Get the most out of IOTA slate garden planters by selecting plants that enhance the natural beauty of the soft natural stone used to make the containers. As beautiful as they are, planters are not truly finished until they are planted, at which point they become a garden. As the designer, you decide whether you’re creating a container garden of soft, flowing plants, or a striking sculptural assortment.
Form and Function
Natural slate planters are cube, trough, or taper-shaped. The right angles lend themselves to accentuating doorways and creating natural walkways. They can also be used to create outdoor garden rooms. Use the function planned for the containers to help you select the plants for them.
Doorways and Accents
If the planters will be used to frame a doorway, line a walkway, or delineate a formal boundary of spaces, select plants with strong vertical forms. Standard roses, which are rose plants grafted onto a long stem and pruned as trees are one type of topiary that matches natural slate planters well.
Thuja occidentalis is another tree with a strong upright form that will look right at home in a large slate container used to flank a doorway.
When selecting evergreens and tree-form plants for containers, look for dwarf forms that will grow slowly over time. While dwarf form plants can still reach a large size over time, it will take them longer to get there, which means less work for you.
Outdoor Living Rooms
The buttery soft tones of natural slate stone are perfect for flanking a pool area, outdoor living room, or as accents next to a natural stone fireplace. When selecting plants for a softer, more cottage garden look, look for plants with fernlike or small-textured leaves. Lavender, yarrow, astilbe, and scabiosa all have a cottage-garden look and natural leaf coloring that compliments the slate pots.
Low-Maintenance and Striking
Another set of plants that look great in a slate container are succulents such as aloes, agaves, and Mediterranean plans such as the trigger plant. These have more defined lines and are “harder” than the perennials, but as such, provide a striking contrast to the soft tones of the container materials.
Some of the plant selection will depend on placement of the garden planters and the conditions where the plants will grow. Obviously, you’ll need to select shade plants for shady areas and plants that like the sun for sunny area. That’s just the plants, though. Before you buy plants, you need to determine the design scheme created with the garden pots.
Repetition is pleasing to the eye, and excellent for leading the eye to a particular focus. For example, on either side of a doorway, you could use two tall tapering containers. Repetition of the same container in a row is quite formal. The cube and trough container shapes have a more formal feel to them than the tapered shapes.
For a more casual feel, use garden pots made from the same material, but in different sizes or shapes. A tapered shape has a more casual feel. Group two tall pots and one short, or one tall and two short planters.
Planning and Putting it all Together
It is easier to draw a container garden scheme and visualize its final look than it is to draw an entire landscape. Even if you’re not identifying specific plants, you can draw the container shapes and the plant shapes that you want to include. This is a quick and easy way to see what your finished plan will look like.
Once you’ve decided on squared or tapered, soft or spiky, tree-form or trailing, you can go shopping and install the final design. The sky’s the limit on what you can do. And, if you change your mind, it’s easy enough to pop out last year’s plants and try something new next year.
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