Pots and Containers in Garden Design

Pots and containers used in garden design are the decorative details that give the garden individuality and personality. They can be used as focal points, to frame an entrance or view, to introduce height, colour, texture and form. My pet hate though is lots of little pots scattered around with no purpose or coherence; throw them away and be bold!

There is such a choice available but the overall look and style of the garden needs to be considered. I am all for simplicity and elegance, and being on the fussy side I have honed my selection to a few classics.

The classic terracotta pot is timeless and adaptable, working for all genres of garden design from modern to traditional, country to urban. Used in groups or as a single large focal point these pots always have an elegant look and soften down beautifully with age.

There are many designs on the market from plain to highly ornate and mass produced to handmade. A handmade Cretan or Italian terracotta pot will have a much more subtle appearance, as the colour is a lot more mellow, than the fiery orange generally associated with terracotta plant pots. For a large focal point it is worth investing in a more expensive handmade pot as this will be a major feature in the garden.

For something a bit different for a modern garden there are some interesting concrete planters being produced in the uk by innovative designers. The concrete lends itself to beautiful soft curves or sharp geometric shapes. I like the look of raw concrete in a modern environment but it can also be coloured for a more decorative, gentle finish.

Lead planters are another classic for a formal garden, generally square or rectangular the more decorative designs work in a traditional setting and the plain cubes work in a contemporary space.

Another classic is the square timber planter which is ideal for a traditional, formal garden and these have the advantage of being painted in a colour of your choice.

Having selected the container there comes the decision of what to put in it or in fact nothing at all.
Large, striking pots used as focal points can happily be left unplanted to allow them to shine amongst the surrounding planting but the majority of containers will need bringing alive with some carefully chosen specimens but that’s a whole new subject in itself.