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Great Small Garden Plants for Patios

A scene from a plant-filled patio

Not only is it fun but gardening is great for mental health.

If you are looking for something fun to do that's also great for your mental health, then try gardening! Here are some tips to get you started on finding the best patio garden plants.

“Patio garden plants can contribute to turning a location into a real home for you. It can give you a sense of achievement to cultivate patio garden plants or other greenery that reflect who you are.”

Gardening and garden care rate among the top ten hobbies for those who have retired, but gardening is really something everyone can enjoy (1). It can give you a sense of achievement to cultivate patio garden plants or other greenery that reflect who you are. If you are planning to put your green thumb to the test, would you know where to start and what to plant?

Below, to help you out, we list several plants you may want to consider if you want to enter the senior green thumbs community. As you read on, think about the mood you want to evoke, and which plants would be best to sprout in the space you have available.

Vibrant Annual Flowers

An outdoor garden can be a beautiful sight, no matter what the season. Although sometimes, such as during a specific season, you will want those blossoms to have a real impact on the colour of your garden. The following are a few examples of flowers that suit this mood.


There are many different hues of petunia available, so you should be able to find some options no matter the colour scheme of your home (2). When they bloom, their close-knit flowers create a very stark image in your garden.

If you prefer higher garden options, some petunias work very well in hanging baskets. Their trailing blossoms can hide the basket itself, creating an explosion of colour.


These might only last a year, but they make up for it with the potential size they can grow to. They have a wonderful burnt orange colour that resembles a beautiful sunset, sticking around from spring to fall.

If you are not a fan of pests during the summer, you are also in luck as these flowers can help repel them, giving you a more relaxing season.

Perennials for Every Year

These are wonderful options for retirement living as you will not need to replant them every year. Instead, you can plan out your patio garden once and then enjoy it as you tend it each time the flowers return.


These are very hardy plants (3). If you are searching for a more low-maintenance approach to looking after your garden, this flower will remain for a long time no matter what happens.

Much like several of the others on this list, daylilies come in many colours. They also often display multiple colours in a single bloom, creating a beautiful array of different hues.


Towering over their leaves, these shoots of flowers add a sense of depth and texture to any garden. If you are a fan of hummingbirds, they are also perfect as attractors. The flower often draws in these birds, giving you a wonderful sight as they feed.

Dwarf Plants for Patios

If you list yourself among other senior green thumbs, you are likely aware you might not have complete freedom in tending a garden. Depending on the space you have, you might need to make compromises on any patio you have access to. These plants compensate for that with their size.

Miniature Dahlias

Dahlias are wonderful plants, decorating an area in a cornucopia of colour. Sadly, they often grow a little large, blocking out other flowers in an area. By using miniature dahlias, you overcome this and can enjoy the beauty of their vibrant hues.

Miniature Evergreens

These small bushes are great to add volume to the area you tend to. Planted in a pot, they will grow outwards and upwards enough for you to feel like you have your own small tree. It’s as though you are doing your part to make the world that little bit better.

If you choose the right one, you might even have an annual holiday ornament you can decorate.

Plants with Wonderful Aromas

We believe one of the best garden ideas for a green thumb is to make things that tantalize all the senses. Plants with delicious smells can make stepping out onto the patio a tantalizing experience.


The rich and sweet smell of jasmine gives off a sense of masculine musk many people cannot get enough of. Imagine leaning your head down on a partner and curling up in quiet contentment. That is what jasmine would smell like if it were an image.

This is the reason the flower is so popular in the perfume industry, and why you would want it in your own home.


The scent of the lavender plant is well-known for being among the most relaxing. For this reason, you often find it in aromatherapy and many home remedies.

If you want some for inside your home, all you will need to do is crush a small handful, and the scent will infuse a room.

Fresh Herbs and Vegetables for Home Cooking

If you want to think about tending a garden as a long-term hobby, you might want to consider using what you grow. If you have the option of pursuing cooking, then some of the best garden plants for seniors are those they can eat.

Basil and mint are easy to grow and can often make a meal special. You can also think about investing in some of the following:

  • Dill

  • Parsley

  • Tomatoes

  • Bell peppers

  • Zucchini

  • Cilantro

  • Thyme

All these plants are very common options for growing and eating. You may even get a reputation as someone who can grow food for others, making any social event special. Real personal happiness can then come from a hearty home-grown experience.

How Patio Garden Plants Can Aid a Transition

These patio garden plants can all contribute to turning a location into a real home for you. If you are investigating senior living accommodations or retirement homes and residences, gardening might even be able to help with your transition. By giving you a sense of agency, you can start making a real home no matter where you go.

If you are exploring retirement residences for yourself or a loved one, or if others are thinking about helping you find one, we can help. There are many senior residence options with a variety of activities, services and amenities to suit your needs. Call us and together we can find the perfect place for you or your loved one, or you can book a tour to find out more.


1. The 10 Popular Hobbies for Retirees - Carol Benton (February 9, 2023)

2. Petunia – Mapro Garden (February 8, 2023)

3. NC Cooperative Extension: Rethinking Daylilies – Jessica Strickland (June 17, 2022)

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