Container garden secrets to a beautiful landscape

Container gardening is a way to display flowers, trees, shrubs, vines or ornamental grass in decorative containers. However, putting plants in containers is just the beginning. Think about placement of the containers to highlight both the plants and the containers. Yes, the secret to successful container gardening lies in proper placement of flowerpots, window boxes, and plant containers near the house or in the landscape. For instance, next to an entryway, the charm and beauty of potted plants may reflect your green thumb and nurturing personality. Overall, container gardening can enhance curb appeal as the plants and containers add color and depth to the landscape

To group, or not to group

Grouping is a good thing. Small and medium height containers grouped together offer a view of varying height plants. Even if the plants are all close to the same height, by setting the plants in varying height containers, an illusion of tall plants is created. A grouping may also be flowerpots that are all the same size and shape. Placed in a line, the identical containers create a border that might serve as a boundary to keep foot traffic in a specific area. One container is appropriate in the landscape if the container adequately fills the area. Think large urn with plantings that include a small tree or tall ornamental grass and voluminous plants around the base with the occasional trailing vine tumbling over the side.

Spiffing up the house exterior

Select a location, like the front stoop or a patio, to highlight with your mini-potted garden. Containers filled with plants create a focal point that draws the eyes of visitors. For the visual impact, choose flowers or containers with vivid colors or scents. Window boxes are best sized to match the width of the window. Consider unique planters like cobalt blue pottery, teak boxes or brass tubs. Line wood or metal plant containers with sturdy plastic or vinyl to avoid damaging the wood or causing erosion to the metal that might harm the plants. Hanging baskets of trailing flowers or vines over a porch railing offer a touch of privacy, partially blocking views to the porch.

Seating area

The proper use and placement of plant-filled containers near a seating area can produce a calming affect that encourages visitors to linger. Trees, palms or shrubs planted in large pots can create a privacy screen or block sun. Tuck a water feature in amongst the containers to offer the relaxing sound of trickling water. Set plant containers in groups of odd numbers of three or more. Fill corners in the seating area to create a curve with the containers.

Utility

Aside adding beauty to the landscape, planters can fill a service. Align very large containers of evergreen shrubs to create a "garden container wall" near the end of the driveway that has no garage to prevent cars from running off the driveway or into the house. Large containers filled with evergreen shrubs, closely spaced in an L-shape create a nook to store trashcans or recycle bins. Strategically placed containers can disguise an imperfection or fill a void in the landscape such as a space created when a tree or shrub is removed. Create a grouping of plants in containers in the vacated area until a new tree or shrub can be planted or until it reaches a desirable size. Toss out the worries about planting flowers in the ground under trees. Place containers filled with shade-loving plants beneath the tree to create a carpet of color.