I love using pots and planters in a garden. Everything from neat window boxes and hanging gardens to beautiful urns or raised garden beds really turn me on. In fact it was this kind of small gardening which first drew me into to working with gardens.
Used well, planters add much to a garden or indoor space.
These huge planters, about 4 meters tall are planted with fig trees. They are in the Skygardens building in Singapore and serve well to give the space in the main atrium some human scale. They are beautiful.
In this tiny city courtyard, the simple design is enhanced by the beautiful urn used as a water feature which has been placed at the end of the garden. Nothing else is needed in this small space.
In fact in many circumstances, pots and planters will be the only place to grow plants. Balconies, terraces, small courtyards all have their challenges.
So how to choose the best planters for the job. In any garden there are two main things to consider.
What is the pot or planter to be used for?
What style will fit into the garden?
It helps to think about style first
It’s so easy to walk into a nursery and see all the beautiful planters and feature pots, fall in love with one, bring it home and realize it looks completely out of place. How often have I done that.
It makes it much easier to choose if you have a clear idea of the style of your garden before you start to look. On the other hand, that perfect piece can set your garden style if it is the first thing you have fallen in love with.
In bygone days gardens were classical, formal, contemporary, or cottage. Today, garden style, like clothes and interior decor can be as individual as you. The key is to keep some consistency so the look is clear and uncluttered. And I find, whatever the style of the garden, any pot or planter chosen will look better if it complements the style of the garden and house.
I love this garden designed for an inner city rental property. The garden was designed so that it could move when the owner moves. The different color of the pots is brought together by their uniform shape and the strong use of neutral grey. Feature colors can be changed with a simple coat of lime paint so the decor is as flexible as the scheme itself. Very clever.
So whether you’re going classical and flowery or clean cut inner city steel or something else altogether, work out how you want your garden to look and go from there.
Is the planter or pot to be a feature or not?
How many do you need?
What are they to be used for, a water feature, a series of beautiful trees down a path or growing vegetables?
What kind of plants will be grown in them, colorful displays or simple topiary.
There are no rules of thumb but I have to say I work on the principle that the more pots and planters I use, then the fewer kinds I choose and often the simpler the pots.
I love this large, casual garden subtropical Australia which has three different garden styles, classical and formal for the front garden, tropical forest down a gully, and outback Australian in the back. These different garden styles work because the things put into the garden have a similar theme. This especially applies to the planters, simple terracotta works in all the areas with all types of planting.
These pots in a designer garden in Singapore are simple because the orchids are the feature. The echo of several pots in a row gives the design a wow.
This single beautiful pot in a green lush tropical garden adds a subtle feature with its white orchids.
These tiny trees in boxes are great for a contemporary display.
Go whacky with your planters.
The whole point is to have fun.
I love these balls with flowers – they add another dimension to hanging baskets.
I also love the incongruous use of classical in the dry Australian bush.
And the not so wacky also appeals. Simple, clean and classy, classical and modern use of pots and planters is great.