The Pros and Cons of Pots, Containers, and Garden Ornaments


Using Pots, Containers, and Garden Ornaments For Creative Landscape Design

Creating your outdoor environment is an ongoing process.  A beautiful landscape can add not only value to your home, and offer the perfect space for entertaining family and friends, it can also create a spiritual place to rejuvenate, relax and reflect among nature. 

At the beginning of any season, it’s good to take a long-term look at your landscaping to consider how it works with your current needs. Maybe you want to simplify for low maintenance because your life is busier than ever? Maybe you’d like to test new plant varieties or determine whether gardening trends like variegated flowers are as exciting in reality as they are in the gardening magazine. Employing pots, containers and even garden ornaments, can add beauty and focus to your yard, whether permanent or temporary additions.

First, let's take a look at whether pots, containers and garden ornaments make sense for your outdoor space, how you can choose the perfect materials, and whether it makes sense to change them to stay in step with garden design trends.

Making the Decision...

Deciding to include pots and containers to your landscape design can bring you many benefits. One of the biggest is being able to place containers anywhere you see fit. For example, if you're looking for convenience in the kitchen, adding containers of herbs or salad greens to containers on the patio right off the kitchen can offer tasty possibilities. 

Think first about how you'd like to incorporate pots and containers into your landscape design. There are so many wonderful possibilities with containers. They're not only more convenient and easier to maintain than a fixed garden plot, but they also offer an aesthetically pleasing way to add visual focal points and pops of color throughout your landscape. The pots themselves can be colorful. Try a mix of pot colors, with simple foliage in each, or a simple color for a set of pots - terracotta, green, or blue are popular - with bright flowers as a focal point.

If you're an older homeowner and are planning on aging in place, containers and pots play a significant role in Elderyarding®. Containers improve accessibility and can make gardening an activity you can enjoy at any age. For example, if you have mobility limitations that prevent you from bending over, or getting on your knees, containers can be positioned at a more convenient height, whether you're standing or seated. 

Maybe you live in an urban area and don't own a large piece of property. Containers can make gardening a reality by providing you with the opportunity to liven up a balcony or concrete patio with beautiful colors and scents. And containers are great for vegetables, allowing you to grow food right on your patio. Nurseries and seed companies have even developed veggie varieties that are designed to grow best in containers.

If you're new to gardening, a container garden is a great way to get your feet wet. It's much more manageable than a garden plot and an ideal way to learn the basics. There's no weeding, no digging, and no tilling and it gives you control over your growing conditions - sun, water, soil, feeding, etc. - making it perfect for beginners.

The Pros and Cons of Container Gardening

Along with some of the reasons already mentioned, pots and containers offer many pros and a few cons that are worth thinking about before you commit. 

The Pros:

• Better Growth – Placing your containers in a visible, convenient place help you to stay on top of its care. Fixed garden plots are not right for every plant. Containers give you the flexibility to grow plants in conditions that are perfect.

• They're Portable - A fixed garden plot is more vulnerable than containers. Fixed plots are subject to weather, pests, and critters. One of the significant benefits of container gardening is that containers can be moved temporarily if necessary. Containers are also useful in colder climates as you can move plants indoors or cover them if you have a cold snap.

• Pots and Containers Let Your Creativity Blossom! - When it comes to container gardening, you can really let your creative side come out. Almost anything can be repurposed into a plant container, from an old boot or watering can to an old cast iron claw foot tub! Just about any plant species that can grow in the ground can be planted in a container, including flowers, vegetables, flowers or fruit trees.

The Cons:

While there are plenty of benefits to container gardening, there are a few downsides. 

• Pots Dry Out Faster– While containers offer great flexibility in terms of location and species, during hot spells, like Texas in the summer, you'll need to water often. Plants in containers dry out much more quickly. In a warm climate, consider using drought-resistant plants or succulents. They look beautiful and are forgiving if you miss a day or two of watering. Depending on your climate, your best choice may be clay, ceramic, plastic or metal. Check with other gardeners or your local garden center before you buy.

• Regular Feeding is Required – Plants in containers can use up soil nutrients faster than those planted in the ground. Unlike those planted in the ground, which can grow roots to find additional nutrients, potted plants will need to have nutrients regularly replenished. Plus the extra watering can cause nutrients to leach out quicker. Plan for a hose nearby that’s easily dedicated to container watering, or try a small drip system.

• Plants Can Outgrow Containers – Along with occasionally needing to replace old or worn out pots or containers, plants can outgrow them and may need repotting as they grow. Whether you're upsizing pots, or trimming the roots of trees or shrubs to keep them contained, it's a little extra upkeep to keep your containers looking healthy.

Choosing the Right Containers

One of the fun aspects of container gardening is the ability to design your space with an eye toward your personal aesthetics. Containers are available in a variety of materials from resin, to clay, metal or wood. Ceramic pots and containers can be made of terra cotta or colorfully glazed.

It's really up to you! Start by thinking about what you'd like to plant and then find the appropriate container. Release your inner creative and dream big! Remember, it's your garden space. You can design it in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to you. And you can choose to grow anything you want, from beautiful fragrant flowers to organic herbs or vegetables for healthy eating. 

Remember to consider proportion when choosing containers. If you have a small balcony space in the city, planting a fruit tree might not be the best use of space. 

A Quick Look At Garden Ornaments...

From glass gazing balls popular in Victorian times to the pink flamingo, garden ornaments are a fun way to add whims, or sophistication to your outdoor landscape. Today, manufacturers are creating garden ornaments from a wide variety of materials. In days past, material choices were limited. Statuary was generally cast iron or stone, pots were made of ceramics or concrete sand they were expensive. Today, resin is an affordable option for statuary and pots. Gazing balls can be mirrored glass, metal, or delicately blown artisan glass. 

The trend toward bringing the indoors out has also given us a wide range of options for decorating. Indoor/outdoor rugs, furniture like teak or cast aluminum garden benches can allow you to create quiet, comfortable sanctuaries throughout your landscape where you can sip a glass of wine or read your favorite book among the flowers. A colorful pot or garden ornament near a resting spot can be a good attention-getter to remind you of the spot and draw you out.

One of the best features about garden ornaments is the ability to change your design over time to take advantage of changing trends in outdoor living. 

Your yard is your own personal canvas! Using containers can fit into your long-term garden plans from a practical and aesthetic standpoint. Containers offer you flexibility in design, easier maintenance, and can contain almost any type of plant, flower, tree, or be a source of healthy food for your family. Consider the possibilities container gardening offers, and you can create your own personal sanctuary right in your backyard!


Ann Yakimovicz