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Create indoor and outdoor continuity using planter boxes on your deck or patio. Here are some garden planter pointers for you to consider to add some green to an outdoor living space.

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It is lovely to sit on a deck or patio surrounded by lush plantings. You are taken into the space beyond the hardscaping to interesting greenery, and colorful and aromatic flowers.

Add to your gardens with container plantings on the deck or patio. Planters can be an integral part of the design in all seasons with colors, shapes, texture, sizes, and plant choices. They are not just for summer!

Uses for planters

Before deciding on what types of containers to use, figure out what their function will be. They can be the transition between the house and yard. They soften the edge of a deck, or dress up a railing. Large pots of evergreens and shrubs can be used as a privacy screen. One on each side of the entrance to the house with dramatic plantings will easily guide guests inside.

On a large deck or patio, containers can define separate areas. You can define sitting and eating areas with informal lines of planters. Or, you can create a focal point with one large planting.

Container choices

When you have clarified the function of your planters, find suitable containers. They need to fit the size of your plants. Trees and shrubs will need large pots for their roots to have ample room. You can also put an entire design in a large container, with something tall in the center surrounded by increasingly shorter plants around it.

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Wellspring Drop-In Deck Planters (“Black” 16″ Drop-In Deck Planter 2pk) from BuildDirect.

Smaller plants need smaller pots. If they have too much soil, there will be an excess of water that will rot their roots and kill them. If pots are too small, roots will take up all the soil space and dry out faster, also killing them. So it’s important to have the right size planter. All containers must have drainage holes for water to run through.

Planters should blend with the style of your house. You can find contemporary, classic, modern, colonial, country, and vernacular styles so your yard does not feel busy and disjointed.

Design considerations

Container groupings make a pleasing visual impact. This can be a focal point of the deck or definition of the edge. Vary the heights of your planters and plantings for greatest visual interest. Keep the eye moving with variety.

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Wicker Planter Box with 4 Compartments from BuildDirect.

Place pots on steps leading to the yard or the door. Put them in the garden as a sculpture to rest the eye. Integrate them with built-in seating. Blend the plants of the yard and containers for a seamless transition.

For a cottage feel, use many colors, and include white to create depth and space. Other color schemes are monochromatic (tints and shades of one color), complementary (opposite colors on the color wheel), and triad (three colors equally space on a color wheel).

Planting and maintenance

Use a potting soil with good water retention and drainage. Choose plants for each pot that have the same light requirements. Thoroughly water in your new plantings to settle the soil and remove air pockets. Check for water daily. In the heat of the summer, most will need water twice a day.

Consider a watering system to save you time. Individual drip systems can be placed in each pot. Connect them with a hose, and install a timer. This gives you leisure time while saving water.

Consider self-watering containers for busy lifestyles. Pots have a reservoir in the bottom to hold water that is slowly wicked up to the soil and plant roots.

Provide shade if the plants are looking scorched from the sun.

Enjoy!

When you plant annual flowers, you can experiment with a different color scheme each year for refreshing change. Evergreens are perfect for winter interest. Succulents are low-maintenance. Your choices are only limited by your imagination.

Dress up your deck or patio this summer with colorful pots and plants. Be sure you can see them from inside, too. Enjoy your outdoor living space and leisure time surrounded by an interesting selection of containers and plantings.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.