designed as one in the ground. Incorporate fragrance in the design by planting heliotropes, flowering tobacco (Nicotiana), herbs, or roses. Add water: a fountain or pond beside a deck may be close enough to appreciate, or you could plug in a small, self-contained bubbling fountain. Plant milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), salvias, lantanas, and butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to a deck, so you can enjoy them up close.

A deck is part of both the house and the garden. It gets you out into the air and gives you a convenient and comfortable place from which to appreciate your handiwork in the rest of the garden. Once it is properly planted and furnished, you're likely to spend much more time outside, and you’ll have a fresh view of the nice combinations of blooms in your flowerbeds. A well-planted and furnished deck opens up your perspectives.

Personalize Your Site:

Enter your zip code to:

  • Find your growing zone.
  • See best products for your region.
  • Show accurate product shipping dates.
Clear my Zip Code

Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Everyone knows lawn clippings, dead leaves and vegetable scraps can be tossed on to the compost pile to ultimately become rich organic matter for enhancing garden soil. But did you know there is a long list of other materials that will enhance a compost pile? Try tossing the following organic recyclables onto the compost heap:
    • dryer lint (especially from cotton towels, sheets and clothing)
    • dog or cat fur (great for owners of golden retrievers!)
    • cereal and cracker boxes (take out the wax paper liner, rip cardboard into strips and moisten before adding to compost pile)
    • shredded newspaper
    • ground corn stalks
    • wood chips
    • sawdust
    • rinsed seaweed
    • guinea pig or hamster manure (plus natural-material bedding)
    Never compost dog or cat waste, bones, oil, grease, fat, invasive weeds, wheat with seeds or wood ashes.