Garden pots – How to use decorative pots in your garden

Garden-PotsThere are an amazing selection of garden pots available these days. Everything from classical terracotta, through to modern glazed urns in different shapes, sizes and colours.

Pots can make a great focal point, regardless of whether they have plants in them or not. If you have a nice urn shape, they are very well-suited to just standing empty in amongst planting as shown in the photographs above.

Grouping pots

Normally, when you group things in the garden, a group of 3-5 or any odd number tends to look best. But I find, with empty pots, two next to each other in different sizes looks really good and breaks the odd number rule. However, if you are planting the pots, then the rule applies. Odd numbers together do look better for plants.

Pots can add a dash of colour and a solid shape into a planting border that brings clarity in amongst the planting. You don’t have to use them solely to put plants in on the patio.


An urn on its side looks good surrounded by cobbles

You can also use the urn shape pots on their side with cobbles around them as shown in the photograph on the left, which creates an interesting focal point.

If you have pots dotted about on your patio, they do tend to look better when grouped. Also, having a colour scheme running through them helps bring clarity to the grouping, rather than having an odd assortment of different types of pots.

If you have an odd assortment of pots that people have given you over the years and have collected, then a trick to make them work together well is to have certain plants that you repeat through the planting in the pots. So, for example, you have now Alchemilla mollis that’s in several different types and style of pot mixed in with everything. The repetition of the plant brings clarity to the mixture of different types of pots.

What style of pot should you choose for your garden?

Try to choose garden pots that are in the same style as your garden i.e. traditional or modern. If you have an assortment of pots that doesn’t suit the style of your garden, then consider painting them. Even the most boring of old terracotta pots can be completely transformed with a coat of paint.


Painted terracotta pots look great both on the ground and raised up on walls

Pots also don’t have to be relegated to ground level. You can put them onto window ledges, into metal frames or suspend them from the wall. Or just attach them to the wall as they do in the patio gardens of Cordoba in Spain, as shown on the first of the three images above.

The pots used in the patio gardens are suspended away from the wall slightly with the use of a small piece of wood behind each one and they watered them very carefully to make sure they don’t stain those lovely white walls.

Garden pots used correctly can really liven up any garden and make a great gift if you’re stuck for what to get a garden loving friend.

BUT do be warned, features like pots  will NOT give you a stunning garden – you have to get the design layout right first. If you don’t know how to do that then…

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About Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 20 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!


  1. frederick okyere-mintah says:

    i need videos on garden works from the beginning to the end. could you help me.

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