Use Container Gardens for a Lush Look on Your Patio


After the rain we’ve been having in the mountains of North Carolina, flower gardens are really starting to come alive. Want an easy way to mix in flowers with your patio? Container gardens. Best of all, you can move them around to suit your space.

A few well-placed pots filled with exuberant foliage or hanging baskets full of flowers can quickly transform a bare balcony or patio into a lush, welcoming garden. 

The following dramatic examples by landscape designers on Houzz showcase what can be achieved with a collection of planted pots and an eye for design. From a rooftop garden in New York City brimming with potted tree ferns to a converted dairy in London where oil drums make for large-scale planters, these diverse spaces offer plenty of ideas for planting and arranging luxuriant container gardens.

1. Start With a Rich Potting Soil and a Large Container

To create a lush vignette in a single container, start with a pot that’s at least 12 to 18 inches deep. The larger the soil reservoir, the more plants can thrive in a single pot, even if they’re packed in more tightly than what’s recommended on plant tags. Don’t have a large container? Try grouping smaller pots for a verdant look.

The soil you grow your plants in is just as important — or more so — than the container. “Start with good soil,” says landscape designer Lisa Curtis, owner of Lush Custom Gardening. Curtis makes her own quick-draining, well-amended potting mix for her container gardens, but that’s not a requirement. Supplement the nutrients in store-bought potting soil — which plants will absorb quickly in their early-season growth spurts — with organic amendments at planting time. Fertilizing throughout the warm season will support healthy growth.

2. Water and Fertilize Consistently Throughout the Season

Plants grown in containers, particularly those packed in tightly, dry out more quickly than plants in the ground and will require consistent water and supplemental fertilizer to look their best. Curtis recommends that homeowners put summer containers on an automatic irrigation system to keep up with watering. “Everyone has the best intentions of keeping pots watered, but life is busy,” she says.

The containers seen here receive small daily amounts of water in summer through a drip irrigation system. Watering is less frequent at other times of the year.