Outdoor Planters

Published July 20, 2012

In some ways, planting garden pots is similar to decorating the inside of our homes in the sense that the plants that surround our home reflect our sense of style. Plants and pots provide the backdrop of colour to our gardens similar to fabric and paint inside the home.

Browsing the garden shops is always a good place to start for ideas. Study the planters not only for ideas but to inspire you for what you think works best for your garden.

Garden experts, West Van Florist, offers the following tips when purchasing and assembling outdoor planters.

Why do some planters work and others not? The key is in the marriage of plants to the container, texture of the plant material, contrast, varying heights and of course a good colour choice. The eye is drawn to certain elements within the pot and many pots are appealing to varying individuals due to personal choice.

Nancy Ashton, of West Van Florist, has her own personal mantra. She believes the key to success in planting is to mix fluffy, ferny foliage with something broadleaf and finish up with something spiky. If you follow these rules, you will undoubtedly end up with something pleasing to the eye.

Using colour in an artful way is also important. Step out of the box and run with purples mixed with yellows, scarlet with black, chartreuse with green.  If you limit your palette of colour in the end you will highlight the texture of the planting.

Don’t be afraid of using greens in your pots. Incorporating evergreen perennials into your planting will create an amazing effect if you experiment with varying shades of green and foliage.

Create an artful manipulation of nature is what it’s all about. Venture into areas of colour and texture that you may not find yourself ordinarily comfortable. Experimenting with different plants and coloured containers is not only fun but can product fantastic results.

Speaking of containers, it’s important to keep a theme with your pots. Stick to all terra cotta, all glazed, all metal rather than an eclectic mix. The reason behind this is in the end you will have far more visual impact  than with an assortment of styles and colours. Be sure to shop around for unique containers. Olive oil tins, buckets, wooden boxes  make fabulous containers as long as they have proper drainage.

Is size important? Yes it is because a large container will give more room for root development and will require less frequent watering.

It’s also a good idea to use a light planter box soil mix rather than soil out of the garden. This lighter version of soil is specially mixed for outdoor planters.

If weight is an issue for you, try filling the bottom of the larger pots with styrofoam chips 1/4- 1/3 of the way up the pot. Cover with landscape cloth and then the soil mix followed with a slow release fertilizer. Water frequently and be sure to never let your pots dry out.

The number one consideration for choice of plants is the available light where the planter is going to sit. Ask your garden specialist about what plants they recommend for the amount of light. Add a decorative touch with stones, pottery chards, seashells and perhaps glass balls. And most of all…have fun!