If you’re looking for a way to grow food that doesn’t involve a half acre of land and a strong back, consider setting up a patio vegetable garden.All you need to start growing today is a sunny spot on a relatively level surface, some containers, potting soil, and the right veggies.In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of setting up and maintaining a patio vegetable garden of your own.As a horticulturist, I grow dozens of containers filled with veggies on my patio every season, but there’s no need to create something so extensive.Thankfully, patio vegetable gardening isn’t super expensive, nor does it require a ton of labor beyond the initial set up.Yes, you will have to care for your plants all season long (more on how to do this in a bit), but maintenance is minimal when compared to an in-ground garden.That means when seeking out the ideal site for a patio vegetable garden, choose a location that receives a minimum of 8 hours of full sun per day.Feel free to set up the garden on a porch, deck, driveway, parking pad, or patio.Leafy green vegetables, like lettuce, kale, and chard, and some root crops, like carrots and radish, grow fine with as little as 4 to 6 hours of sun.However, if you’d like to grow heat-loving vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, beans, and squash, you’ll want to choose the sunniest spot possible.Use wheeled planters and pot dollies to move the containers from one side of the patio to the other each day to increase their light exposure.Another feature to be on the lookout for when choosing where to put your patio vegetable garden is a water source.10-15 gallons minimum for each extra-large vegetable, such as full-sized indeterminate tomatoes, winter squash, pumpkins, melons, and artichokes.This includes peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, dwarf blueberry bushes, cucumbers, summer squash/zucchini, and bush-type winter squash varieties.This includes kohlrabi, lettuce, kale, chard, collards, spinach, true micro tomatoes, and other greens.Making my own potting soil for my patio vegetable garden saves me a lot of money every year.Patio vegetable gardens can be really beautiful when planted in gorgeous colorful pots.Fill the pots and then stack them on top of each other to create a tiered food fountain for a corner of the patio or deck.Fill the pots with a mixture of edible greens, herbs, and compact tomato and pepper varieties.If you’re on a budget, consider growing your patio vegetable garden in repurposed milk crates.To grow multiple layers and maximize space, stack the crates checkerboard-style to create a “wall” of vegetable plants.They come in a range of sizes and have a removable drain plug so you don’t have to drill holes in the bottom for drainage.Each stock tank can house multiple plants and become a patio vegetable garden in just an hour or two.Once your patio containers have been planted, it doesn’t mean it’s time to sit back and relax.Watering is always the biggest maintenance task when growing a patio vegetable garden.Many vegetables produce better when regularly harvested, including beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini. .
Easy DIY Backyard Patio Installation – our Step-by-Step Guide
Incorporate a stone patio into your backyard or garden for an easy outdoor room.The hard surface gives patio furniture firm footing, so you can create a seating ensemble for outdoor dining, morning coffee, or simply relaxing with friends.Bricks, pavers, or flagstones all create sturdy and attractive stone patio designs.Bricks or pavers in straight or gently curving patterns typically work well for an easy DIY patio.Rotate the pieces until they fit together, working to create a nearly uniform space between the stones.Lay a garden hose on the ground or use stakes and mason line to define the shape of your DIY patio.If you're undecided about the best size for your new space, build a slightly larger patio than you were intending.Using a sharp garden spade shovel ($32, The Home Depot), remove the sod and soil at the patio location.Use a wheelbarrow to transport the excess soil to a compost pile, a low spot in the yard, or along the foundation.Landscape fabric is fairly inexpensive and easy to install, so this weed control method is well worth it.Add gravel or limestone paver base to the excavated area and spread it to form a 6-inch-deep layer over the entire patio space.If using limestone paver base, use a garden hose to lightly wet the material.Again, use a tamper or plate compactor to create a smooth surface for your DIY patio.Large gaps between stones invite weed seeds to germinate and add to the uneven nature of the patio surface.After all the bricks, pavers, or flagstones are in place, spread polymeric jointing sand over the patio.Water the surface with a fine mist from a garden hose to encourage the sand to sink into the spaces between the stones.Repeat the process of adding sand, sweeping, and watering about a week after construction to ensure a durable finish for your DIY patio. .
Gardening on Concrete With Raised Beds and Patio Containers
Two important things you need to keep in mind when building raised beds on hard surfaces are drainage and staining.To ensure your raised bed won’t get waterlogged once installed, perform a simple test.Once that’s completed, install your bed on the ground and set a level on top of one of the long sides.Once you’ve installed your raised garden bed, monitor the surrounding area for leakage.However, ensure your soil has enough organic matter to absorb excess moisture or it might end up waterlogged.The Royal Horticultural Society recommends laying at least three inches of coarse gravel or stones covered with a geotextile membrane beneath a raised bed built over concrete or pavement.When building raised garden beds on top of hard surfaces, ensure a depth of at least 18 inches. .
How to Build a Raised Garden Bed on Concrete, Patio, or Hard
Are you dreaming of homegrown veggies, herbs, and flowers – but the only space you have for a garden bed is on concrete, a patio, or other hard surface?Or perhaps you’re like us and have a good-sized yard, but want to maximize growing space by adding raised garden beds on your hardscape areas as well.Read along to learn tips and best practices for building a raised garden bed on concrete or other hard impervious surfaces.In this example, I’ll show you how we prepped a new wood raised garden bed to go on top of our asphalt driveway.Finally, we’ll also cover alternate options for putting planter boxes on hard surfaces – such as self-contained pots and beds.Keep in mind that installing a raised garden bed on top of a deck may cause staining or water damage, unless drainage is controlled.Instead, we create a wire and fabric “basket” or bottom on our raised bed to both contain the soil but also promote drainage.If our example doesn’t suit your situation, read the “alternative options” for more ideas to add growing space to your patio, deck, or other hardscape area!Homestead and Chill gains a small commission from purchases made through those links, at no additional cost to you.Here is one alternate design that we’ll talk about near the end of the article: an elevated and mobile raised planting box.Even more, building a raised garden bed on top of concrete or other hard impervious surfaces brings about a whole new set of considerations.Instead, you’d likely want to protect your deck by using an elevated raised bed kit, or one that has a solid bottom and contained drainage system.On the other hand, the steps we used to modify our newest driveway garden bed will work well on top of concrete, asphalt, pavers, or similar surfaces.There is a common misconception that putting a raised garden bed on concrete or other hard surfaces will prevent it from draining well.A well-built raised garden bed on concrete will actually drain faster than one sitting snugly down within the soil of your yard.Well, excess runoff from your raised bed will run to wherever rain water usually collects on your hard surface.), quality soil (one with both adequate drainage but also good moisture retention), and the right bed height (taller is better!Most common vegetable plants need a minimum of 12 inches of soil to grow big and healthy.In fact, many plants prefer 18 to 24 inches or deeper, including tomatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant, and even kale.With a traditional in-ground garden or raised beds open to the soil below, roots can grow deep and uninhibited.In contrast, putting a raised garden bed on concrete is essentially like creating a large pot or container.All that said, I suggest a minimum depth of 12 inches (preferably 18”) for any raised bed that will be put on a hard surface.Stacking four 2×6” boards to make a 22 to 24-inch deep bed is also great, but will take a lot more soil to fill.When it comes to filling a garden bed on concrete, invest in high-quality soil and compost to help compensate for the shallower root space.I suggest using a combination of some potting soil, some general planting or raised bed mix, and plenty of compost.Mulching the soil surface also increases moisture retention and reduces your need to water as frequently.It isn’t the best idea to add soil straight into a garden bed directly on top of concrete.I have heard it may slightly increase the pH of your soil over time when in direct contact with concrete.If you need any pointers here, please check out our detailed “How to Design & Build a Raised Garden Bed” tutorial.Next, we are going to line the inside bottom of the raised bed frame with hardware cloth wire fencing material.The hardware cloth serves as a sturdy and durable bottom for the bed, which landscape fabric will lay on top of next.It would also be easy to accidentally tear the fabric open on rough ground, such as when you’re setting the bed in place or if you ever move it.I’ve also found it helpful to stand inside the bed and step on the wire to press it into place.The common thin stretchy black plastic-like stuff will rip into shreds over time and make a huge gross mess.Add the landscape fabric to the inside bottom of the bed in a similar manner as the hardware cloth.It is important to leave the fabric very loose rather than taut, to provide give as it rests against the hardware cloth for support.Because there shouldn’t be much weight pulling down on the fabric, we simply used a staple gun to secure the cloth in place around the inner lower perimeter of the bed.When adding the landscape fabric to the bottom of the bed, I made sure we had plenty of excess and it sat loosely inside.I also pushed down on it, keeping the fabric flat against the bottom as I attached it, to ensure the staples wouldn’t pop out from being overly tight once soil was added.If this style and example doesn’t work in your situation for whatever reason, there are still a TON of other options to garden on a patio, deck, balcony, driveway, or other hardscapes!Others have a fully solid bottom and an internal drainage collection system, and you can direct runoff with a hose or valve.In fact, we have built our standard raised bed design and added a wood bottom on a few occasions!We drilled several large half-inch drainage holes in the bottom, before lining the interior with landscape fabric and adding soil.We chose this style because we wanted to elevate the small beds on heavy-duty furniture dollies with wheels, making them mobile.Otherwise, we personally avoid adding wood bottoms since they do inevitably inhibit some drainage and are prone to rotting over time.Plan to make beds that you wish to elevate on legs or dollies smaller than ones you’d put on the ground (either in depth, or width and length).We heavily rely on fabric pots or grow bags to supplement our raised bed gardening space. .