Make a Statement
This big garden planter is actually a repurposed file cabinet, but Lowe’s has plenty of alternatives available that you could use for the same purpose. It’s big enough to hold its own, and the bright yellow paint calls attention even from a distance.
Tip: With a bold container like this, it’s best to keep the arrangement simple, such as the chartreuse sweet potato vine and begonia.
Create a Vignette
When you don’t have a large, colorful container at hand, you can group various-size pots to create an attractive vignette. Tie the planters together visually with a shared color palette, such as the earth-tone pots and chartreuse foliage of heuchera and spirea here.
Tip: A small table or bench raises small pots to keep them from getting lost.
White a Sight
Terra cotta pots are old standards that never disappoint. But with a coat of paint, they take on a fresh, modern look. White goes with all colors—and looks especially good with pastels such as the pink mandevilla and purple calibrachoa here.
Tip: Use concrete paint and cover the inside of the pot to prevent the outer surface from bubbling.
The Great Coverup
Got a container that isn’t ready for prime time? Think disposable nursery pot. Fill it with trailing plants such as creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) and burgundy sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas). They’ll mask the surface and help the container fade into the background.
Tip: Creeping Jenny is a perennial. Dig it out of the container at season’s end and add it to the garden for enjoyment long term.
You can always make your own containers. Hypertufa pots—a mix of cement, peat moss, and perlite—are trendy and easy to make. You can create pots in many sizes and shapes, depending on the molds used. They pair up nicely and have a timeless design. Learn to make hypertufa pots.
Tip: Drought-tolerant succulents, shown, are perfect for small hypertufa containers because they require less watering than traditional garden plants.
Container gardens needn’t be large to be lovely. With tabletop planters you can work your artistry on a small scale, then show it off on balconies, porches, patios, and decks. This petunia-filled pot helps blend an outdoor living room with the surrounding garden.
Tip: Plant several containers using different flowers and/or colors. Switch them regularly to freshen up your outdoor living space.
Steps offer a staging opportunity for pots, allowing you to show them off at different levels. Use containers to soften the hard lines of steps or to mask ugly corners.
Tip: Place saucers under pots to collect excess water and prevent staining steps, decks, porches, and patios.
Containers can be practical as well as beautiful. Use them to hide an eyesore, such as a utility, or to mark a hazard, such as this step-down platform deck. The grade change actually helps balance the size disparity of the two containers here.
Tip: Make sure containers are large enough to be seen from any angle. If using a short container, place it at a higher level so it’s readily apparent to visitors.
Light up the Night
Speaking of safety, containers can be outfitted with outdoor lights to illuminate garden spaces. These lights partner nicely with celosia, purple fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides), pansies, and kale.
Tip: Solar lights eliminate the need for messy wiring, allowing you to place pots wherever they’re needed without worrying about where the nearest electrical outlet is.