13 Incredible Ideas to Style Artificial Plants on Patios, Balconies, Porches & Gardens
Adding plenty of greenery and flowers to boring outdoor spaces is a great way to give the space more warmth and vibrancy. Often, balconies and patios are very utilitarian, and they need plant life to soften the look and transition from inside to outside.
The problem? Balconies, porches, and even gardens aren’t always plant-friendly. They’re often dark and cold in the winter, or don’t get enough sunlight for plants to thrive. Making sure your plants are beautiful, whether that be in a patio planter or in your garden (especially if you live in an urban area) is not easy. As you’ve likely experienced, they don’t make it through the winter, may get a disease, or die in full sun when you forget to water them.
So, you may be thinking about using artificial plants outside instead. But is it possible, and if so, what are the best ways to style and care for them? Read on to find out!
Can you use artificial plants outside?
Yes! Artificial plants work well outside, and you won’t have to worry about them dying or growing so fast you have to do constant maintenance - just make sure they are UV-resistant!
What’s are the benefits of using artificial plants outside?
The benefits of choosing artificial plants over live plants are:
- They won’t die if you care for them incorrectly
- You don’t need to water them
- They don’t need a certain amount of sunlight
- They look good year-round
- They won’t grow and need trimming (which can happen very quickly in spring and summer!)
- You can easily change up the look with the season or whenever you feel like a change and simply store your artificial plants for later
- They look just as good as real plants
How do I care for artificial outdoor plants outside?
Using artificial plants outside is largely set-it-and-forget-it, but to keep them looking their best, you will need to do a little maintenance from time to time. Artificial plants are made from plastic, polyblends, and silk, so some artificial plants will withstand extreme weather conditions better than others.
If you want to use an artificial plant that isn’t “designed” for outdoor use, get a UV-resistant spray and cover the plant liberally to ensure the sun does not fade the colour of your plants all the time.
In extreme weather conditions, such as very gusty weather, consider bringing any more delicate designs inside or move them to a sheltered position until the worst of the wind is over.
Another thing you may want to do, depending on where you live and where you place your plants, is give them a spray with a hose from time to time in summer to wash the dust off of the leaves. This will be more applicable to artificial plants in your porch at the side of the road than the pot on your patio, but if it hasn’t rained in a while just give them a quick wash.
Lastly, another quick tip is to remember to use plant pots designed for the outdoors. It can be tempting to use more decorative vases and house plant pots but don’t forget that it will rain and your pots will fill up with water if there isn’t a drainage hole in the bottom!
13 Incredible Outdoor Artificial Plant Styling Ideas
Now you know about the benefits and how to care for your artificial plants, let’s dive into 13 styling ideas to help inspire your next project:
1. Steal Ideas From Nature & Other Gardens
Just because you’re using artificial plants doesn’t mean you can’t mimic nature! In fact, this is often the very best way to style artificial plants in garden spaces because it will give a natural look. If you want to use artificial plants in place of a live garden, take inspiration from any garden you like and recreate it, regardless of whether they’ve used real or artificial plants.
2. Use a Few Large Plants as Focal Points
If you’re working with a larger space, whether that be your entire garden or a large patio, consider using a few larger plants to act as focal points. For example, a large planter with a beautiful artificial topiary tower tree or artificial topiary spiral tree works wonders at the end of a long, narrow garden.
3. Use Artificial Plants to Create Different Spaces
If you frequently read Magazines like House & Garden, you will have read the advice given by top garden designers about creating areas of interest and intrigue. If you have a large garden, use tall artificial plants to create screens between these different areas, where you may have a fountain, a sitting area, or something else entirely. This is also a great way to divide the “adults” area from the kids' area, where you may simply have a lawn and play equipment that doesn’t fit the style of your patio area.
4. Use Artificial Topiary to Create a Grand Entrance
Few grand homes don’t use topiary on either side of their front door. While live topiary bushes are difficult to maintain, artificial topiary can offer you that same elegant feel. Find a pair of plant pots you like and place them about a foot from either side of your front door, if you have space. (If you don’t, don’t worry, it can still work.) Then choose your preferred style of topiary, place them in the pots, and cover the base with pebbles, bark, or artificial moss, if it’s visible.
If that look will take up too much space you need to utilise, then try hanging artificial topiary balls from hanging basket brackets instead. This is another classy way to get that luxury look but without any of the maintenance. This look works well on all styles of home.
5. Fill Window Boxes with Artificial Flowers
A flower-filled window box is a stunning addition to any home, but they require a surprising amount of effort. Flowers we typically use in window boxes are delicate and don’t withstand wind or heavy rain well. You also need to water them daily, and often multiple times a day in the heat of summer, especially if they’re in direct sun all day.
Since ending up with a window box of crispy flowers isn’t something anyone wants, opt for artificial flowers instead. Try draping artificial ivy over the side (since you know it won’t grow out of control) and fill the window box with flowers. Since you don’t need soil, use plant pots or something light such as clay balls used in aquaponics systems to keep your arrangement in place.
6. Use Tropical Plants Around Your Pool
Whether you’re lucky enough to have an in-ground pool or just use a pop-up one through the summer, you can add a feeling of luxury and warmth by using artificial tropical plants that normally don’t thrive in the UK climate. Artificial palm plants, banana plants, bamboo, and yucca all work extremely well. This idea also works perfectly for patios and balconies, especially if you have a tropical theme inside your home.
7. Create a Green Wall Behind Seating Areas
Green walls—where the entire wall has been covered in artificial foliage—are extremely popular in luxury homes and venues because they add colour and texture to an otherwise modern space. If you’re not sure what this looks like, see the image above! Try adding a green wall to patios and on balconies of any size – they work just as well on an 8ft wall as they do covering over 20ft.
If you don’t want to go all-in on a green wall, opt for an artificial moss panel, which offers a similar effect with a much smaller footprint.
8. Use Artificial Flowers in Hanging Baskets
Hanging baskets, like window boxes, are beautiful to look at but extremely difficult to maintain with real flowers. They require just as much watering but they’re often above your head, which means you need to get up on a step to use a watering can or get the hose out every day to drench the basket.
It is so much easier to use artificial flowers, so you can get the same beautiful look with zero of the hassle. Again, simply use clay aquaponics balls to keep your plants in place year-round. You can also use flower arranging foam, which you can find at some garden centres and art supply stores, but it’s not very eco-friendly, disintegrates over time, and may get moldy if it’s in an area that’s getting wet.
9. Create Visual Interest Against Blank Walls
Most homes have a blank wall in the outside space that is difficult to decorate, especially if there’s a door nearby that prevents you from putting furniture or a barbeque against the wall. If you’re looking for a great way to style a wall like that, invest in a range of different plant pots with the same colour palette but in varying heights and textures. Arrange them against the wall, and use artificial plants in a range of heights, shapes, and colours to add more interest to the wall. You can also use lanterns or fairy lights to light the area on summer evenings, which adds to the relaxing effect.
10. Use Artificial Plants for Screening
We touched on this earlier for dividing up your garden, but using artificial plants and hedges are a great way to give your balcony or garden added privacy from neighbours. You can use tall artificial bamboo plants in planters, attach foliage to your balcony, or use trellis to attach artificial foliage higher up on your fence. It’s a great way to create a barrier that beautiful, and won’t irritate your neighbours.
11. Place Wall Lights in Artificial Trailing Plants
Lighting your outside space is essential if you want it to feel inviting year-round and to draw the eye outside the window when you’re inside to make your living space feel more spacious. (Of course, it’s practical too!) Outdoor lighting can typically be harsh and uninspiring, so hide brighter wall lights inside wall baskets and hang trailing plants over, around, or beneath them.
Alternatively, use long artificial plants with string lights and weave or drape them together for an ethereal look at night. Just remember to use LEDs so they don’t get too hot!
12. Use Mirrors Outside to Create More Space
A trick designers use in small luxury gardens is to use mirrors to make it look like the garden continues beyond the back fence. This works best when the mirror is surrounded by greenery so it looks like you’re slipping through a gap in the fence, rather than looking like an obvious mirror. Use large artificial plants around the mirror, or surround the entire thing with artificial trailing plants, like ivy.
13. Fill an Old Fountain with Artificial Plants
Another way to create visual interest in a low-maintenance garden or patio is to purchase a fountain and fill it with artificial plants. You can use a modern fountain if that suits your home and décor best, but you can get some beautiful, aged used fountains from antique and secondhand stores at affordable prices because few people have the space to use it as a fountain.
Instead, place it in an area where you’re using artificial grass, gravel, or slate and fill the tiers of the fountain with whatever style of artificial plant or flowers you prefer. It’s a great way to bring greenery into a low-maintenance garden while creating a beautiful feature that draws the eye from every angle.
Using artificial plants outside is the ideal way to style and landscape your outside spaces without the concern of how you’re going to maintain the look long term, nor what it will look like in the winter months. Artificial plants are often barely distinguishable from the real thing, so it’s likely no one will even know you’re using artificial plants until it’s the depths of winter! There are so many different ways you can style them to give your outside spaces a touch of nature, so be creative and don’t be afraid to switch up the plants you use from time to time. To browse our entire range of artificial plants to choose from for your outside space, click here.