Choosing Containers for Your Garden

Before buying containers, work out what sizes you'll need, how they'll look, what plants you want to grow and how much time you have for watering.

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Container Essentials

There are many different types and styles of containers, each producing a different effect; some suit formal schemes, while others are best for more naturalistic designs. In addition, the material your pot is made from affects its durability and cost. Antique stone containers, for example, are expensive, long-lasting, and very heavy, but you can buy cast-stone pots for less, while imitation plastic replicas achieve a similar effect for a fraction of the cost. This article explores the pros and cons of each type of container, helping you to make the best choices for your patio and your budget.

Vibrant Verbena Fills ContainerEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Large Containers

Advantages: Large containers are instant focal points, so spend as much as you can on a few beautiful ones, and place them strategically. They don't need large plants—small plants look just as good—or you can leave them empty.

Disadvantages: Large pots can be costly and heavy. They dominate small spaces, and may become superfluous if you restyle the garden regularly.

Large Pot is Focal Point for Patio GardenEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Small Containers

Advantages: You can pack a huge number of small containers into a limited space, hanging them on walls and standing them on shelving supported by bricks at different heights, creating a traditional border with plenty of height at the back. Small, lightweight pots are also easily rearranged, and they can be squeezed into borders where gaps appear. There’s a large choice available, from ornamental Italianate models to glazed pots in blue, red or almost any color you like.

Disadvantages: There are two main seasonal problems. In summer, the pots quickly dry out in hot weather, and may need watering three times a day. In winter, the roots are just the width of the thin pot away from icy winds and may freeze solid, so tender plants will need protecting.

Small Containers Used in a Variety of WaysEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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