Updated 07.05.2016: From 120, our list now has 125 tips and ideas!
Looking for some inspiration for your container gardening project? Or maybe you’re looking for some design tips? We’ve gathered 125 container garden ideas and tips so read on and treat yourself to these awesome ideas.
1. Highlighting Doorways with Container Planting
Put emphasis on a doorway through container gardening planted with tall topiary. The plants will also make your home or office more inviting.
2. Prevent Structural Damage by Putting Small Trees in Strong Pots
The vigorous root growth of small trees can easily cause structural damage to paving or a swimming pool. Plan ahead and place these trees on large durable containers that can withstand root growth.
3. Consider the Plant’s Mature Size When Planting
When choosing plants for your container garden, make sure you consider the plants mature size. You wouldn’t want it covering the other visual elements in your design.
4. Linear Repetition Using Same Size Pots
Get a few plant pots of the same size planted with colourful foliage and position them in a linear pattern. This is an attractive way of creating a barrier or a gorgeous alternative to traditional fencing. Or you can also just use it for embellishment.
5. Use Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers in a Container
Thrillers are the main plants that stand out. Fillers are used to fill the blank spots and spillers trail down the pot.
6. Use Rectangular Pots to Guide Pedestrian
Use rectangular plant containers to help guide pedestrians in a public space. We recommend going with granite pots as they are very durable and thus suitable for commercial areas.
7. Liven Up Boring Corners with Container Garden Ideas
A section of a design looking dull? Just add a few tall pots and you can’t go wrong. It will eliminate the boring but not enough to overwhelm.
8. Workplace Container Planting Comes with Many Benefits
Adding some container planting in the workplace can help lighten the mood and increase productivity. Remember to use plants that don’t require a lot of sun.
9. Indoor Container Planting – Seal Those Drain Holes
When planting indoors, don’t forget to seal the container’s drain holes for no-mess watering. You can also use planter trays if you decide not to seal the drain holes.
10. Use High Quality Frost-Resistant Containers
According to BBC Gardener of the Decade Katherine Crouch, high-quality frost-resistant pots are the best investments for a great garden.
11. Succulents Require Drainage
It’s easy to overwater succulents so don’t skip the drain holes. If drain holes are not an option, put a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot to help drain the soil/potting mix.
12. Be Generous with Succulents
Why plant just one succulent in a pot when you can plant a bunch of them?
13. Fishbowl Succulents
Whoever said fishbowls are just for fish? Plant a variety of succulents in there and watch them thrive with very little maintenance on your end. This makes for a good table-top plant.
14. Not Enough Space? Hang Your Plants
No more space on your patio for more plants? You can always hang them.
15. Create a Vertical Garden using an Old Pallet
An old pallet can make for an instant vertical garden if you run out space for your plant pots.
16. Mosquito Problems? Plant Lavender
Lavender doesn’t only smell nice, it also deters mosquitoes. Next time you got mosquito problems, plant some lavender on your patio. Those afternoon naps on your patio will become a better experience.
17. Rooftop Container Gardening
Love lounging away at your rooftop? Make it better by bringing up some potted plants.
18. Don’t Fill Big Pots with Soil Where They Won’t Stay
Ever tried lifting a large pot filled with soil and plants? It’s heavy right? Save yourself from a world of trouble by putting the pot where you plan to put it before filling it with soil and planting.
19. Water Fountain Turned Planter
If you got a water fountain that’s no longer working, turn it into a planter. You don’t have to worry about adding drain holes anymore as it will drain naturally.
20. Tree Stump Planters
Turn any old tree stumps into a beautiful planter. Carve out the insides using a chisel and fill in a good amount of soil and plant your favorite thriller, filler and spiller combination.
21. Boat Planters
Fill an old boat with potting mix and fill it with beautiful summer blooms. It’ll make for a nice centrepiece in your garden.
22. Ornamental Grass
Ornamental grass will give depth to your plant containers. The added height, texture, and colour will add greater impact in the overall look.
23. Highlighting Small Plants
In having small plants, use equally small containers and place them around eye level. This way they are easily noticeable. Just remember to avoid using small pots and plants in large spaces.
24. Add Dimension by Going High
Give your garden added dimension by elevating some of your more colourful plants.
25. Match Plants Under the Same Sun
When planting a container garden, remember to plant together plants that have the same sun requirements. Go the extra mile by making sure they also have the same water and nutrients requirements. Your plants will be happier that way.
26. Use Native Plants
In container designs, you don’t have to use exotic plants. Mix and match different colourful native plants if you want an easy gardening life. Plants native to your region will be easier to maintain and won’t suddenly die on you.
27. Grouping Different Sized Containers
Grouping containers of different shapes and sizes makes for a great design theme.
28. Use Deep Dark Colours
Using dark colours like deep purple and burgundy gives richness and adds warmth to any colour scheme on your garden design.
29. Vertical Wall Gardens
Not enough space? No problem. Vertical garden systems are for you. And it’s actually not as difficult to make as it looks.
30. Make a Living Breathing Succulent Picture
Gardening is art. And in this piece, the art is literally your garden. Plant your succulents in a wide square container and this will stand as the frame for your garden art.
31. Place Woody Plants in Containers for More Design Options
Planting woody plants in containers allows for more design choices for patio gardens. When using containers this way, gardeners are able to use plants outside their hardiness zones.
32. Bamboo in Containers
Give your garden an oriental feel using bamboos. It gives height and depth to your garden. Bamboo can be invasive so keeping them in containers keeps them in check.
33. Overflow Bloom Effect
Tilt your container and plant your flowers in such a way that it is flowing out from the container and get this dramatic effect on your garden.
34. Spiral Garden
Create your own spiral garden using wire and a few metal rods. This makes for an attractive focal point in your garden.
35. Glowing Flower Planters
Coat planters with glow-in-the-dark paint for instant night lighting.
36. Vegetable Container Garden
Using your portable planter to grow vegetables is a fantastic and economical idea. Container gardening needn’t be limited to flowers and foliage.
37. Jewelled Planter
Got some broken accessories? Adorn your planters with semi-valuable beads and crystals or any other sparkling accessories for a beautiful jeweled planter.
38. Tower Planters
Great space saving solution for you: make vertical gardens! If you cant go horizontal, go vertical! This one will take some wood crafting skill but the end result is definitely worth it.
39. Seashell Planters
These hanging seashells were being used to grow small plants. Succulents are great candidates.
40. Spoons for Hanging Planters
Add personality and charm to your garden. You don’t have to look far. Upcycle some items around like using old spoons to hang planters.
41. Natural Shade
To get a unique touch on your garden, plant flowering vines on an umbrella shaped-wire mesh. The result is classy way of getting shade on your garden.
42. Rocks as Garden Markers
You could use paint, nail polish or even chalk to label rocks and place them around your garden to help identify plants.
43. Mini Garden in a Container
Add scenery onto your planters using miniature benches, garden tables, fences and etc. You can even put your creativity to work to recreate scenes.
44. Design Your Kitchen with Herbs
It’s not just for aesthetic value. You can actually grow fresh herbs for cooking right there on your own kitchen. Need some mint or a sprig of thyme? They’re within arm’s reach. Did I mention they smell good too?
45. Add a Relaxing Scent, Use Lavenders
Most people want a garden as a place for relaxation. Reduce stress levels better by planting aromatic plants such as lavender.
46. Help Planters Drain Properly
When preparing planters, you don’t fill it entirely with potting soil. You first need to add a layer of loose material like broken terra cotta pots, polystyrene chips, pebbles, wood chips/bark, or like in the case below, peanuts. After that, add a layer of fabric before the potting mix. This helps the potting mix drain properly and also prevent dirt from blocking the drain holes.
47. Tiered Plant Stand
If you don’t have different sized planters, you can make a tiered plant stand to give height to your planters. This way you can layer the composition of your different plants.
Take a glass container with an opening wide enough for your hand. Add a layer of fine gravel and then potting soil. You can now add your plants to make a scenery. Good choices include ferns, succulents, mosses, and miniature moth orchids. You can even add some figurines to create a scene.
49. Broken Pots Turned Into Beautiful Fairy Gardens
A broken clay flower pot doesn’t have to be thrown away. With a little bit of imagination give it new life as a landscaped miniature garden scene.
50. Vertical Clay Pot Garden
Stack each pot using ropes. You can use these not just on small areas as a space saver but also around large spaces to separate areas around your garden. You can also do this for small lightweight fiberglass pots. Since they are more durable than terra cotta pots, they will last longer.
51. Toy Car Planters
Honor your favorite toys as a child by turning them into stunning succulent planters.
52. Easy Way to Create a Two-Tiered Pot
Use a smaller pot and get it upside down inside the larger pot. This will now serve as the stand for the third pot which will be placed on the top. Viola! An elegant two-tiered pot.
53. Use Dried Twigs to Spruce up Planters
You can use dried twigs to spruce up your planters. Stick them in the soil or bind them together. You can even paint them. Make it a part of your thriller, filler, spiller design. The only limit is your imagination.
54. Plant Citrus in Pots
Citrus like lemon and lime have dwarf varieties that you can easily grow in pots. They look good in your garden too especially when they start to bear fruit. Lemonade anyone?
55. Clinging Vines and Wood Structures: A No Go
Do not place vines near wood structures like posts and fences. As plants tend to keep moisture, they will cause rotting in the wood.
56. Grow Vegetables between Your Ornamental Combinations
You can plant your vegetables in the same pot as your ornamentals. Good candidates are peppers and tomatoes. The fruit will even add to aesthetic appeal not to mention you get fresh produce.
57. If You Do Container Gardening, Work On Site
Remember that a fully filled planter may be quite heavy. So set it where it’s supposed to be before you start filling it up. To move to the actual site you want it to be.
58. Combine Similar Colours with Different Shapes
A guaranteed combination is to use a simple colour theme and use different shapes and shades around your arrangement.
59. Contrasting Shapes and Complimentary Colours
The key to this arrangement is the contrasting purple-yellow combination and the reds-green compliments. The contrast in colours brings in focus to the main flowers and ties the overall harmony of the combination.
60. Ensure Proper Drainage
Cover the drainage holes with a mesh screen to prevent them from clogging and to keep soil from washing through onto your patio or deck.
61. Plant from the Inside Towards the Edge
When starting an arrangement, start from the inside with a tall plant as a thriller. Then work on the sides towards the edge with a lush plant as filler. Lastly, bring in the spillers near the edge and make them flow.
62. Keep the Colour Scheme Simple
Avoid a cluttered look on your container arrangements. As a rule of thumb, either use different shades of the same colour or use a complimentary colour scheme in your combinations.
63. Make a List Before You Go to Buy Plants
Before you go visit a nursery, make a list of plants that you need. Making a list ensures that you only buy what you need. You can also try listing down alternatives in case the plant you’re looking for is not in stock.
64. Sometimes Plants Die; Deal with It
Plants die all the time. Even the most experienced gardener will kill a few plants. Sometimes it might be best to just give up on a plant rather keeping it there wilted and dry hoping it would spring back to life.
65. Learn How to Tell if Your Plants Need Water
Many gardeners kill their plants by overwatering more than underwatering. Stick your finger in the soil, if it’s moist underneath, no need to water yet. If it’s dry, you know what to do.
66. Avoid Awkward Plant to Pot Ratio
The overall height of your arrangement should be as tall as your container. This is a basic rule of thumb but don’t be bound by it. There is always an exception to the rule.
67. Accent Stairwells with Colourful Potted Plants
Accentuate outdoor stairwells with colourful potted plants. The plants actually soften the design full of corners and hard geometry and make it more pleasing to the eye.
68. Grasses as Container Plants
Grasses, hedges and rushes most of the time are used around the garden to fill up the ground with foliage. But because of their texture and height, garden designers are starting to use them in container combinations as one of the main players.
69. Use Container Planters on Your Guard Railings
This will not only aesthetically serve the area but also it will keep you at a safe distance from the rails.
70. Know Your Plants
You know those tags that came with the plants when you got them from the nursery? Keep them as they contain important information about your plants. If you lost them, use Google to keep yourself knowledgeable about your plants.
71. Know Your Plant’s Growth Habits
There are plants that grow tall towards the sun. There are some that spread to get more sunlight. Some are crawlers. Some are shade lovers and stay low. Learn the growth habit of your plants lest the end result could be a chaotic one.
72. Contrast Containers with the Plant Qualities
You can change the personality of the plant by its container. Match a simple container to an eye-catching plant or put a simple plant in a dramatic container.
73. Soil-Free Potting Mix
Do not use soil for container gardens. Use potting mix. They have more nutrients, they retain moisture and aerate better. Use a layer of rocks at the bottom of the plant to aid in drainage and prevent blockage of drain holes.
74. Clay Pots vs Plastic Pots
Plastic pots keep the moisture in the soil better but clay pots are aesthetically better. Clay pots are like fine wine that gets better with age. If you want to have the benefits of both, try planting in a smaller plastic pot then placing it on a larger clay pot. Cover everything with soil up to the rim.
75. Start with the Greens
It’s better to start with green leafy plants if you’re a newbie gardener. They thrive better than flowering or fruit-bearing plants. There’s more room for error when you are just starting out gardening.
76. Get a Book on Gardening
Knowledge is power and that holds true for gardening. Get lessons from the experts and read a book on anything gardening.
77. Orchids on Planters
Orchids are one of the most beautiful flowers in the plant kingdom. Their exotic look combined with their elegant structure is a knockout combination. They may be a challenge to take care of but getting a bloom out of them is truly rewarding. And yes, you can grow them on planters too.
78. Garden for All the Senses
Wind chimes are as important as nice fragrances. If you have some small trees, hang a few wind chimes. Believe me, those afternoon breaks in your garden will be that much better.
79. Have Something in Bloom Every Season
Use plants that bloom on different seasons so your garden will look good any time of the year. There will never be a dull moment in your garden.
80. Design Your Landscape for People-Comfort
Include all-weather seating, dry paving, shade in summer, and wind protection in winter.
81. Change Your Plants Easily by Setting up a Buried Pot Garden
This makes landscaping easier especially during change of seasons, as you won’t need to dig up an old plant to replace it. This also keeps everything in its right place.
82. Create a Yard Environment that Welcomes Wildlife
Put out a bird bath. Install a birdhouse or have a pan high up with some birdseed. Take out your camera and take pictures of the different varieties of birds that visit your yard.
83. Keep a Garden Journal
Include photographs. Take note of the dynamics of your garden. Gardening is a continuous journey so keep track of where you have been with your yard and where you are now.
84. Keep Yourself Updated on Design Trends
From new tips to seasonal changes to new design trends, you might want subscribe to newsletters from garden design blogs to keep yourself updated.
85. Enrich the Soil
Remember you feed the plants by feeding the soil. You can use commercial fertilizer or make your own compost.
86. Consider Fruit Bearing Plants
Berries are good candidates for container gardens be it for ornamental purposes or for the berries themselves. Blueberry pancakes anyone?
87. Recycle an Old Bird Cage
Got an old bird cage but no birds? Turn it into a planter. Plant some succulents and make them overflow. A layer of mesh on the sides will prevent the potting mix from being washed away when watering.
88. Play with Textures Not Just with Colours.
Greens are always easy to the eyes. To make it work, play with different textures of greens to give depth and guide the eyes towards the centrepiece.
89. Add a Butterfly Feeder
Attract more butterflies to your garden with do-it-yourself butterfly feeders. Mix one part sugar in 10 parts water for the food. Pour this mixture over a sponge and saturate it.
90. Old Tub Planter
Remodelling your bathroom and don’t know what to do with the old tub? Drag it to your yard. Drill some drain holes. Add a layer of sand and then some potting mix. Then plant away.
91. If Space is a Problem, Plant in Tall Pots
If there’s not a lot of space to accommodate plants, use tall planters. They won’t take as much space and you get to have plants.
92. Colander Planters
Because they’ve already got the holes for drainage, they’re perfect for potting plants. You can even paint the colander before you start planting.
93. Cinder Blocks Planters
Stacked cinder blocks have readymade compartments that are ideal for a variety of plants. You can stack and build them to create a wall or fit a custom space. It’s like playing Lego with plants.
94. Tool Box Planters
If you’re aching to get a shiny new tool box, just go ahead and do it. The old one can be an ideal planter. Just don’t skip on the drain holes.
95. Flowers are Just One Part of the Design
While flowers in bloom are very attractive, most only last for a few days. There are plants that offer more than just their blooms. Consider foliage, fruits, and barks for a lasting colour and texture all year round.
96. Tire Planters
We love the new tire trends. They’re being upcycled in so many unique ways! With a little bit of creativity, you can add them to your yard, too.
97. Light Bulb Planters
This is a great way to upcycle old light bulbs. They look good but are very fragile so handle with care.
98. Teacup Planters
Need a good pot for planting herbs in your kitchen? You may not need to look too far. Get some old teacups from your cupboard and carefully drill some drain holes. Not only will it look good, it will also be a good fit for your kitchen design.
99. Chandelier Planter Holder
Now you won’t need to throw out that old chandelier. This will require a bit of work so just follow the instructions here.
100. Sitting Pretty
The lush yellows highlight the red calibrochoa. Aside from being a rail guard for the porch, the striking colour scheme in this wonderful arrangement will draw everyone’s attention.
101. Bigger Pots are Better.
Large containers hold more soil so they retain moisture better. More room also means bigger root systems. Bigger root systems mean healthier and happier plants. Also, small pots are especially not recommended for large spaces so don’t be afraid to go big.
102. Choose the Right Container for the Job
Terra cotta looks great but they break easily. Granite pots are durable but very heavy. Fiberglass pots are lightweight and look great in modern designs. To know more about different planter types, check out this blog post.
103. Greening Your Patio through Container Gardening
To many people, their patio is a place for some R&R. For some, it is a place for receiving guests and holding parties. When greening your patio, container gardening is the perfect solution.
104. Give Hand Pollination a Try
For gardens at higher elevations like in a high rise building, pollination might be a problem due to lack of insect traffic. To free up enough pollen to be effective, you can use a brush, cotton buds or just give your plants a good shake.
105. Bring Ceramic and Terra Cotta Pots Indoors During Winter
Ceramic and terra cotta pots that have soil in them can crack or break when left outside during winter. Keep them indoors in your tool shed or garage so you can use them again.
106. Love Salsa? Grow It in Containers
If you love salsa, then you must know that you can easily grow salsa in containers. Well, not salsa in the literal sense but the ingredients you need for salsa. Check out this link for more information. And bring out the chips please.
107. Clear Container Water Garden
Container gardening is also for aquatic plants such as the lotus plant. A transparent container will look good. The fish in the container is not just for aesthetic purposes though. It can prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs on the stagnant water.
108. Keep the Mints Within Reach
Mint can be invasive so keeping them in pots is ideal. Fresh mint leaves make a refreshing garnish for drinks on a hot summer day so keeping potted mint plants within arm’s reach is a real treat.
109. The Hanging Ball of Lush Succulents
Succulents are beautiful in their own right. However they grow so low that they are most of the time underappreciated. Bringing them within eye level like this arrangement captures the viewer’s interest easily.
110. Feed Your Roses with Slow Release Fertilizer
If you are fond of roses, you should know that in order to continue blooming they need a constant supply of nutrients in the soil. Put in some slow release fertilizer to keep them in bloom.
111. Use Eggshells as Fertilizer
Eggshells are high in calcium which is good for plants too. When you crush eggshells, its jagged edges become good deterrents to pests like slugs and caterpillars.
112. Plants Don’t Always Have to Start With Seeds
Many plants grow from cuttings like roses for example. If you see a plant that you like whether it’s from the neighbour’s garden or a park, you can simply ask for a cutting. Just don’t go cutting without asking for permission first. Stick it in a pot and it will grow roots. It’s like magic.
113. Choose Drought-Resistant Plants for Drought-Prone Areas
If you live in an area that gets the occasional dry spell, choose plants that are resistant to droughts. Your local nursery should be able to provide you with all the information you need.
114. Winter Season Gardening
Roots of potted plants are sensitive to freezing temperatures. This is because the roots are above the ground. You can place them inside a shed to mitigate the freezing temperatures or you can invest in frost-resistant pots.
115. Use Drip Irrigation for Stress-Free Watering
The amount of water your plants needs depends on many variables. We suggest a drip irrigation system to automate your watering without wasting water. You can read more about drip irrigation in this post.
116. Reuse Bottles as Watering Globes
Before you go on a somewhat long vacation, inserting a watering globe will ensure your plants are well watered for a longer period. Note that this is only convenient for container plants that like to be watered regularly. You can use any bottle for this one.
Cut off the wilted blooms to encourage new flowers. This process is known as deadheading.
118. How to Deal with Garden Pests
Ideally, you should have taken measures to ward off pests. When they do get in your garden, you should actively bury infected leaves, remove the pest habitat, and plant pest resistant plants.
119. When Using Pesticides Always Read the Label
Reading the labels on pesticides and following them ensures that you don’t accidentally kill off your plants and other beneficial bugs.
120. Use Trough Planters as Barriers for Pedestrians
Trough planters are effective barriers for separating spaces. In the image below, IOTA’s granite trough planters are being used to separate the parking area from the walkway.
121. Pinch Top of New Stems for a Bushier Plant
If you don’t want a leggy plant, pinch out the growing tip of each stem back to a node using your thumb and forefinger. This encourages side shoots to grow on other leaf nodes. You can do this a couple of times to encourage more growth, and later on, more flowers.
122. Prune Regularly
Aside from aesthetics reasons, pruning also helps promote growth of new branches. So prune regularly and use a proper pruner. You run the risk of having plant disease if you don’t prune properly. GardenWare stocks some really high-quality pruners.
123. Avoid Moving Your Plants Too Much
Plants need time to adjust to their surroundings so avoid moving them too much. Moving your plants too much can cause them to get stressed and eventually die out.
124. Bring Out the Artist in You; Paint Those Planters
If you’re feeling some artistic inspiration, try painting those pots. You can dull paint plastic pots and turn them into something eye-catching. You can even paint terra cotta pots but this will require some prep work. You have to make sure the terra cotta pots are clean before painting them. For an extra smooth finish, we would recommend sanding them first.
125. Enjoy Gardening
All these tips will be for naught if you don’t really enjoy gardening. Gardening should be a fun activity so enjoy and have fun. Garden with a smile on your face.