Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Decks, Porches, and Patios

– Posted in: Garden Design

Right side of south porch midJune 2005

Designers often call these features “outdoor living spaces”; gardeners call them prime territory for plants. Railings create ready-made supports for vines and windowboxes, and paving provides a place to grow creepers and a flat surface for pots and planters. You can surround yourself with herbs and edibles for super-easy harvesting, or indulge yourself with containers full of color and fragrance to provide a private backyard sanctuary.

I realize it’s a little early to show off this year’s displays, but hopefully some of you have kept pictures from previous years. Show us your plants, or show us your construction projects: They’re all fair game!

Amsonia hubrichtii Eupatorium Carin Eupatorium capillifolium Oct 22 06If you’re new to the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop, here’s how it works: Write a post on any deck- or patio-related topic on your own blog and leave a link here (already-archived posts count too), or jot down your thoughts in a comment below. At the end of the month, I’ll gather all of the links into one summary post for easy reference. If you’re interested in checking out previous GBD Workshops, you can find them here:

Paths and Walkways
Fences and Walls
Arbors and Pergolas
Color in the Garden
Container Plantings
Front-Yard Gardens
Stone in the Garden

And for those of you who like to know what’s ahead, here’s the list of proposed topics for the next few months of Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshops:

* Garden Whimsy (plantings and accents that are clever, quirky, or just plain fun)

* Trellises and Screens (and vines, too)

* Water Gardens (ponds, waterfalls, bog gardens, and container water gardens)

* Coping with Slopes (groundcovers, terraces, steps, etc.)

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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12 comments… add one

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Frances June 1, 2008, 3:19 pm

Hi Nan, another great topic. Photos are being culled, and thoughts arranged to find the right angle to tackle this one. Thanks for making us think!

I know I can always count on you, Frances. I look forward to seeing what you come up with for this one. How about a miniature patio for the Faire Gardens faeries to party on?

Michelle Derviss June 1, 2008, 9:10 pm

I live and practice landscape design in Northern California.
Our weather is very conducive to year round outdoor living so folks tend to spend a little extra money to create year round outdoor rooms.
I put together a little slide show of some of the patios, porches and decks that we have designed and build in the last few years.

below is the link and slideshow.


I’m so glad you could join us this month, Michelle. I’m sure everyone will enjoy browsing your gorgeous photo gallery and get lots of inspiration for their dream patios!

gina June 1, 2008, 11:47 pm

Nan – you are not gonna believe this but I have a brand new patio to show off for this month’s workshop! 😉

As soon as I clear off all my remaining winter sowing containers, I’ll get that post up.

Super, Gina! Sorry you got left out of the stone topic, but I’m glad you’re in for this month.

our friend Ben June 2, 2008, 2:34 pm

Hey Nan! Of course, I love this month’s topic. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! As for next month’s… heh, heh, heh…

If we could only teach Silence how to use a camera, you could show off the Hawk’s Haven deck extravazanga. But I guess we’ll just have to wait a while for that, seeing as how she’s so busy cooking.

Dave June 2, 2008, 3:29 pm

That patio project I’ve been planning would be great material for this post. I hope I can get the time to work on it. I have some landscape work to do for my brother-in-law’s wedding and another wedding this month so my weekends are almost already spoken for!

If you can get to it this month, that’s great, Dave; if not, you can always write it once things settle down and we can add you to the list later. Good luck with all of your upcoming celebrations! I know you’ve been working hard to get everything perfect.

Anna June 8, 2008, 3:06 pm

I’m so sorry, I have closed that blog down. I’ll not burden you with details here but did want you to know the link is broken.
Thank you. I got some lovely views from this post. I do a couple of other photo accounts if you would like me to re-do this post? It will not be in blog form–but a picture show.

Oh, yes, Anna – if you have a chance, that would be super. I’ll delete the old link. I totally respect your new direction, and I’m glad we still have the chance to interact with you through comments.

Anna June 16, 2008, 7:14 pm

Sorry that took so long. The whole blog isn’t up and running yet. It’s mostly for documenting my NC Roots history but I did put up my porch pics.

Thanks so much for the new link, Anna!

Jim June 22, 2008, 3:17 am

Sign me up, Nan. I’ve posted about the wants, needs, desires, hopes, wishes and dreams of the ultimate deck and what I ended up with:

Great, Jim – thanks so much! We’ve seen pictures of various parts of the space in other posts of yours, but now we have a really clear idea of how the whole space works. All of your careful planning definitely paid off with a fantastic deck.

Frances June 26, 2008, 6:34 am

Hi Nan, my post is up about the bed under the deck. Thanks for the great ideas.

What a sweet garden, Frances, and a great way to make the most of a difficult space that most people wouldn’t even bother to use!

VP June 29, 2008, 5:18 am

Hi – I’ve just discovered you via Blotanical and this month’s theme is ideal for me to start introducing my garden. Do have a look at:

Greetings from across the pond!

A double welcome to you, VP, to GGW and to the GBDW! I’m so glad that you found us (hooray for Blotanical), and I thank you for taking the time to participate this month. I hope you’ll join us again.

Heather's Garden June 30, 2008, 1:19 am

Nan, I got in earlier this time! I’ve written so many times about how much I love my patio, but I took some new photos on Sunday and wrote some more about why I love it so much:

Super, Heather! Thanks for the garden tour, and for joining us again this month. And, er, good luck with those neighbors. I hope they take a summer vacation so you can enjoy spending some quiet time on your patios.

Tina ramsey June 30, 2008, 8:22 am

Hi there! I have posted this month’s workshop at:

Excellent, Tina! Thanks for sharing your design tips. I’ve just added you to this month’s wrap-up post.

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