Put these Two Container Gardening Ideas to Work for You
Gardens have a personality whether we consciously design it or not. Better to put these container gardening ideas to work for you, so your pots convey the look and feel you want, not just the opposite!
The three design elements we’ve been speaking of— color, texture, and proportion—don’t exist in isolation. They all work together, and that’s what gives your container garden its visual personality.
The better you understand these container gardening design elements, the more control you’ll have in making sure your flowers, herbs, foliage plantings, and even veggies, reflect you.
In this section, we’ll focus on container design ideas about form. We’ll be thinking about Texture and Proportion.
Container Gardening Idea 1: Texture
Ornamental grasses are a good study in visual texture. Some rise upward, as in this picture of lovely fountain grass. Others have graceful urn-like forms and provide a textured “wall” of vegetation.
And still others are thick and full, arching upward and then pouring over the container sides creating a waterfall-like effect. And they don’t need a spectacular container—big clay flower pots work really well as supports for these fountaining giants.
There are specific ornamental grasses that work well in container gardens.
Texture is not just about the overall form, though. Cacti are not as warm and fuzzy as baby’s breath—literally! Spikes and barbs have an aggressive textural “feel,” while the pendulous begonia blooms pictured here have an alluring series of rounded blooms that are lush and approachable.
Each flower, herb, evergreen, vegetable, foliage plant—whichever your choice is—has a visual texture that communicates. Next time you’re at a garden center, pay attention to how the texture of different flowers and plants makes you feel and what they convey to you.
Do they say “Stay away” or “Come touch me”?
Container Gardening Idea 2: Proportion
Achieving a good balanced planting is based on one thing—making sure what’s in the flower pot complements the pot itself. You want balance—but balance can be achieved in a lot of ways.
These days, you’ll hear loads of container gardening ideas about one sort of design—tall in the middle, a bunch of “fillers” around it, and some flowers or vines trailing over the edge.
That works. But it’s not the only thing that works.
Here’s one container gardening idea you might not have thought of—Asymmetry.
In this simple design, the asymmetrical slant of the spring-flowering tree balances well against the tall slimness of the urn. The spread of the branches laterally is of complementary size to the height of the pot.
Satisfying to look at, isn’t it?
It’s not the usual sort of balance, and because of that, it’s striking.
And here’s another unconventional container gardening idea about proportion—Try focusing attention on the plant pot itself by de-emphasizing what’s inside!
For example, if you have a gracefully tall container, perhaps you want a rounded hillock of evergreen atop—something less eye-catching and very uniform to direct the eye to the forms, rather than the plants themselves. In this case, the rise of the tall container would merely be satisfyingly capped by the rounded mound atop it.
And again, there are lots of ways to get that look.
Here’s one example. See how the sparse spray of red flowers draws your attention to the pot?
And also notice this.
The terra cotta pot is a light reddish color. If the spray had been a faded out green, or some shade of white or cream, the visual picture wouldn’t work. Those spots of red pick up the red clay of the terra cotta, but subtly. They also present a strong color to the eye, but de-emphasized due to the airy texture and sparseness.
De-emphasizing the plants is a neat idea, but it’s really difficult to do well. You need to avoid a planting that just looks like a mistake. Good tips to avoid this include garden planters that are modern and spare looking in color and form.
A minimalist planting treatment complements the design aesthetic. If you’d like to put these concepts to work and create continuity and drama in your design, try these two easy secrets.
Bottom line? Pay attention to proportion and texture. And—how they work with color. Let these ideas work for you, helping you create the look and feel you really want.
The Best Container Gardening Idea? Put it all together! What you want is a coordinated design effort where everything works harmoniously—your flowers, your planter, the color, texture, and proportion should all convey one look and feel.