Choosing the right outdoor pots for your garden

Whether you’re looking to use outdoor pots to bring life to an area of your garden, provide structure or create instant appeal, there are several things to consider to find the right style and size.

1. Location

Choose exactly where your pots are going to be located to ascertain its functionality, size and shape. Are you positioning in at an entrance to add interest? Do you need a statement piece for your outdoor space or are you using potted greenery to screen off an area?

2. Aesthetics

Look for pots that you love and pieces that reflect the style of your architecture. Is your home tradition, modern or coastal? Are your materials crisp with strong, clean lines or do you favour natural materials with a rugged aesthetic?

Also, choose an outdoor pot that complements your landscape design. This could be through texture, colour or materiality. What you plant in the pot will also help strengthen the connection between the pots and the garden. So, ensure the foliage and blooms complement the aesthetics of your chosen vessel.

3. Materials

Outdoor pots are available in a variety of materials from plastic, fibreglass and metal to ceramic, stone and timber. Choosing the material for your pot will affect both the overall look and the function of the container.

Terracotta is a classic material for pots and is perfect for citrus plants and herbs due to its porous nature. Plastic pots, on the other hand, are typically waterproof making them suitable for plants that require moisture.

If you’re looking to add texture and warmth to your outdoor space, hand-thrown pots of terracotta or timber planters can look stunning. For a more contemporary, streamlined look, folded metal planters or concrete pots may be more suitable.

4. Colour

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Adam Robinson Design has dressed this rooftop in a collection of pots in a range of neutral tones.

When thinking of a colour, consider how the tones work with the architecture, hard surfacing and the soft landscape. Generally speaking, tones of whites, browns, greys and blacks work best in an outdoor setting against green foliage. Steer clear of bright primary colours as not only can they clash and distract for your plants, they can also date quickly.

5. Size

It may be tempting to have a collection of little pots adding life to your outdoor space, but it can make the area feel cluttered and lose visual impact. While it’s important to consider what will fit into the space, it’s worth being brave with your pot size and opting to go large.

It also helps to know what variety of plants you’re wishing to plant. This will greatly impact your pot size as you don’t want to have to re-pot a plant because its roots have grown too big for the vessel. Likewise, if you choose a pot that is too large for the plant, the soil can smother the roots and remain too wet. Your nursery or plant grower should be able to advise the size that will suit the varieties you’re thinking of planting.

6. Composition

When thinking about the sizes and textures, consider how you are going to arrange your pots in the outdoor space. Two identical large urns flanking an entrance, path or stairway can create a classic aesthetic. Equally, a cluster of the same colour pots but varying textures and sizes is the perfect way to add interest to a corner of a space, on a balcony or beside entrance steps.

7. Soil

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Potted succulents by Good Manors

Once you’ve selected your outdoor pots and plants, its time to consider the type of potting mix. The soil you use will determine the health of your plants and how well they’ll mature. Opt for the best quality and choose a brand that displays the Australian Standards approval logo. You may need to re-pot your plants every few years in fresh potting mix.

Finally, ensure there is adequate drainage by raising your pots off the ground. This can be achieved with feet, timber blocks or a compressed rubber base.

For more outdoor inspiration and advice, explore our Learning Library.

Feature image: A cluster of outdoor pots by Site Design