Clever Containers for Small Spaces

Try these fun and easy ideas for container gardens you'll love all season long.

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  • 1 of 21

    Display Creatively

    This classic topiary would look great anywhere, but it becomes a special focal point when grown on a salvaged-ladder shelf.

    A. Myrtle (Myrtus communis): 1

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    Video: Container Garden Design

    Watch this quick video from Better Homes and Gardens® garden editor Eric Liskey for tips and ideas on creating beautiful container gardens.

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    Try Repetition

    Landscape designers have long relied on repetition to give their gardens big impact. Here's a great way to do the same thing with containers (and low-maintenance since they use low-water succulents).

    Test Garden Tip: If you repurpose a container without drainage, punch holes in the bottom so extra water can escape.

    A. Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense): 6

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    Create a Centerpiece

    Even on a small scale, it's smart to choose plants that grow up, around, and down. Here, coleus gives height, verbena depth, and creeping Jenny length -- and the mix of red, purple, and light green adds pop to the color combination.

    A. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Plum Parfait'): 1
    B. Verbena 'Quartz Purple': 1
    C. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia): 1

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    Go for a Modern Look

    Repetition is very effective -- a very simple item makes the whole more than the sum of its parts.

    A. Feather reedgrass (Calamagrostis 'Overdam'): 3

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    Paint Your Plant Pots

    Add color and interest to your containers with just a little paint.

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    Mix Materials

    Just about anything that will hold soil but let water drain can make for a cute container garden. This basket is perfect -- just line it with moss, fill with soil, and add a festive plant.

    A. Ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum): 3

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    Make It Movable

    This plastic garden trug can carry more than garden tools. Pop in some drainage holes and it's a perfect portable container garden.

    A. Wax plant (Hoya carnosa 'Variegata'): 1
    B. Reiger begonia (Begonia 'Charisma Yellow'): 2
    C. Brake fern (Pteris cretica 'Albolineata'): 1

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    Be Playful

    Don't be afraid to make a statement. This container grabs as much attention as the plants it holds. Use your imagination to find pots that really suit your personality.

    A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita'): 2
    B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Copper Glow'): 1
    C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Smoldering'): 1

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    Use Vertical Spaces

    Plop in a pot and you have instant decoration in your yard or on your deck, patio, or balcony. Attaching baskets to walls or railing is a quick, easy way to add a punch of color.

    A. Lysimachia congesta 'Variegata': 2

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    Succulent Container Gardens

    Hardworking succulents are perfect for containers in sunny spots!

  • Basil Ocimum basilicum 12 of 21

    Enjoy Herbs

    This is a fun way to recycle Grandma's battered old kettle. Basil, or any herb, is a perfect plant to grow right next to your back door so you can harvest it on the spot for summertime suppers.

    A. Basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Sweetbush'): 1

  • Pentas 'Graffiti Bright Red' 13 of 21

    Add Bright Colors

    Here's another example of a simple but really wonderful planting. A single pentas in a boldly colored pot creates big impact!

    A. Pentas 'Butterfly Red': 1

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    Use Fine Textures

    Tweedia is an underused but great annual that works well twining around the metal support. The nierembergia creates a nice skirt to soften the edges of the container.

    A. Tweedia caerulea: 2
    B. Nierembergia 'Mont Blanc': 2

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    Herb Container Garden

    No space for a garden? Try growing herbs in containers!

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    Create the Country Look

    Recycle with flair to create eye-catching container gardens. This old wheelbarrow looks great planted up with begonias. We love how the red begonias echo the color of the faded paint.

    A. Begonia 'Nonstop Deep Red': 3
    B. Begonia 'Nonstop Salmon': 3

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    Try Mixing Styles

    This very decorative container needs nothing more than the simplicity of pansies and violas to dress it up perfectly. Once spring fades and the heat comes on, try adding geraniums or angelonia for summer color.

    A. Pansy (Viola 'Imperial Silver Blue'): 2
    B. Viola 'Penny Deep Marina': 4

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    Grow Everlasting Flowers

    Add extra appeal to your container gardens with everlasting flowers. Simply harvest them as they fade and then use them in dried-flower or other crafting projects.

    A. Strawflower (Bracteantha 'Sundaze Golden Beauty'): 3

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    Do a Makeover

    These inexpensive white pots didn't look like much, but a simple coat of paint gave them new life. Now they're perfect partners for a series of colorful plants.

    A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita'): 2
    B. Gerbera 'Festival Semi Double Orange': 1
    C. Gerbera 'Festival Yellow': 1
    D. Pansy (Viola 'Majestic Giants Deep Blue'): 3
    E. Viola cornuta 'Velour Blue Dawn': 3
    F. Grape hyacinth (Muscari 'Cantab'): 3
    G. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Score Red'): 2
    H. Marigold (Tagetes patula 'Hero Gold'): 1
    I. Dracaena marginata: 1

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    Recycle Your Wheelbarrow

    This combination captures the exuberance of summer in a country garden. The loose, blowsy nature of the plants creates drama and interest that will continue to look great all summer long.

    A. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus 'Solstice Yellow'): 2
    B. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia 'Prairie Sun'): 1
    C. Verbena 'Defiance': 3
    D. Pentas 'Butterfly Red': 3
    E. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Maverick Orange'): 2
    F. Zinna 'Crystal Yellow': 1
    G. Monkeyflower (Mimulus cardinalis): 1

  • Next Slideshow Great Containers for Gardening

    Great Containers for Gardening

    If you love planting container gardens but don't know here to start, check out our slide show of 25 recipes you can follow for success. Find your perfect container for gardening in our collection of container garden recipes.
    Begin Slideshow »

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