Get Creative with Your Planters

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How can we count the ways we love planters? They’re one of the most useful and versatile outdoor accessories we can think of, especially if you want to add impact without spending a lot of money.

From aged urns to colorful clay pots to classic window boxes, planters provide pretty texture and color indoors and out. Plus, they’re easily portable so you can rearrange and repurpose them to meet your needs of the moment.

Here’s the good news: there’s no need to be too matchy-matchy, so use what you’ve got. A colorful mix of pots in a variety of sizes adds loads of visual appeal. All that’s important is creating a great place to gather this summer.

Here are our top 5 uses for our favorite planters:

1. CONTAINER GARDEN

Not a gardener? Use a few potted containers to create lush, easy-to-maintain landscaping for your outdoor space all season long. A mix of foliage plants and flowers provide instant color—just choose the palette to suit your site.

2. KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

If you have a bright spot in your kitchen, create a feast for the senses with potted herbs. Aromatic herbs such as mint, lavender, basil and rosemary infuse the air with their natural scents and conveniently enhance your favorite dishes.

3. POOLSIDE STORAGE

Lounging poolside is one of summer’s great pleasures. Make it even more relaxing for you and your guests by placing swim-and-sun essentials at arm’s reach. Place planters filled with towels, flip-flops, sunscreen and hats nearby. Planters are an attractive, weatherproof alternative to woven baskets or unsightly plastic tubs.

4. BEVERAGE HOLDER

The season calls for outdoor entertaining, from brunch to sunset cookouts. Use planters as makeshift beverage tubs and place them in convenient gathering spots—by the grill, pool or a seating area—and keep the drinks flowing.

5. ZONE MARKER

Use your containers to define a space. You can easily create a cozy conversation area or direct a natural flow of traffic to and from the patio with a row of planters. Trees and bushy plants potted in containers are great for blocking off a potting station or hiding an unsightly area, too.

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Container Garden Tips:

Consider these simple rules of thumbs to create a fabulous container garden:

  • Create a combination of thriller, filler and spiller plants. A thriller is a bold plant that creates height, a filler is a mounding, billowy plant and a spiller is a low trailing plant that spills out of the sides toward the ground.
  • Consider texture and color combinations. Do you want bold contrast or a subtle, harmonious blend?
  • Make sure all of the plants are either shade lovers or require sunlight, depending on the location of your planter.
  • Think about presentation when choosing number of plants. Will the planter be seen from all sides or just one?
Patricia Palermo

Patricia Palermo

Patricia Palermo has been writing about home décor and design since 1999, which is when she first learned the term faux bois. She's passionate about helping others find their design style, because she believes with a little know-how and inspiration, anyone can decorate with confidence. Patricia has a degree in Journalism and lives in Atlanta with her husband and four-year-old twins.

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18 Comments

  1. Reply

    LibbyP

    May 11, 2012

    Thanks for the great ideas! Love the first container garden – could you please let the plants?

    And Carey B, I love your idea of sand and garden candles! Inspired!

    Ballard planters are so pretty – comfortable inside and out!

  2. Reply

    Carey B

    April 22, 2012

    I purchased the Tuscan urn (pictured as the herb garden) in several sizes and display them above my kitchen cabinets. They look regal and are perfect for filling the space. On the deck, I have filled them with sand and put tall garden candles in them. I have received so many compliments on my pretty Ballard purchases.

  3. Reply

    Mary

    April 19, 2012

    I have a planter like the 1st one but I have no yard so I use it for inside sometimes to place my Xmas tree in at Xmas.

  4. Reply

    Nan

    April 13, 2012

    I laughed when I saw your feature on containers. I recently moved into a new patio home and almost immediately had to entertain a group of women. I needed a waste basket for my powder room in a hurry and used a planter that matched the room. It looks great and no one else has one like it!

  5. Reply

    christina mortel

    April 12, 2012

    I also use my pots and planters for storing firewood for our outside fireplace. Thanks Ballard!

  6. Reply

    LINDA BATCHELOR

    April 12, 2012

    I ALSO USE PLANTERS TO HOLD PLASTIC CONTAINERS IN THE KITCHEN,SHAMPOOS….ETC IN THE BATH ,MAGAZINES IN THE DEN,MAKE UP SUPPLIES IN MY BEDROOM ETC. THEY ARE SO PRETTY ,COME IN SO MANY USEFUL SIZES AND ARE SO PRACTICAL I EVEN USE ONE IN THE KITCHEN TO STORE TOOLS LIKE SPATULAS, PIZZA CUTTERS ETC. I USE A RATHER BIG ONE IN MY BEDROOM TO HOLD SOCKS,TIGHTS,ETC.

  7. Reply

    Sunryze

    April 12, 2012

    Love the ideas! Can hardly wait to get my planters out once the weather really turns to spring/summer here in Wisconsin!!!

  8. Reply

    helen

    August 16, 2011

    great ideas we certainly will use them

  9. Reply

    Tara Villani

    July 8, 2011

    Great ideas! I love items with multiple uses!

  10. Reply

    toni

    June 28, 2011

    i love planters and your ideas and definatly are gunna try them. i have some big planters around the pool with flowers in them and i place an umbrella in it and it is so beautiful and also shades my sun sensitive plants as well

  11. Reply

    Maureen Clary

    June 14, 2011

    As always, I enjoy new ideas that continually come from Ballards. Thanks so much!!
    I also use planters for other things: store magazines/books by the pool, kids pool toys, festive container for trash at pool parties, quick-set-up bar (put 2 tall containers, fill w/rock or sand and then add a precut piece of heavy tin, acrylic or wood. I usually create two (one for kids; one for adults).

    • Reply

      Ballard Designs

      June 14, 2011

      Maureen: Some great ideas! We love that you found other ways to use our planters. Way to go, Maureen…
      The Style Studio Team

  12. Reply

    Teresa Loop

    June 14, 2011

    I love the idea of putting rolled up towels in a planter! I have a small deck and a spa that desperately needed a fresh idea like this!

    • Reply

      Ballard Designs

      June 14, 2011

      Teresa: We love the idea of the planter used as a towel bin. Not only does it look great – but it keeps the towels from getting wet!
      The Style Studio Team

  13. Reply

    SalsaGirl

    June 14, 2011

    Great ideas! Some of these I have never thought of! Thanks so much!

  14. Reply

    Cheryl Marandola

    June 14, 2011

    I absolutely love your products. The displays are just beautiful. Keep up the good work.

  15. Reply

    Pinky

    June 14, 2011

    I LOVE container gardening and have alot of planters on my front porch and back deck! These are wonderful ideas for other uses for planters too! Thanks!!!!

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