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5 Container Design Tips from the Pros

Home Depot
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Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: 1 hour


5 Container Design Tips from the Pros

A container of beautiful plants is a garden within itself. If you want the look of a professionally designed container, use good design principles. These five important principles will have your containers looking like they came out of a magazine.

Don’t be afraid to go big. Large containers stand out in the landscape.

Five Keys to Container Design:

  1. Focal point. Every garden needs a centerpiece. Containers are no different. Pick one dramatic or large plant as the main attraction. Fountain grasses and tropical plants such as elephant ears, banana trees, crotons and cannas are thrilling. Build your containers around them.
  2. Color. From the container you choose to the plants within it, color is the first thing people see. Use your pot and boldest plant to create unforgettable combinations. Play with plant arrangements at the store before you buy. Use opposites on the color wheel for drama, or choose adjacent colors for a more subtle look. For high impact, choose different shades of one color.
  3. Texture. Choose plants with leaves and flowers of varying size, shape and texture. The large leaves of an elephant ear mixed with coleus, trailing petunias and artillery plant are good examples of varying texture. Trailing plants also add textural interest.
  4. Balance. Repeat plants around the container’s edge for symmetry. To achieve balance in the landscape, repeat container styles and color, too.
  5. Proportion. Large pots are dramatic, but only if the plants inside are big and bold. Use enough plants to fill your container so that their roots gently touch at planting time.


Fertilize plants throughout the growing season because constant watering leaches nutrients. Also, pruning your plants will keep your design in check.

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