By Julie A. Martens
Count on containers of eye-catching annuals and tropical plants to dress your deck with living color. The first guideline to decorating with pots: Cluster containers for interest. Read on to discover more tips for creating deck decor with potted plants.
Vary Container Size
The strongest container garden combinations include pots of varying heights and shapes. (See above.) Invest in pots with odd shapes or styles. Also consider container color. New plastic offerings showcase cheery tones from cobalt blue, to blazing orange, to sunny yellow. Select colors that complement your home’s exterior or outdoor furniture.
Keep Walkways Clear
My deck is small, roughly 10 by 15 ft, with a 7-ft-wide walkway leading onto the main deck. By clustering containers along the deck rail, I add color without hindering foot traffic. In the narrow walkway space I use rectangular or 10-in round pots.
Celebrate the Unusual
A deck is the perfect place to showcase plants with unusual traits such as peppermint-scented geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum).
These downy leaves beg to be touched, releasing a heady peppermint aroma. Other touchable plants include herbs, chenille plant (Acalypha hispida), papery Gomphrena, and celosia.
Focus on Foliage
If family members are allergic to insect stings, skip bloomers, and fill pots with plants that have fascinating foliage.
Calla lily sports speckled leaves all season, opening flowers for a week or two. Other great foliage plants include Persian shield (Strobilanthes), coleus for sun and shade, ornamental grasses, and sweet potato vine (Ipomoea).
Protect Your Deck
Create your own pot feet to slip beneath container gardens and saucers to help preserve your deck’s finish. I use leftover bits of wood cut into small squares. Trimmed deck spindles prove ideal for slipping beneath the short sides of rectangular containers.
Find More Ideas
My deck size limits the number of plants I can use to enhance the ambience. But you can use other tricks to step up your deck decor—like this and this. How will you outfit your deck this year?
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