Terracotta pots in frong of a brick wall with blue decoratove door

Eleanor Clarke


Be Inspired by Pots & Urns

A pot is SO much more than a holder for soil and plant. The materials and shapes you choose can have a huge impact on the style of your garden, as well as how well your plants thrive. How you place and group them can make a big difference, too. And just like indoors, we’re all for statement pieces – it’s worth investing in a big, bold, gorgeous print that will anchor your living room, while a standout planter or urn makes a bold and gorgeous focal point in a garden. 

Go big or go home

There are a few different ways to go with a pot that’s taller than mid-thigh. You can take the route most travelled (and there’s nothing wrong with that) and plant it up. If your pot is a tall, slim urn, oil pot or pitcher, don’t feel you need to fill the whole thing with compost – save time and resources by stuffing the bottom with whatever you have to hand (cardboard and polystyrene both work well), then tuck a smaller plastic pot – a geranium perhaps, for a Tuscan vibe – inside to come flush with the rim. 

If the pot is enough of a feature in itself, consider leaving it unplanted as a standalone sculpture. Place it strategically in the centre of a gravel garden, on a plinth, at the back of the garden to encourage the eye to travel, or among planting. 

Problem-solving pots

Think of your containers as moveable soil and planting – not just for brightening up a sunny patio, but all over the garden. That way you can cheat tricky areas of the garden and fill them with colour and greenery. If there’s an area of hard, dry soil (among tree roots for example), a pot is a great solution

Dark group of pots with plants in front of a dark brick wall with a blue decorative wall

Group mentality

Aesthetically pots look much more pleasing grouped closely together, like a little tableau. And you’ll get bonus points from your design-savvy mates if those groups are made up of pots in the same material. Whether that’s terracotta, glazed ceramic, natural stone, metal, composite or wood. 

The practicalities

First up, every pot needs drainage holes, even if you’re just using it for display or to hold a smaller plastic pot. It’s easy enough to drill holes into most materials though. Then give some thought to choice of material. Recycled plastic is economical and lightweight, and you can get some good imitation lead or stone pots, so worth considering on a budget. Terracotta is obviously gorgeous, but bear in mind that unglazed pots dry out quickly, which can be tricky on a sunny patio. They can crack in cold weather, too, so make sure they’re frost proof. Metal is a great option, but be careful in hot spots as they can bake. Wood is another attractive option, but it will rot over time, so line wooden troughs or containers with plastic to keep them in good nick.  

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