A lifestyle blog from allen + roth

A lifestyle blog from allen + roth



5 Tips for Putting Together the Ultimate Container Garden

June 10, 2016

The quintessential container garden can spruce up even the smallest outdoor space with a burst of natural charm. Large pottery pieces, combined with herbs, veggies or flowers, can give any patio or deck—even a window sill—a fresh pop of color.

The most important part of planning your seasonal container garden is keeping it coordinated, so it doesn't become a cluttered hodgepodge of plantings. Here are few tips on how to capture the best of the season.

Vary Foliage Height

Container gardens look their best with a variety of plant sizes that complement each other. When mixing several plants in large containers, try placing taller plants in the center and adding smaller pieces for balance. Similarly, when you display a variety of containers, aim for a blend of taller and shorter planters for a more pleasing composition. For example, start with a longer-stemmed plant like the tiger eye rudbeckia, which will instantly look vibrant in a large pot, and surround it with smaller foliage like dragon wing begonias for added zip.

Coordinate Container Colors With Plants and Flowers

Aside from avoiding clash, you can create a striking theme by choosing similarly hued plants and planters. Coordinate blue planters with orange or yellow hues, or pair green planters with pinks and violet hues.

Alternatively, consider utilizing an array of neutral color planters—which can work with any shade of plant—in a variety of designs. Try a textured neutral planter for a look that is both striking and subtle—well suited for any number of flowering color schemes. Try a striking combination of purple petunias and pink blossoms with these neutral containers.

Group Plants for Variety in Texture

Along with color, keep in mind the texture of your plants when composing an eye-catching container garden. Consider not just the size and shape of the flowers but also the leaves, as well as the patterns they create. Mix and match large, simple plants with those with softer, smaller leaves. Or try mixing the cactus-like texture of succulents like broadleaf stonecrop, which require less maintenance, with the sheen of a ceramic piece for a display you can easily also use indoors.

Match Your Container Style with Your Décor

Planter color isn't just important to coordinate with your flowers and herbs. It should also fit into your greater outdoor design theme. In other words, don't default to traditional clay pots unless they fit with the rest of your furniture and decor. Again, it's hard to go wrong with neutral planter colors like beige or brown; they'll help pull together a larger scene of which your container garden is one part.

For a lush centerpiece container that will suit almost any outdoor space, start with a calla lily followed by filler plants such as geraniums and lantanas. Polish off the look with a cascading plant like the mezoo trailing red.

Choose the Right Planter Material

Containers come in a wide variety of materials; balance your decor with the needs of your plants. There's the more traditional terracotta, which is highly breathable. Concrete is classic but also tends to be more expensive. Glazed ceramic pieces can give shine and a pop of color to an outdoor space while still offering affordability. Think you'll be rearranging a lot? Plastic planters give gardeners a lightweight option that also offers an array of color choices and designs.

Try mixing and matching the rich and various colors of zinnias, such as a pink and yellow combination, to coordinate with a sturdy ceramic pot. For plastic containers, try a textural combination of blue calibrachoas and purple verbenas.