The principles of container garden design are not hard to grasp–or to execute.
Whether you live in an apartment or condo with only room for patio gardening, or whether it’s balcony gardening or window boxes for you, you really can create a beautiful container garden.
In fact, small space gardening lends itself perfectly to garden designs that reflect you and fits your lifestyle.
Maybe you like full, lush clay flower pots—even if you have a container shade garden, you’re someone who still wants flowers and herbs that pack a wallop.
But maybe you’re a minimalist. Perhaps your outdoor planters need to make a different sort of statement—a few strategic specimen plants with big impact are just right for you.
Three Components For Success
In this section, you’ll take the first three steps for success. Step 1: Answer questions about your lifestyle and location. Next you’ll explore Step 2: Your personal style. Then you’ll put those together in Step 3: The 2 fundamental design building blocks—Color and Form.
So. Before you stick a spade in the dirt, let’s begin!
Step 1: Think Space, Sun, Time, Skill.
For a great container garden design, begin by answering the four essential questions about your lifestyle and location.
Go to Design Tips now.
Step 2: Find Your Container Gardening Design Style
Ready to take the Personal Design Quiz? Then see how to translate your style into great container plantings?
Take the Personal Style Quiz now!
Then read about What Your Answers Mean.
Step 3: Container Garden Design Essentials
Now that you’ve discovered what style appeals to you—what sort of “look” you want–and you’ve thought about your lifestyle and gardening site, it’s time to talk about how you create a great garden design.
Whether you’re creating a butterfly garden, filling garden pots with edible flowers, or even growing vegetables in containers (yes, ornamental kale, for example, is very showy), garden design matters.
Let’s talk Color and Form.
Color reigns supreme whether you’re gardening in large outdoor planters, groups of small, glazed clay pots (as here), or growing flowers in your front window boxes.
In any small garden design, you need to understand how emotionally charged color is.
Even herb and water gardening catches the eye if color is used properly.
Herbs set in groupings of plain terra cotta pots can send a message of continuity and abundance using tiny white chamomile flowers set against spikes of blue lavender.
Water gardens filled with floating lavender water hyacinth and dwarf pink water lilies—what could be prettier?
Form has to do with both texture and proportion.
A plant’s texture is not only how it feels, but how it looks like it feels. Here small arcs of tufting greenery appear soft, inviting, and feminine not only because they are visually diminutive, but because they are a light green as well.
The color reinforces the gentle softness the plant visually conveys. Use these ideas in your own container garden design.
Proportion has to do with the relationship between the plant’s height, spread, and drop as compared to the pot’s size and visual weight.
A great container garden design depends on all three–texture, proportion and color.
What you’re after is a sense of overall balance.