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How-To: Picking Your Outdoor Planters

I recently came across some smart tips for picking a planter for your outdoor plants on Domino, and I thought I'd summarize them for you, since it's Good to Grow month, afterall. You probably never realized what a difference the look of your planter can make on your home. So before you go and pick up a classic terracotta for your sleek, modern home, consider these tips like you would a new sofa for your living room.

  • SHAPE Choose it like you would anything else in your home. Here's a few ways to think about shapes, as they relate to your home.
    » Square/Urn: formal, traditional, Colonials, brick rowhouses, stone manses
    » Rounded/Galvanized: casual, country, cottages, wood houses
    » Geometric: modern, ranch, Richard Neutra-style houses
    » Angular: versatile, brownstones, apt. balconies, farmhouses, bungalows

To hear more tips,


  • SIZE Small, shallow pots are good for low-growing plants. "Choose a pot about half as high as the plant is tall." "The bigger the pot the less you'll need to water."
  • MATERIALS Consider the pros and cons of each type before you buy.
    » Terracotta.
    pros: classic, tones complement flowers, versatile, widely available in stores and all shapes/sizes
    cons: freezes in cold temp., breaks easily, not unique
    » Metal.
    pros: comes in all styles
    cons: often without drainage holes and rims to hold, gets too hot in Summer
    » Cast stone and ceramic.
    pros: glamorous, available in lots of colors, patterns, and finishes
    cons: freezes in cold temp., breaks easily, colors can distract from your garden
    » Fiberglass and resin.
    pros: often good fakes with classic lines of metal and stone, light, cheap to ship
    cons: fake, crack easily
  • FUNCTION Your planter needs to have enough soil to support your plant's roots. You'll need "at least a few inches of free soil around the roots in the new pot." It also needs drainage holes on the bottom. If not, you'll need to put it inside a plastic pot first, and remove it when watering.


Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great tips.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I like the breakdown of this. I need some pretty ceramic planters for my front steps.
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