Vary plant heights to make full use of tight space. Let vines crawl along a railing, post, or trellis. Use tall plants to increase shade and privacy. Place small pots atop a railing, step, or windowsill.
Vary pot size, shape, and color. Besides terra-cotta, look at lightweight plastic, wood, metal, or even wicker (lined with plastic). Almost anything can be a planter. Just make sure it has holes for drainage.
Fertilize. Mix in a slow-release granular fertilizer before planting, then use a water-soluble fertilizer once a week at half strength. Fertilize more often after heavy rains.
Improve drainage. Fill the bottoms of containers with a layer of pottery shards, loose gravel, or foam packing peanuts before adding planting mix.