Creative Container and Plant Combinations

A good way to decide on combinations of textures, colors and shapes is to walk around a garden center, mixing and matching plants before you buy.

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Clever Use of Color

Creating colorful combinations doesn't mean sticking exclusively to the bright and brash primaries with plenty of fizz. Try offsetting strong colors against quiet pale or dark tones. Orange stands out well against rich purples, especially here, where the long stems and flat, handIike leaves of the heucheras add texture and shape, too.

Colorful Combinations of Orange and PurpleEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Using Texture

Color gets a garden started, but the fine-tuning at the end needs to concentrate on foliage and contrasting textures: thick, fleshy, and upright, soft and floppy, rough and smooth. Choose containers that complement the plants. A pale glazed bowl sets off an Agave americana 'Variegata' (Image 1) perfectly.

Repeating Themes

For the best effects, repeated pots and plants need to be obvious, and an integral part of the design. Use large plants with lots of impact in bold containers or, if you prefer small plants, include multiple numbers and line them up where they can all be seen, creating a punchy effect.

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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