Saturday, May 18, 2013

Outdoor Living, Part 2: Contain Yourself

The next thing I want to talk about in our Outdoor Living series is: Plants!  Specifically container gardens.  Let me be clear:  the reason we are talking specifically about potted gardens is: I am not a gardener.  I have no idea where to begin, how to encourage things to grow, or what to plant where.  It's all a little overwhelming to me.  For my personal home, I worked very closely with a landscape architect to achieve a manicured look for my yard that wouldn't need a lot of maintenance that depended on anyone besides the yard man.  So, dressing up an outdoor space gives me a good opportunity to add some more garden to my backyard without screwing up what the landscape architect designed.  I'm not going to go adding flower beds willy-nilly, people!

If you're like me and are a little hesitant to go making huge (permanent) changes to your backyard's landscaping, or, if you're in the middle of a backyard patio redo and are wondering what else you need, read on!

Potted gardens (or container gardens) are a really easy, temporary, adjustable way to put more flower power on your patio.  If you change your mind about their placement, you can move them with a dolly and a little muscle flexing!

source unknown

Pots are a great way to add more color and texture to your outdoor living room!  Just look at this beauty:

The layering of all of the different heights and sizes of planters really makes this potted garden a special element in the "room."  It would just feel incomplete without all of the plants, don't you think?

Planters can separate spaces and give them all defined start and end points.  Elaine Griffin created this outdoor space using a ton of elements, so it's hard to pinpoint just exactly what makes the space so special;  but in the forefront of the picture you can see the rectangular planters she's used to really create a beginning for the space and an entrance into it.

Planters can also give a space more privacy.  Take a gander at these planters au boxwoods lining the iron fence that borders this space.  Just imagine how NOT private the space would be without them!  (And if the homeowners get sick of them, they are easily moved or changed!)

All of the green additions to this particular space really soften it up.  (Hard stucco walls, hard flagstone tile, hard concrete table... You get the point.)

Now that you can (clearly!) see the merits of potted gardens in your outdoor spaces, lets talk about types of planters.  Planters, like anything these days, come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials.  The best way to choose the right planter for your space is to know your style.  

If your home is country chic, you could do a galvanized planter like this:

You could also use reclaimed wood:

Aren't those charming?!

If you like a bit more traditional vibe, you can't get more classic than terra cotta pots.

Or a natural stone look:

on my Pinterest page pinned from this location

If you crave color, you can do a paint treatment on clay pots, like these by Amanda Wright of Wit & Whistle, featured in BHG.

Or buy glazed pottery like these:

found here

If you gravitate toward a more modern look, you can go with really different metal containers like these:

Found here

Or white glazed pots like these:

Bondi Pots

Now that we've got our planters selected, we have to decide what to put in the planters!!  You can pot herbs, ornamentals, veggies, trees, or succulents, but make sure whatever you plant, it is the right plant for your zone and sun exposure.  Not only are there different things to plant, there are different WAYS to plant pots.  Remember the lessons from the post about styling bookshelves?  (Find it here.)  You should apply those rules (in large part) when planting a container!  

You can plant one thing in each pot.  If you are doing the each-pot-gets-one-plant style, use pots of different sizes layered in front of one another to achieve a visually interesting look.

(source unknown)

You can plant a mixture of many things.  If you're taking the many-things-one-pot approach, think about achieving different height, using the entire pot to layer, and dropping things over the sides!

thanks to Indulgy for this image

For more inspiration photos for outdoor rooms, visit our Outdoor Living Pinterest board here.  For more planter ideas, visit our Potted & Planted Pinterest board.

For Part 1 of our Outdoor Living series, go here.

Inspired by this post, but don't know where to start?  Contact us for a free consultation specifically for your outdoor space!  We can help.  ;)

PS.  Come back soon for Outdoor Living, Part 3: Bring It Home!

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