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11 Container Garden Ideas

A container garden is a garden made up of containers, ranging from planters to pots to planter boxes. Here, we examine some of the best displays of container gardens – plus a few tips for growing your own container vegetable, flower and/or plant gardens.

Things to Consider for Container Gardening

Know the type of plant. Some plants don’t do well in containers, so research beforehand whether your plants can live in a closed space. Along the same lines, water needs are also worth looking into; while some plants and flowers can go an entire day without watering (this is more true for non-container plants), others need twice-a-day watering (more true for container plants – certain container materials can dry soil out faster than others).

1. Shapes in Place

Need an easy way to make a container garden pop? Shape up and choose containers with interesting silhouettes. Here, vase-like planters shaped like bulbs, jars, urns, bowls and traditional planters add a whirlwind of fun style. Note how the colors are all white; where plants and flowers are vivid green, red and yellow, planters can keep quiet (and let the flora do the talking).

2. Front and Center

A container garden may have “garden” in its name, but that doesn’t mean it has to live in a garden. In fact, thanks to the “container” element, these kinds of gardens don’t even have to live on the ground – take them up higher to tabletops, countertops, stool tops and chair tops. Here, a container garden made up of a variety of small planters and vases brings an outdoor dining setting to life.

3. Daybed Complement

Use container gardens as scenery for lounging. Nowhere does a stylish trio of containers filled with fresh spring flora feel more comfortable than wherever you are comfortable – so arrange such a container garden near a chaise lounge, outdoor accent chair, sofa, sectional, loveseat or, in this case shown above, daybed!

4. Splash of Color

Every so often, infuse a container garden with a splash of color. Here, a white planter tableau gets a surprise with an interjection of bright yellow statement containers (on the side table to the sofa’s left). Another way to infuse color, of course, is through the plants and flowers themselves: varieties that thrive in containers include New Guinea impatiens, Persian shields and angelonia.

5. Vegetables and Herbs

If you’re the type who finds satisfaction when decorative objects also serve as practical, daily-use items, consider using a container garden to grow produce. (You’ll save money on grocery shopping while adding a little bit of beauty to your outdoor space.) And if you’re going to grow herbs and veggies anyway, containers are the easiest and best way to approach the act, as contained soil is better able to retain moisture, ward off pests and keep roots from spreading wildly. The best easy-to-grow veggies for container gardens include beans, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce. The best easy-to-grow herbs for container gardens include basil, rosemary, mint and parsley.

6. Garden Paths

Try a container garden in an actual garden – the two aesthetics will echo off each other to create an enclosure of textures, colors and dimension. Try containers in the middle or running along the sides of a garden patch. Above, planters and pots hold their own amidst the wilder, uncontained garden plants.

7. Cacti Friends

Cacti are the friendliest when it comes to decor – don’t let the prickly skin fool you! Place a succulent (a small cactus is timeless, in terms of style and, virtually, its life expectancy!) in a small container and use it as a centerpiece for a table or use it to line paved steps (like pictured here). Remember: even just one simple container filled with a single plant is really all that’s needed to classify as a “container garden!”

8. Tree’s Company

If you have a special variety of tree you love, whether for indoor or outdoor use, keeping it set apart in its own container is a great way to haul attention to it. The concept of container gardening isn’t just for the typical planter plant and can and should be explored freely! Try containers for planting strawberries, dandelion, chicory, daffodils, begonias, snapdragons and pansies, to start.

9. Daily Greens

Think getting your daily dose of greens means chugging down a kale shake and calling it a day? Think again! Spending time in a house or outdoor space with air cleansed by living green plants at least once a day is crucial to your wellbeing. Get your daily dose of greens stylishly by containing a houseplant in a statement pot or vase.

10. Unusual Designs

A bicycle container for plants – that’s probably the coolest thing you will read today, so we’ll expand on it in a few more sentences (to make the coolness last for as long as possible). Here, a planter takes the shape of a life-size bicycle to add height, style and whimsy to a backyard. When the spokes, wheels, bicycle seat and front and rear baskets are erased of color, the petals and leaves take on the leading role. Perhaps the best reason for a bicycle-shaped container garden is that it adds the idea of motion; with wheels so large, it looks as though your plant babies can take off at any moment on a most whimsical ride.

11. Hanging Container Garden

One trend in the world of container gardening can be seen a little higher – up towards the ceilings, specifically. Hanging containers with holes on the sides for attached ropes or chains, to hang from roof beams or from side walls – these designs are the new hanging beads (that doorway fad that was once emblematic of boho and retro eclectic styles). Hanging containers are the perfect accent if you’re looking for a little more uniqueness in your décor without losing elegance.

Final Notes (+ a Simple Hack)

One hack that is helpful to gardeners and container gardeners alike is coffee grinds! Take a handful of leftover coffee (or grinds) and sprinkle it into the soil of whatever vegetable/flower/plant you are trying to grow. The added nutrients found in coffee can do wonders for seedlings and saplings.

One final note: skip the gravel. Putting rocks at the bottom of a container holding a plant is one of the worst things you can do to the plant, as the rocky bottom can cause root damage and interfere with the soil. While rocks-at-the-bottom may work in some cases, you’re better off not taking any chances (especially if you’re new to container gardening) and instead sticking to the drainage holes that are already built into modern planters and plant containers.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.