Easy Tabletop Container Gardens

Seating area by white picket fence
Liven up your outdoor living space with colorful container gardens. These creative ideas show you how.

Classic Simplicity

What could be easier than decorating a table with a mound of colorful geraniums? Bright red blooms in an aged clay container coordinate beautifully with this classic tiled tabletop and sculpted concrete base.

Globe Flower Grouping

Dress up a casual outdoor dining table with a grouping of three matching ceramic containers. Here, purple globe amaranth underplanted with trailing variegated licorice vine sets the tone for an elegant but simple spread featuring tossed salad and cheeses.

Floral Fancy

Weathered wicker furniture covered in layers of floral fabric pairs perfectly with a mounded bowl of dianthus and wishbone flower on this porch. The pink color palette ties everything together.

Sculptural Succulent

A single red-tinted echeveria mulched with weathered rocks in a stoneware planter takes the form of a living sculpture when placed on a low tabletop in the garden. It serves as the focal point for a grouping of three benches that surround the table.

Bucket Brigade

Swiss chard, flowering kale, and 'Marmalade' coralbells make a colorful combination with their foliage alone. The tarnished surface of the galvanized bucket plays on the veining of the coralbell leaves, and the faded red label echoes the hue of Swiss chard stems.

Test Garden Tip: Drill several holes in the bottom of the bucket before planting to ensure good drainage.

Living Spice Rack

Keep a countertop full of herbs handy for outdoor dining by growing them in individual galvanized containers. Snip fresh foliage as you need it for elevating mealtime dishes to works of art.

Test Garden Tip: Transplant perennial herbs to the garden if they outgrow their containers. Move tender herbs to a bright windowsill indoors over winter for year-round enjoyment.

Double-Duty Cell-Packs

Adorn a tabletop in seconds with a window box planter and several cell-packs of annual flowers. Here, begonias tuck into a miniature picket fence planter for a charming centerpiece.

Test Garden Tip: Plant the annuals into your garden within two weeks to keep them blooming all season. Or give them to guests as a remembrance of the occasion.

Pedestal Planter

Get a classic container look by placing a shallow pedestal-style iron urn on a tabletop. Fill the planter with red coleus, purple verbena, and chartreuse licorice vine. These plants act as thriller, filler, and spiller, respectively, in the combo.

Cloche Call

A cool, shady retreat is the perfect spot for this tabletop grouping of a fern and moss enclosed in cloches. The glass covering keeps the moss moist and makes it a low-maintenance choice.

Test Garden Tip: Keep the cloches out of direct sun to prevent plants from overheating.

Colorful Crate

Fill a wooden crate with colorful impatiens for a blast of color in a shady seating area. Use light or bright colors for greatest visual impact.

Test Garden Tip: For a quick makeover, slip a hanging basket inside the crate. Switch out the basket when you want a different look.

River of Blue

Place tumbled pieces of cobalt-blue glass in a strip down the center of the table (remove any sharp pieces). Line both sides with individual containers of coleus to create the illusion of a tree-lined stream. You could also place polished stones on the table for a more refined look.

Out of This World

The sleek lines of this metal container resemble a spaceship. White orbs of ornamental onion (Allium karataviense) continue the extraterrestrial theme, appearing as orbiting satellites hovering over the craft.

Savory Herbs

You know your herbs are fresh when you harvest them yourself right at the table! A terra-cotta container planted with savory herbs such as chives, marjoram, oregano, sage, and thyme makes a practical and beautiful tabletop centerpiece.

Succulent Topiaries

Fill wire topiary forms with sphagnum moss. Tuck in succulents such as sedum, hens-and-chicks, echeveria, and graptopetalum for an easy-care container garden. Because succulents require little moisture, you'll only need to spritz them with water occasionally.

Test Garden Tip: If the topiaries dry excessively, dunk the entire pot, top and all, into a large tub of water to soak up the sphagnum moss.

Scented Side Table

Top a side table with a container garden featuring fragrant purple nemesia and colorful pink geraniums for aromatic enjoyment. The colors coordinate with the plants in surrounding gardens and pots.

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