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It's Summer - Let's Go Potty!

It's Summer - Let's Go Potty!

Containers of beautiful plants are a great way to liven up our gardens but with so many on the market deciding on the right containers for your garden can drive anyone potty!

But by choosing carefully and following a few designer tips they can be a truly stylish design statement.

Our gardening guru - Elizabeth Buckley Garden Design - shares her garden designer do's and don'ts for the perfect patio planters this summer…

1. Less is More

We've all seen patios littered with a large array of mismatched planters containing equally mismatched plants resulting in an effect that is, quite bluntly, a bit of a dogs dinner. No, no my style-loving friends we need to think 'interior design outdoors'. Take a display of lemons in a beautiful bowl carefully placed on your black granite kitchen island. Less is more n'est-ce pas? 

We are aiming for a designed look that has the right visual impact. So ditch the clutter and choose one planter you really like that is available in different sizes and heights. Decide where you're going to place containers and what design purpose they will serve. Good planters can be expensive so think of them as a long term style investment; my guide to choosing them below should help.

These tall granite planters frame an entrance - low planters divide & define a space

2. Odds or Evens?

Just like grouping objects d'art in our homes, planters on patios look best grouped in odd numbers, preferably threes. Either a group of three; small medium and large (but never buy really small ones; they look unsatisfactory and dry out really quickly), or an identical row of three, planted the same and equally spaced along a wall or deck. Single planters only work if they are really BIG and contain a specimen plant that has great shape; like a mature olive or a cloud-pruned tree. Statement planters like this need plenty of clear space around them and to be positioned where they will act as a focal point. Only use even numbers when placing two identical planters either side of a doorway or other feature; or four to define an area like a square patio. 

The classical elegance of formal topiary in tapered planters frames this feature window

3. Right Plant, Right Pot

Think about the form of a plant and which container will show it off best. For instance, box balls look silly in tubby containers but great in tall tapered or square ones. Grasses and spikey plants create a less formal look. Try to include one large, architectural plant in each container and use the same colour scheme across all of them. Large topiary plants can be under-planted to add seasonal interest and using evergreens cuts maintenance and the need to replace plants often. Above all keep it simple and bold!

These square slate planters echo the lines of the design, add height & frame a space

Quick Guide to Buying Containers

Style Shape & Size: Do you want a classical look or something sleek and contemporary? If your garden has curves, circular planters work well, if it has straight lines then square or rectangular might be best. Avoid fussy shapes; go for strong, clean lines. Big is best, never buy very small planters, they dry out too quickly.

Colour: It's important to get this right as you're going to live with it for a long time. Brightly coloured or highly decorated containers will limit what plants look good in them. Unless you're aiming for something super contemporary (like bright orange) it's best to choose plain grey, black, white, cream or go with a natural, unglazed material.

Material: If it's heavy when empty it will be extremely heavy when it's full of wet soil. Ensure that terracotta, ceramic or stone planters are guaranteed frost proof. Metal containers conduct heat and cold, frying plant roots in summer and freezing them in winter, so choose ones with thermal insulation. Check that planters in man-made materials are UV stable so they won't split or fade. Go for quality and durability every time.

A looser, less formal look; granite trough planters add interest in front of a plain wall

Find out more about Elizabeth Buckley Garden Design here on: Shop Cheshire.

All planters featured are available from: Iota Garden and Home Limited  


Tags: cheshire home and garden, elizabeth buckley garden design, summer, gardens, patio planters, iota garden,

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