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What to Plant in Your Container Garden

container gardens, what to plantHow do you know what to plant in your container garden? What do you do if you are unfamiliar with plants? Not to worry! You don’t have to be a plant expert to have a beautiful container garden landscape.

Start with design inspiration. One of the handiest things for me is finding a stunning fabric swatch that includes the colors you want to showcase in your design. The nice thing about a piece of fabric is its portability. You can take it with you to the garden center and hold it up next to plants for comparison. Another great thing about using a piece of fabric is the color scheme has been perfected for you. The right tones and complimentary hues have been combined to work together in the fabric pattern.

A good container garden design will use several different containers. You may want to pick out three or more different fabric swatch choices that look good together. You can create some very sophisticated combinations using the fabric pattern-matching technique! By matching the fabric pattern colors exactly, you can avoid mixing conflicting tones. This is important.

As you become more experienced in landscape design, you will notice there are several families of white and several types of yellows, and they look terrible when placed close together. Keep your golden yellowish whites away from your creamy ivory whites. Keep your orange yellows away from your chartreuse yellows.

Another thing you learn with experience is to match color intensities. Pastels need to stay together. Intense primary colors need to be grouped together. You can use some very surprising combinations as long as the intensity levels match.

You can break a lot of traditional color rules by sticking with a monochromatic selection of plants. Just about anything goes if you use only a single hue with a contrasting neutral color.

Neutral colors in plant material are white, green, and burgundy. They go well with everything!

Container gardens need to have coordinated bloom times. You can be sure this happens by rotating the display by seasons. The seasonal display in the photo shows an early spring combo of primary colors. Depending on your level of energy, you can switch out your entire garden for early spring, late spring, summer, late fall, and winter. Plant at least one month ahead of the season to give your plants some time to grow and fill in nicely.

Every garden needs some strong structural greenery. Include evergreen shrubs and vines and nice foliage plants in each container for compositional backbone.

If you garden is slow to fill in, you can insert decorative items in the bare spots to extend the seasonal effect. Garden gnomes are the traditional choice, of course! But, think about some natural choices. For fall, you can insert some nice branches with fall color. For spring, you can insert some greenhouse-grown blooms (note the primrose plant stuck between the tulips and ivy in the photo). It’s your garden, limited only by your creativity.

“Thank you, Mood!”

To find out more about professional landscape design, you can purchase The Advanced Guide to Landscapes; Designing Successful Landscapes, a new eBook that will be available soon.

Your First Landscape Part Two