This year you’ve vowed to spend less money and enjoy your back yard more: with playtime in the garden instead of at the mall…veggies harvested from your own plants instead of produce picked from the store…cookouts on the grill instead of dine-ins somewhere else…and sitting among the flowers instead of sitting with the TV. It’s a great goal to have – so where do you start?

Design by Function Rose Patio Screen

Imagine enjoying an outdoor dinner on a perfect summer evening among the roses…no reservation required.

View and print a larger version of this design.

Look no farther than your patio.

No matter what your property size, it’s the setting you create on and around your patio that brings an otherwise boring slab to life – and helps sets the mood of your entire outdoor living experience. What’s more, “outdoor living space” is one of the top three criteria that realtors and homebuyers look for in a landscape. So just think of what a well-designed patio garden can do for your property value!

A simple and affordable way to dress up your patio is to create a small living screen off the side of it. As shown in this design, roses make a wonderful choice. A small grouping of your favorite landscape roses brings color and privacy to a space, as well as surrounds you and your guests with blooming beauty as you dine or relax from your outdoor table. (Fragrant roses can especially enhance the experience.) Installing a water fountain or placing a unique sculpture among your roses enhances the mood and brings increased interest to the space.

But roses are only part of what makes this design so enchanting. Groundcovers serve as living mulch in the landscaped bed, while a flowering tree brings height to the mix. Container plants grouped on the patio completes the look. The result is a stunning and relaxing outdoor extension of your kitchen that rivals any restaurant’s outdoor seating area…only you don’t need a reservation to get in!

Even if you have the smallest patio in the universe, you can still create the biggest impact by using a few container roses and some smaller inground plantings. Clever planning can also allow for great interest each season: With colorful rose hips in fall and winter, cool-season pansies and bright summer annuals, you can create year-round interest to your patio garden – even when you can only enjoy it by looking out the window in winter. As long as the plants you select are ones that fit the appropriate function in the design and will thrive under your particular property conditions (drought-tolerant plants for your drought-tolerant area, sun-loving species for sun-loving locations, etc.), you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your back yard just as you’ve intended – and beyond.

Remember, when you shop for plants, pick the ones you like that match the functions identified on the plan!