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Bringing your patio to life with plants

Summer is here and chances are you’re spending a sizable amount of time soaking up the sun in your backyard on the patio! Dressing up your outdoor space with a variety of annual and perennial plants is an easy way to keep the space looking colourful and inviting all season long. When it comes to deciding what to plant, there are a few important things to consider before getting started.

Arguably the most important thing to consider is how much sun your space gets, and what time of day the sun hits the space. When a plant label specifies full sun, that typically means over 6 hours per day, while part sun or part shade is about half of that. 

Be sure to check what Hardiness zone you’re in to make sure a plant fits your specific climate. Canada’s hardiness map is divided into 9 zones, with the Greater Toronto Area generally considered to be between zones 5 and 6. Some great perennials for these zones include delphinium, lilies, hollyhock, ferns, hostas, peonies and poppies. If you want to add a pop of colour that you can frequently change from season to season, annuals are for you. Great annual options for zones 5-6 include geraniums, petunias, gerbera daisies, mums, marigolds, begonias and impatiens.

If your space is limited, you can always add some greenery with table-top arrangements and planters! Herbs are brilliant plants for small spaces like balconies, not only will you have an endless supply of fresh herbs for cooking, but most herbs remain relatively small which makes them well-suited to planters. For sunny balconies, growing thyme, sage, rosemary and chives are a great option. For shady balconies, try mint, cilantro, tarragon, dill or parsley.

Whether it’s during family get-togethers or hanging out with friends, your patio space is where people gather during the summer months. Making the space inviting, lush and fragrant during this time of year will ensure that time spent outdoors is time well spent.