As the weather heats up, we all feel the itch to head outside and enjoy the best of what summer has to offer:  warm sunshine, cool drinks, and bright cheerful flowers in abundance.  But what if your only outdoor area is your patio or balcony?  Do you have to forgo the pleasures of summer weather if you live in an apartment or condo?

The answer is a firm no.  It's easy to create your own summer paradise on your balcony or patio.  They key is to use decorative containers and plant varieties of flowers that will thrive in your patio's conditions.  If you're itching to turn your patio into your go-to summer destination, consider planting these flowers to brighten up your space


Gardenias are lush plants perfect for patios that have wonderfully fragrant blooms.  They thrive when evening temperatures are cool, as that sets the stage for their blooming buds.  Gardenias will tolerate lightly shade patio conditions


Hosta has beautiful variegated foliage and shoots up small purple flowers from its center late in the summer.  The dramatic leaf shape makes it a great choice for patios, and it does best in areas where it gets some shade, especially in the afternoon.  Hostas will grow quickly, and a plant that is one foot in diameter will easily be two to three times that size by season's end, so plan accordingly


Hibiscus plants produce large single and double flowering blossoms that come in a wide range of vibrant colors including pink, peach, red, yellow and white.  The variegated foliage provides a nice contrast to the flowers.  Their gorgeous blooms are eye-catching, but each bloom only lasts for one day


If you have a shady balcony or patio then impatiens are definitely for you.  Choose impatiens if you want color under an awning or umbrella.  They come in a wide variety of colors including pure white, deep purple and various shades of red and pink


Lantana is great for patios that get full sun exposure. The fruity fragrance and pretty floral clusters make it a wonderful patio accessory.  It comes in several colors including orange, white, pink, yellow and lavender.  If you carefully remove the dead blooms, you will increase the intensity of the blooming season


Geraniums are popular for a reason.  They hold up well in bad conditions and can thrive in both shade and sun.  They come in a range of vibrant colors including red, white, pink, hot pink, fuschia, watermelon, coral, purple and salmon


Jasmine has an intoxicating fragrance which makes it a special addition to your patio.  It can be trained on trellises and adds lushness to your patio environment

If you're feeling the need to head outside this summer, but don't feel your patio has what it takes to help you beat the heat, then add containers of any of these flowers.  They add beauty and fragrance and will have you sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and a cool drink all summer long!