Garden-PotsThere is 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.

Option 1 – 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.

Adding a selection of flowering plants in pots around the garden and on the patio can help extend how good your garden looks through the year. Especially helpful at the beginning or end of summer and into the autumn.

But even without 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, have  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.

Option 2 – Strategic Placement

Now, the image below isn’t the perfect example because of the sheer variety of pot styles, shapes and sizes that have been used… But that aside, look how well they give form and eye-catching focal points that lead the eyes to the bench.

Pots can make great focal points, the trick is to place them on a visual journey down the garden to a key area, like a seat or gazebo.

I can’t stress enough how helpful any solid form can be for bringing clarity to planting borders. They can be miracle workers!

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 don’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.

There are many forms of hanging pots you can choose from and they don’t always have to go on a wall!

Make the most of your vertical space

Strong fences and walls can make an excellent backdrop for vertical planting schemes. You can grow ornamentals, herbs as well as some fruits and vegetables and make use of every last bit of space in your garden.

There are lots of ways you can utilise your vertical space as shown in this video

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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Rachel Mathews
Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 30 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!

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