Tips to make your Garden Containers Gorgeous this Year

Tips to make your Garden Containers Gorgeous this Year
July 8, 2013 SNH Editorial Team

Containers are the focal point of every garden.  It’s a great way to direct the eye of the visitor to certain points in your garden.   Don’t be scared to create your container(s).  Basically, anything that you can plant in an open garden can be planted into a container.  Also, any container can work – big, small, ceramic, stone, plastic, metal, bamboo, wicker and/or found objects like the tree trunk in the image.

Let your imagination go.  Then think of these logistical details:


(1) Plants do not like wet feet.  If your container does not have a hole or holes at the bottom to release the water, drill at least one large (1” diameter) or a few small ones (1/2” diameter)

(2) If your planter is on a porch and you do not want water to flow on to the floor insert a plastic saucer at the base of the planter to catch the run off.  Be sure to empty the water out of saucer to avoid smells.

(3) If your container is really large, finding a plastic liner to put in it works well – it saves on the amount of soil needed AND – this might be important if the container is located on a roof deck or a porch, as it reduces the overall weight. – yes, containers can get heavy!

(4) Most people recommend small stones at the bottom of the container to help keep standing water away from roots.  Replacing the stone pebbles with Styrofoam peanuts is a great way to go when weight matters.

One more tip: Often plastic containers look too new and fabricated.  Age them with uric acid or have your dog pee against it a few times.  It creates a nice patina complete with moss in a jiffy!


(1) Plants have different water requirements.  Group them according to watering requirements and you will have a successful planter.  In an herb container, for example, combine rosemary with sage (low water levels) and put tomatoes with basil (two high water loving plants). Ask someone at the nursery to guide you.

(2) Don’t hesitate to combine flowering plants and herbs in one container.  It looks great.

(3) Plant plants tightly in the container.  The plants will negotiate the room – some may droop over the edges while other grow vertical creating an abundant look.

(4) If you have an irrigation system on your property ask the system installer for a drip line into your container.  This makes watering automatic. Otherwise you’ll probably have to water every other day during hot summer days – again depending on your plant selection.

One final tip: Plant marigold around the outside or your planter with your tomatoes in the center.  Rabbits and other pest do not like the smell of marigold and will forgo nibbling on your delicious tomatoes – a chemical free/natural trick to pest control!

Nobody should be scared of planting containers – have fun putting yours together this summer! Find new combination and color schemes every year.

 I found this planter in a spectacular garden on the Greenwich Garden Tour this year ! Garden Tours are a wonderful way to discover new ideas, spaces and solutions….