Here’s a garden everyone can have. Whether you live in an apartment or have a palatial spread, container gardens add a welcome burst of color to your home. Designing a container garden is fun, doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and can be changed with the seasons. Let’s look at several elements common to container gardening that will help you become a master of this gardening niche.

Remember, when designing a container garden, it need not be all flowers. Cactus and succulent container gardens can be stunning, while vegetable container gardens are delicious!

When variegated plants such as this Silene dioica ‘Clifford Moor’ are checked often and all solid green stems are removed from their origin they can continue to be variegated for their lifetime.

Source: https://www.sonomacountygazette.com/sonoma-county-news/designing-with-and-care-of-variegated-plants-by-mary-frost

Container gardens can be set up on an apartment balcony, the entry to a condo or on decks and patios. Stairways offer possibilities to create a terraced look and can be quite spectacular. Depending on the effect you’re looking for, you can use containers that are identical or a variety of sizes and materials.

For example, a small balcony may look best with equal sized pots. If you have the space, oak half barrels hold a big display and make an attractive statement. On the other hand, an entry with wide steps leading up to a porch looks good with several different sizes of pots. A few large pots, with smaller pots of individual plants nestled up to the large ones creates a cascading effect with lots of impact. The first step in designing a container garden is choosing the arrangement and sizes of your pots.

You’d be amazed at the latitude you have in containers. Some gardeners use an old clawfoot bathtub to plant a whimsical container garden that looks great at a country style home. Large antique watering cans make a nostalgic container that is lovely outside the kitchen door. Think creative!

Now that you’ve got your pots in a row, you’ll want to prepare them for their occupants. Designing a container garden that grows vigorously and blooms profusely requires that your drainage is excellent. A good rule of thumb is to fill the container 10% of the total volume with gravel. Fill your pots to within a couple of inches of the top with good potting soil from the nursery. Don’t mash the soil down. You want it to be fluffy. Water thoroughly.

Now to the best part of designing a container garden, which of course, is choosing your plants. A large area can sustain a variety of colors, whereas a small area looks best with just two or three colors. For example, when the container garden design consists of many pots, several pots of blue campanula cascading down the steps below a few large pots filled with day lilies provides a dramatic look. Decide on your color theme and consult your plant books. When designing, place the tallest plants near the center, with short or trailing plants near the edge. Try to vary plant heights for added interest.

So there you have the basic steps to designing a container garden, one of the most rewarding of gardening projects.