How to Create an Outdoor Container Garden

How to Create an Outdoor Container Garden

One of the very best ways to bring visual appeal to your landscaping through the use of vibrant plant color is to add planting pots to create an outdoor container garden. Pots are available in all shapes and sizes. They can be found in ceramic, concrete or a resin material. Potted arrangements are the perfect way to install landscaping to every corner of your home and allow you the flexibility of trying new plants every season and moving them around your property with the seasons. In this post, we’ll show you how to create an outdoor container garden.

Choose Container Pot Location

To create an arrangement for your container garden, the first thing you want to consider is placement. Lightweight container pots can be placed on almost any surface, but heavier pots placed directly on the ground can sink and shift. An easy way to prepare a soft surface for a heavy pot is to place a square paver stone directly underneath the pot. Another consideration will be staining. Pots will drain water which, over time, can stain concrete or expensive stone patios. Water collection pans can be placed underneath the pot to prevent this. A final factor for placing your pot will be whether or not it will need to be moved. Being able to move your pots allows you the flexibility to provide your plants with warmer/cooler temperatures. If
moving the container pot is necessary, there are plant caddies with wheels available and can be installed directly under your flower pot. Once in place, all you need to do is unlock the wheels and set it in a new location.

Prepare Flower Pot for Planting

Once you have purchased your pot and have found the right location and set up for it, the next step will be to prepare your pot for new plants. Make sure there is some type of drainage system in the pot for water. Most pots have holes pre-drilled into the bottom while others may have a built in drainage system. If there is no hole or drainage system in the pot, you will need to cut or drill one before planting. Drainage holes tend to be very large, so before adding any soil to the pot, you will need to partially block this hole. If you leave the pot’s current drainage hole as it is, not only will the soil drain out the bottom of the pot, but water will drain out of your pot too quickly and not allow your plants any time to take the water they need to survive. Adding a few rocks to the bottom of your pot is the best and easiest way to block the drainage hole.

Add Potting Soil

Now that you have your pot prepared, you will need to add good potting soil before planting. If your pot is taller than the intended root system of the plants that will grow inside the pot, you can add other material to the bottom such as rocks or mulch. We would recommend adding rocks to the bottom as it takes care of blocking the drainage hole and will not break down over time.

Select Plants

With all of the preparation complete, the fun begins. You are now ready for select plants. Before making a final plant selection, consider the plants and their requirements. Potted plants will need sun and water to thrive. Select plants that have similar sun requirements. Potted plants lose water faster than plants in the ground, so plan for watering every couple of days and more during the summer months. Consider the growth habit of your plants when making your selection. You want to provide enough room in the pots for the mature growth of the plants. Finally, know the type of plants you want: annuals, perennials, evergreen, deciduous, etc. For example, if you want a lot of colorful blooms and don’t mind changing your plants seasonally, you will want annuals. Annuals are always blooming but have a very short lifespan. If you want a plant never needs replacing but can offer you some bloom, then look to a perennial or an evergreen or deciduous shrub. Perennials will die back and return and they bloom for a period of time. An important characteristic of most other plants (shrubs, trees, groundcover, etc) will be whether it is evergreen or deciduous. Evergreen means that the plant will not lose its foliage as the seasons change whereas Deciduous means that the plant will lose its leaves during the colder seasons. See our post about spring blooming plants for plant selection ideas.

Design & Install Plants

If you are planning to have multiple plant varieties in the same pot, follow the design principle of: Thriller, Filler, Spiller. Start by selecting your “Thriller”. This plant is typically the feature of the arrangement and is often planted in the middle of the pot. Next, move on to your “Spiller” plant. These can be a trailing annual, vine or groundcover and are typically planted along the outer edge of the pot. If you don’t want the plant to spill over the pot, then we would suggest selecting a plant that will grow more bushy and fill out to soften the pot edges. Finally, select your “Filler”. These are the plants you will purchase the most of and fill in the gaps between the thriller and the spiller. They should complement both and grow at least equal to the height of the spiller but not exceed the height of the thriller. This is a design
principle only…it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Caring for Plants

Once you have created your outdoor container garden, give everything a good watering and plan to water it at least once each day for the next couple of weeks. If you filled your pot with potting soil, there should be plenty of fertilizer in the soil to give your plants a great start. Continue fertilizing every month to foster hearty growth and continued blooming.

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