Planters are a great way to add some zest to your landscape. We use planters to add some interest and definition near the front door, a focal point in a landscape, or to add some height in a landscape. Here are a few practical pointers to help you accent your landscaping with planters.
Types of Planters for the Landscape
Planters, pots and urns come in all shapes, sizes and styles. My favorite planter types are glazed urns, stained concrete planters, cast iron, and terra cotta. Each pot has it positive and negative attributes. Stained concrete is a great all around value. Although not as high end of a choice as the cast iron, they are tough, long lasting, and attractive. Cast iron planters are usually very expensive and usually being black painted metal which means they will get very hot in full sun. Its best to use these in shady areas so that the plantings will not be damaged from heat exhaustion. Glazed urns and terra cotta are also a great choice. These are usually expensive and fragile, but their affect on a landscape is stunning especially when the them of the landscape demands the special affect these planters can offer. Unfortunately, they can sometimes be prone to crack with freezing temperatures.
Size of Planters for the Landscape
Getting the correct size planter is also very important. If a planter is too large or too small, it may ruin the ideal landscape look you are looking for. I usually advise clients to use a cardboard box that is sized similar to the planters so they can envision the planter and hopefully pick the correct size. We find that are typical planter by a front door or in a landscaped garden is usually 24-34″ tall. We typically do not use planters bigger or smaller than that.
What goes in the planter?
We use all types of plantings in our pots. A good rule of thumb is that whatever goes in the pot needs to grow to be at least 75% of the total height of the pot. So you really need to almost match the size of the planter with your plants. The options to fill planters are endless including seasonal flowers, topiary boxwood, large trees, palms, and the list goes on.
What goes in the planter matter!
Irrigation is really a necessity in Macon and Warner Robins, GA when summer time temperatures can exceed 100 degrees and we might not see rainfall for months. We almost always run irrigation up through the center of the pot and tie it into the existing sprinkler system so the planter gets watered every time the irrigation or sprinkler system runs. These small almost invisible irrigation sprays will put just the right amount of water into the landscape plants to keep them alive without any effort!
Drainage is also very important. The pot needs to sit on a concrete stepper and must have some aggregate or even packing peanuts to allow the pot to drain. I have seen pots that have not been able to drain and this has killed the plantings faster than no irrigation! The dirt is also very important. Good fluffy light compost is a great way to fulfill the nutrients needs and the drainage needs of the plantings.
You can see an example of some containers here.
You can also watch a video about planters here.