Houseplans Blog

Think Outside the Planter Box

Think Outside the Planter Box
Style your outdoor space with planters.
Adding large planters is one of the easiest ways to up the style quotient of an outdoor space. They double as outdoor sculpture, and are ideal for softening a large expanse of hardscape. They can also function as outdoor room dividers (like screens for restaurant sidewalk seating). While you can opt for traditional pottery, consider new options in everything from sleek metal to colorful recycled plastic, in bold contemporary shapes.

To make the most of your statement planter, keep the contents simple. Landscape designer Susan Morrison, author of Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Smalland Large Spaces, suggests using a single architectural plant or ornamental grass for a modern effect, rather than layers of colors and textures. Those fortunate enough to live near a specialty garden store can take advantage of the opportunity to get a feel for their scale and materiality. Even quite sizeable planters are now available online. Here are eight striking examples, which can be ordered online, and may inspire you to think outside the pot.

Rancho Cucamonga-based Nice Planter specializes in minimalist metal planters,including the Nice Corten Steel Trough (available in two sizes; $300 and $330), which weathers to an attractive rust finish. The contemporary containers ship flat as five panels, which are easily assembled at home.

Channel the groovy 1960s on your patio with designer Jonathan Adler's brilliantly glazed Orange Okura Planter ($895). The sculptural piece is 22 inches high and 27 inches in diameter.

A contemporary version of the classic pot, the lightweight Madison Planter from boutique, Potted, is made of durable plastic. Available in 7 neutral shades and 6 sizes, starting at 14 inches high ($49) and topping out at 4 feet tall ($1,245).

Just as the modern farmhouse has become a popular architectural style, the galvanized tank has become a popular option for planning raised vegetable and herb beds. The original livestock watering tanks are available from farm equipment outlets (45-gallon tank; $68 at Global Industrial).

Pottery Barn sells a scaled-down version, the Eclectic Galvanized Metal Planter (large oval; $89).

The eye-catching Large Ball Planter ($149) from Crate and Barrel is made of a fiber- reinforced composite material. It is 26 inches in diameter and is also available in a 20-inch size.

To make a grand gesture, consider a traditional Italian urn. The Tuscan town of Impruneta is celebrated for its red-clay terracotta, and Restoration Hardware’s Impruneta Anduze Vases (available in three sizes; $680, $1050, and $1310) are handcrafted in Italy from that clay.

For year-round color, Minnesota-based Loll Designs has a whole line of outdoor furnishings made from recycled plastic. It offers the Taper Planter (in three sizes; $149, $170, and $256) in a multitude of colorful hues, including apple red and leaf green.

Add a touch of urban style with square zinc planters. Italian company Serralunga makes a version in sturdy plastic; its Square Pot Planter comes in sizes as large as 40 inches tall ($453 at

Think Outside the Planter Box Inspiration

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