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How to Turn Your Patio Into Garden Oasis

Turn your outdoor space into an oasis with the right mix of plants

Fine Gardening – Issue 170
The kitchen may be the heart of a home, but for most of us, the patio is the center of the backyard. Whether we use it as a place for conversation, a second dining room, or simply an outdoor oasis to relax and unwind in, a thoughtfully planned border will bring out the best in this important piece of real estate. The right mix of plants will engage the senses, ground a patio without closing it in, and in larger yards, provide a lush transition to the lawn and gardens beyond.

To provide quiet contrast to colorful perennials, add some structural workhorses. Low-growing shrubs in the 2- to 5-foot range are ideal for the job—and for adding foliage color or scent. To avoid overwhelming the space, consider dwarf versions of classic favorites like ‘Newport Dwarf’ escallonia (Escallonia ‘Newport Dwarf’, Zones 7–9) or dwarf myrtle (Myrtus communis ‘Compacta’, Zones 9–11).

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