Advice on starting a garden in my patio ?

Joyce Pace asks: Advice on starting a garden in my patio ?
So outside of my condo we have a little patio/porch area surrounded by a fence, one side is cement and the other side is just dirt and rocks. This is MY personal space.

It looks so ugly over there, but apparently my landlord said that nothing can grow in that dirt area and if I were to plant plants there they have to stay in a pot because it won’t grow in the ground. I looked at some of my neighbors patio/porch area and one has fake grass on there area, the other has it completely cemented.

I don’t understand much about planting/gardening but all I know is that the dirt area in my patio is hideous. I was thinking about putting something there like some grass or anything but I don’t know !
I really like flowers but I guess that idea is shot.
Can someone give some advice to a clueless gardener ??

The answer voted best is:

Answer by hearthecatsmeow
Put some mulch over the dirt area. Fake grass is terrible. Get you some plastic pots. I don’t know how much room you actually have but get you three pots if you can. Three different sizes would be great. It is fall here so about the only thing you could put in them right now would be pansies. You may still be able to find them. In Spring you can put a tall plant in the middle of your pot and medium size and cascading plants around the sides. It will be beautiful. Make sure your pots have drainage holes. You should only have to water a little this time of year but more when it warms. Put some mulch in your pots too after you plant to hold in moisture. Be sure and buy a good potting mix for your pots or organic soil if you can find some. I know you can’t compost very well in an apartment.

Your landlord is probably right about nothing growing there. The soil is poor quality and probably not even thick enough to support healthy plants. Hey, you can even plant tomatoes if you have sun!

Whatever you plant will depend on shade and sun of course. But you can work from there. Make all the neighbors jealous with your great new patio!

EDIT: I had a dream last night of your patio and I saw you sitting their on a little bench with hanging baskets hanging from the edges of your eaves. It was so cute.
Ed must of thought of it in real life instead of a dream though.

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  1. I usually like green n colorful places!!
    But since u can’t go with the ‘grass’ option, u must cement n then paint your floor with floor paints in a single color if u like! Then, u may put a small bench n around it u may put up hanging pots with colorful flowers n u may also use artificial green grass-wall at the back of your bench or sitting area !!
    Hope u like it!!

  2. The area might have poor soil but I bet the issue is light, not soil. It’s probably in the shadow of a building most of the time. Weeds will grow wherever there’s sun and moisture, so if there’s no weeds, the area must not get enough light.

    You said the area was just dirt and rocks. How big are the rocks? Big rocks, you can do something with, lots of small rocks, not so much, unless you pile them in interesting ways. You could plant shade-tolerant ground covers like baby’s tears between the rocks, with ferns here and there for accent. Heucheras (coral bells) are shade-tolerant, they have rosettes of green or reddish leaves, and send up flower stalks with clusters of small pink or white flowers. If you pick the right plants, it could work. Putting some good compost in the holes when you plant them will help.

    You’d have to make sure the plants get enough water, especially in the first week or two after transplanting, but a shady area won’t need constant water once the plants are established.

  3. It may be a little harder to find plants that grow well in a rocky soil. If your soil is really rocky, where it seems there are more rocks then soil, you may want to think about using bought soil to raise the beds for gardening. If your soil is just somewhat rocky than there are some best plants you can plant in your rocky soil. Some trees include junipers, pines and aloe plants have a far reaching root systems. All these plants will do well in the rocky soil because they have far reaching roots that can go beyond the rock and find the soil.

    If you want to plant a variety of plants whether they do well in rocky soil or not you will need to make more of an effort in getting the soil prepared. You will have to raise the bed by adding more plant friendly soil along with mulch and compost. This is time consuming and can be expensive.

  4. Agree with Farm, how much (or little) light the area receives should determine what plants you choose.

  5. You could possibly do a raised bed garden.Buy some planting soil. make your own compost in your kitchen.

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