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Home and Decor
April 2008

Home and Decor

Planter Pointers

Lisa Aiken, from Terra Firma Design, shares a few tips on how to create the perfect container garden.

  1. Start by having a theme. Choose colours that accent your home's interior and the surrounding outdoor furniture. Good quality containers are pricey but advisable as they will survive the elements and give your plantings the proper protection.
  2. In deciding the size and number of containers, determine what flaws and what features you want to work with. Most importantly, your containers should be to scale with your surroundings, and therefore, so should your plantings within.

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  1. Arrangements in large containers stay in the same spot, whereas smaller lightweight containers can be moved to facilitate idea growing conditions. The trays with wheel that often go underneath pots are not ver reliable.
  2. For balconies and terraces, containers must be very good quality to endure the sun. Make sure they are UV protected, as the sun breaks down the fiberglass/resin containers, plus, they have to withstand our cold winters. Clay or ceramic will
  3. break in the winter if they are not emptied. Paint the base of cast iron planters with a sealer so the rust doesn't stain your stone. Larger containers are always better than lots of small ones, they make a bigger impact. Smaller containers are only useful around larger ones when placed on the ground.
  4. When using resin or fiberglass containers, especially if your creation has height,be sure to add pea gravel for stability. Approximately half a container full is required. Make sure your container has a hole for drainage and top off with quality soil.
  5. For no-fuss, no-maintenance, instant beauty, use artificial plantings and add real flowers around the base of a large centerpiece. No one will be able to tell that they are artificial, and they can last up to five years outside.
  6. When using cast iron containers, insulate your pot first by using ridged foam insulation, or try adding popcorn chips to the soil for added warmth in the winter.
  7. When decorating your new containers, start with a centerpiece and work around the perimeter, using cascading vines, annuals, perennials, herbs, grasses, ferns and different tones of green to create interest. If you are using an evergreen, you can replace the perimeter each season, giving it a brand-new look each time.
  8. Keeping your containers healthy can be a little more work than a garden, as they can't store and obtain water as freely. An irrigation system is the best choice, but if one is not available to you, start with top-
    grade soil with time released nutrients and moisture-storing components. Don't forget - you must fertilize your containers every two weeks.
  9. Don't overuse colours. Keep them in the same vein as the garden, or use your containers to accent your outdoor furniture. White is the perfect colour for shade gardens and fits with popular Art Deco influence.
  10. Use decorative props in containers, such as iron obelisks or trellises for height and for vines. A garden statue creates great interest, surrounded by your favourite flowers. Remember, pack it in for that immediate, professional look.