Patio gardens can be great

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MANY who live in a village or townhouse only have a small patio space.

Patio gardens have been popular in Spain and other Mediterranean countries for  two millennium and continue to be so today. For many persons living in the historic centres of towns and villages and in village style new urbanisations patio gardens are the only outdoor living space they have.

True patios are roofless inner living spaces in the centre of traditional style Spanish and Spanish American houses. However although not everyone will have the real thing the design ideas that follow can be used to create patio style terraces, courtyards, yards and even roof tops.

Trees are typically planted in the centre or in one or more corners to provide natural shade.  Popular trees include palms, cordylines, rubber trees, figs, olives, jacaranda, citrus, judas and trained  galan de noche. Climbers over wires and beams are also used including roses grape vines, bignonias and passion flowers.

Using a combination of trailing  plants such as petunias and geraniums in window boxes and climbers such as jasmine, passion flower, honeysuckle, clematis, plumbago, roses and bougainvilleas  in containers or planted directly in the ground. In many cases plants are supplemented by tasteful displays of plates, plaques, murals and memorabilia.

Ferns, aspidistras, spider plants, pothos, mother-in-laws toungue, bread plants, spathiphyllum, succulents, bamboos and bonsais of various types can grow in shady corners.

Bulbs such as clivias, cyclamens, amaryllis,  freesias, irises, lilies, talbagias and agapanthas. Others such as kalanchoa, begonias, fuscias, pansies, bussy lizzies, azaleas, hydrangeas and water lillies in a pond.

Fountains in the centre of ponds, against walls or standing alone offer the relaxing sound of water.

Finish off with comfortable and stylish furniture and any ornamental pieces and lighting.

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