Gardens are so important for our wellbeing, now more than ever! However, you don't need loads of space to create a beautiful outdoor area, as these potted garden ideas show. 

container gardening - how to create your own modern container garden - garden -

Image: Modern Container Garden by Isabelle Palmer (£16, Hardie Grant)

As the name suggests, a container garden is all about making the most out of your outdoor space by planting your favourite plants and shrubs in containers, whether that be in traditional terracotta pots, a pretty window box or in more unusual ways. Modern Container Garden author Isabelle Palmer has put together an easy guide to get your container gardening journey kickstarted.

Choosing plants

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Image: Modern Container Garden by Isabelle Palmer (£16, Hardie Grant)

You can grow most plants in containers that you would grow in the open garden. Container plants come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours and include small trees, shrubs, climbers, as well as perennials, grasses, bulbs and annual bedding plants.

To ensure success, ascertain whether you can provide your choice of plants with the right growing conditions. You can easily supply the best growing medium, but the amount of light your outdoor space receives is beyond your control. The level of sunshine is by far the most important factor for ensuring your plants will thrive. 

Picking the perfect containers

small garden space - how to create your own modern container garden - garden -

Image: Modern Container Garden by Isabelle Palmer (£16, Hardie Grant)

Container gardening is not confined to small spaces, such as courtyards, balconies and roof gardens, or to urban areas either for that matter. Admittedly, if you only have a small balcony, then a few containers allow you to indulge your horticultural passion and enjoy plants throughout the year, but larger gardens can also benefit from some well-chosen containers.

There is a wide range of containers available made from traditional terracotta, concrete and zinc in many different sizes and materials. You can also recycle items to produce a display that’s uniquely yours. Your local garden centre will have a good selection to choose from, and you’ll also find a fantastic choice online. Take the time to consider the sizes, shapes, colours and prices. Putting containers together to create a ‘garden’ is a real opportunity to experiment with different textures and shades.

Prepare and plant

small outdoor planters - how to create your own modern container garden - garden -

Image: Modern Container Garden by Isabelle Palmer (£16, Hardie Grant)

Cleaning your containers before planting them up reduces the risk of pests and diseases infecting your precious new plants. Scrub the container with some warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly, then allow to dry.

Water needs to be able to drain freely from the bottom of your containers, so it’s a good idea to cover the drainage holes with a few pieces of broken terracotta pot, old tiles, or old china (often referred to as ‘crocks’). This will prevent the drainage holes clogging up with potting mix.

If you have bought a new container, you can start planting without any preparation. However, if you are reusing old containers, wash these thoroughly in case fungal or other diseases, or sometimes the eggs of certain pests, are lurking in the residues of old potting mix.

Although not essential by any means, you can add a few finishing touches to your planted containers and their surroundings to lift them out of the ordinary and make them more stylish and eye-catching.


Do you have any small garden tips? Let us know on social! Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.



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