No matter how small your yard or how new you are to gardening, using a few easy and quick container garden designs can make your outdoor space colorful and fresh. Whether you are looking for a shot of color by a front porch, an edible kitchen herb garden, or a cheerful window box filled with fragrant petunias, finding the right mix of containers is simple and fun.
1. Place affordable containers well for maximum effect. Plastic planters are inexpensive and can found in all sizes and shapes at any big box store or garden center. Set one on either side of your front door and plant them up with red and white geraniums and trailing ivy for a formal look that brightens any entrance. For a little more money, you can choose glazed ceramic pots that are works of art in themselves, or large unglazed clay pots that lend a more casual, country feel to the same planting.
2. Use window boxes to accent a bungalow or rancher. Window boxes are a charming accent to any home, but are especially appropriate for bungalows and traditional colonials. Look for lightweight materials that are easy to work with like fiberglass or plastic window boxes, or go for a more formal look with treated redwood or even brightly painted metal.
3. Choose cast iron for a more durable and classic look. Window boxes made of cast iron piping that you line with a coconut-shell mats each year are also a good choice, and have the advantage of being very durable and strong. These cast iron frames also match free standing hooks for hanging planters and bird feeders.
4. Use trailing plants to soften harsh angles. Fill your window boxes with anything you like, but remember that shorter blooming annuals work best. Including a few trailing accent plants that spill over the edges softens the overall effect.
5. Make your window boxes work for you with herbs. You can even tuck a few kitchen herbs in your window boxes. Chives are easy to grow and have attractive purple blossoms through the summer. Even leaf lettuce mixes work well, and if you combine them with edible flowers, you have an instant window box salad garden.
6. Create a kitchen garden in a barrel. If you love herbs and vegetables, look for several half whiskey barrel planters or large fiberglass planters and set them near your back door. Plant one with parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm, and mint, and the other with a patio tomato, a few decorative pepper plants, and a variety of lettuce greens and you have a handy and attractive instant kitchen garden.
7. Accent your tradition bed with containers. Container garden designs can be incorporated into traditional garden designs as well. Include a terra cotta strawberry jar in your perennial bed. Plant up chipped or broken pottery with individual herbs or flowers and create a whimsical accent in any established bed, or place a large
terra cotta planter filled with annuals toward the front of a perennial bed, or a tub full of patio vegetables inside a flower border.
8. Use vertical space to increase your container gardening options. 'Go vertical' by arranging garden containers of various heights and sizes within a bed of established plants to draw the eye upwards. You can even place one or more hanging planters on free standing iron poles toward the back of an established garden to create visual interest and literally take your in-ground garden to new heights.
Be flexible with your use of containers and have fun with them. You will find that container garden designs are much more versatile than you ever imagined. One word of caution: Container gardening can become addictive. Don't be surprised if once you try it, you start to see places for container gardens everywhere!
About the Author: Scott Gray is a garden enthusiast who loves to relax taking care of his garden. For more information about container gardening ideas,
teak planters and general gardening information, be sure to visit his site allgardenplanters.com.