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Container Garden Ideas: These Displays Are Inexpensive, Easy to Make & Simply Stunning

Transform your space with pretty container garden displays that bring blooming beauty to your yard all season!

If you’re looking for a simple yet stunning way to dress up your yard with beautiful flowering plants and lush greenery, look no farther than a DIY container garden! These small displays are easy to make and add life to your porch, patio and yard without taking up much space. “Container gardens can dress up almost any space with a bit of color or foliage,” says garden pro Lana Williams, author of The Container Garden Recipe Book. “Containers can be moved around and plants can be easily swapped out season to season, providing continual interest and beauty. This is why even experienced gardeners with lots of space to plant in the ground almost always have container gardens, too!” And you can make one using on-hand finds like baskets, tool boxes, old plant pots and so much more. Read on for easy container garden ideas and how to get the look.

Container garden idea #1: Petunia-filled window box

Container garden ideas: Blue window with beautiful purple petunias planted in a window box below
miccolino/AdobeStock

“Petunias have a dreamy, romantic quality when they gracefully and abundantly cascade from a window box,” says Williams. To get the look, affix a window box (equipped with drainage holes) beneath a window outside of your house, fill it with potting mix, then nestle the roots of petunia plants into soil, spacing as directed on the plant’s care tag; water soil thoroughly. Williams says petunias love a warm sunny location in order to yield continual blooms. Most varieties of petunias require moderate watering, preferring their soil to be neither too wet nor too dry, and they will let you know if they are over or under watered by looking droopy, she says.

Related: How to Clean Window Screens (With or Without Removing Them)

Container garden idea #2: Hanging blooming basket

Container garden ideas: Hanging plant basket filled with moss, calibrachoa, bellflower and ferns
Photographed by Erin Scott and styled by Lana Williams for The Container Garden Recipe Book

“I love the creativity of coming up with new planting combinations that give classic plants a fresh feeling,” says Williams. For a unique display that elevates a mix of classic blooms to eye level on a porch or patio, try popping them into a vintage hanging plant basket, like this lovely arrangement made by Williams for The Container Garden Recipe Book. To get started, pick up a vintage plant basket from a local antique store or flea market. Tip: You can also transform any metal fruit basket into a fun planter! Simply give the basket a coat of spray paint, let dry, then tie three lengths of twine to the rim of the basket, spacing evenly. Gather the loose ends of the twine and knot them together.

To create the garden display, line the basket with cut-to-fit sheets of moss (available at garden centers), then fill with potting mix. Nestle roots of purple flowering plants (like calibrachoa and bellflower) into soil in one side of basket, then nestle roots of a leafy plant (like a fern) into soil on the other side. Hang basket in a spot that gets full sun to partial shade and water regularly.

Container garden idea #3: Portable toolbox planter

Container garden ideas: Yellow tool box filled with soil, marigolds, beggarticks, sweet alyssum and African daisies
Photographed by Erin Scott and styled by Lana Williams for The Container Garden Recipe Book

“Containers come in many shapes and sizes, and really, almost anything with a hole can be transformed into a container,” notes Williams. For an unexpected yet fun display that you can easily pick up by the handle and move to any bare spot in your yard, try popping a few different varieties of flowering plants into a vintage tool box, like this one styled by Williams for The Container Garden Recipe Book. To get the look, carefully drill holes into the bottom of a tool box or garden caddy for drainage, fill with potting mix, then nestle in roots of yellow flowering plants (like marigold, yellow beggarticks or black-eyed Susans) and pink-to-purple flowering plants (like verbena, sweet alyssum, African daisies or clematis), grouping like colors together. Set in a sunny spot and water regularly.

Container garden idea #4: Low-profile blooming display

Container garden ideas: Vintage stone water trough filled with soil, begonia, spiral grass, sea thrift and moss
Photographed by Erin Scott and styled by Lana Williams for The Container Garden Recipe Book

“Spring is the season of rebirth, new life and rejuvenation,” says Williams. “We should take this signal from nature to start fresh in our container gardens.” For a lush display that resembles a verdant spring pasture, like this one created by Williams for The Container Garden Recipe Book, try lining a stone water trough or concrete low-profile planter (available at garden centers) with moss and leafy plants and grasses that prefer moist soil. For a similar look, simply line the trough with potting mix, then nestle roots of leafy plants (like begonia), a spiral grass plant and a pink or white flowering plant or two (like sea thrift) to one side of the trough. Top soil with moss and keep soil moist.

Related: Pro Tips: How To Care For Tulips + How to Turn Potted Tulips Into A Stunning Garden Display

Container garden idea #5: Tiered display

Container garden ideas: Summer potted flowers like dianthus, lavender, ivy, bellflower and more grouped together on outdoor steps
Valda/AdobeStock

To add vibrant, welcoming flair to an entryway, try grouping containers together on steps—the levels give each plant its own “stage” on which it can shine. To do: Nestle the roots of plants (like dianthus, bellflower, lavender, ivy and petunias) into colorful, potting mix-filled pots. For added interest, Williams suggests placing large pots behind smaller ones so guests — and passersby! — can see and enjoy all plants. Lavender likes full sun and for the potting mix to dry out between waterings. Dianthus and bellflower like full sun and the potting mix to stay moist. Ivy can tolerate full sun to shade and prefers moist soil.

Container garden idea #6: Deconstructed herb garden

Container garden ideas: Mini pots filled with herb plants like thyme, basil, oregano and mint
Olga Peshkova/Getty

“Herbs are well-suited for container gardens,” says Williams. “Plus, it’s greatly satisfying to have a culinary buffet of flavor on hand while grilling or cooking.” To do: Nestle the roots of herb seedlings like thyme, basil, oregano and mint into small individual pots filled with potting mix. Group the pots together on a small patio table for a gorgeous, growing centerpiece. Give the herbs full sun and to keep the soil moist, especially in summer heat, notes Williams.

Related: A Kitchen Garden Is the New Trend That Brings Gourmet Flavor to Your Countertops

Container garden idea #7: Petite succulent containers

Container garden ideas: Succulents growing in a pair of terra cotta pots
Patiphan Arunpradit/Getty

“A small, succulent-filled pot can make a simple yet elegant living table arrangement,” says Williams. “There is a whole world of succulents with different colors, textures and growth habits, which allows you to get creative when making a succulent arrangement.” To do: Fill one small and one medium-sized terra-cotta pot with succulent potting mix, then tuck root balls of succulents (like haworthia and sedum varieties) into soil; water thoroughly. Succulents like full sun to part sun. They can sometimes burn in direct afternoon sun, so in hot climates consider moving the container to a spot where it will receive afternoon shade. Allow succulent potting mix to dry out between waterings.

Must-read: How to Bring an Almost-Dead Succulent Back to Life — Plus Easy Tricks to Keep It Thriving


For more gardening tips, keep reading!

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