Updated: Nov 27, 2018
Although patios and terraces receive their heaviest use in summer months, when the days are long and you want to spend as much as much time out of doors as possible, there will be other times of the year when you will want to use it. Also, because most patios are in full view of the house it is well worth making them look attractive all year round.
The garden may be comparatively bare in winter with much less maintenance so that gives you plenty of time to enjoy the design of the patio. Just because it is winter it does not necessarily mean that your patio be plant-free. There are a number of plants that still flower in winter, and this of course, is the time when evergreens really come into their own and look amazing.
All bulbs make excellent patio plants. They can be grown in containers, but they will enjoy thrive if they are allowed to enjoy the enhanced drainage offered by raised beds. Miniature Irises, (Iris Danfordiae) and I recticulata) look stunning very early on in the year and both will positively bloom in shallow troughs.
Clipped evergreens, such as box (Boxus) yew, bay and holly, provide formal structure in the garden during winter. However, f you would rather avoid pruning, try planting any of the dwarf conifers that naturally produce a pleasing outline without any clipping . Aurea Nana is a distinguished plant, forming a golden egg shape and holding its leaves in stiff, fan-like plates and is ideally suited for a year round patio.
Not everybody likes conifers, so if they are not to your taste or you don’t think that it would be appropriate for your patio, then you might want to consider one of the many Hebes which provide mounds of foliage. Hebe Cupressoides, or the ‘Boughton Dome’ is a wonderful curiosity. It looks like a conifer but as it’s name suggests, it grows into a perfect dome.
Finishing touches will also help to bring your patio to life so that you can enjoy it all year round. A carefully placed pot, an unusual sculpture or intriguing items of furniture can provide the accents of color and shape needed to tie the whole scheme together.
No matter what time of the year it is, design your patio so that there will always be something of interest for you and your guests to enjoy every month of the year.