One of the biggest complaints for any novice gardener is the difficulty in keeping your yard attractive no matter what time of year it is. It’s easy to keep your garden beautiful when the flowers are in full bloom. But each flower has its day, and before long that beautiful bush will be nothing but a leafless twig until spring returns again.
One of the disadvantages of traditional landscaping is the stationary nature of trees and shrubs. What if you could strategically place plants when they are at their peak, and remove them to a less visible area when their time is over for the year?
This is the advantage of container gardening. While of course your property can have many trees and shrubs that will remain in place from year-to-year, using potted plants in and around these permanent plants is a great way to add a splash of color right where you want it, when you want it.
Let’s go over some tips on how you can utilize container gardening in your yard to keep it perfect year-round. You might be surprised by how simple it can be!
Make a Plan
Using your favorite landscape design software or even just a piece of graph paper and pencil, plan where you want your plants. This is where hiring a landscaper can help, as they have the experience to know exactly when each plant is at their best.
When designing your landscape, you want to be sure to use a larger number of evergreen shrubs and trees for your permanent plants. These act as anchors in your landscaping around which you will arrange the other features. Of course, you can mix in seasonal plants as well. You just don’t want them to be the majority, as your yard may look dead in the winter.
After planning your basic landscape, try to plan for a mixture of spring, summer, and fall flowers in each garden area. That way something will always be in bloom no matter the time of year. If that is not a possibility for you due to an already established yard, bring in a flowering potted plant or two to add new color and texture to an otherwise boring area of the yard. That is the beauty of container gardening!
Rotate, Rotate, Rotate
If you haven’t one already, you want to have a staging area in a less visible part of the yard, for plants that are out of season. This will need to be protected in the winter, perhaps in a greenhouse, as many plants in containers can freeze in colder climates.
If you don’t have the ability to make a separate space for all of these potted plants, they can be disbursed throughout your yard in less visible areas. When they are back in season, you can put them center stage in your landscape again.
Flexibility is an Advantage
One of the primary advantages to container gardening is the fact that you are not stuck with your landscaping arrangement as you would in the case of planting in the ground. Being able to rearrange your shrubs and flowers means that you can move things around until your yard is the way you want it.
Want some privacy over here? Move a larger container with a shrub or decorative, tall grass in it to act as a natural privacy screen. Need color on the patio? Grab one of your flowering potted plants as a centerpiece for your patio table.
Protect the Tender Plants
Because of the ability to move potted plants to a protected area, container gardening allows you to have plants in your yard that would otherwise not grow well in harsh environments. If the flower you really want in your yard is a tender perennial which can’t stand harsh, long winters in your local climate, you can easily take it into the garage or greenhouse to keep it safe until warmer weather.
Alternatively, you can make mini greenhouses for each plant, or group of potted plants. Keep in mind that since the roots in a container are technically above ground, you may also need to consider insulating around the pots to prevent frost damage. Creating a deep bed of garden mulch is one way to do this. It can be accomplished by mulching with straw or bags of leaves.
In the spring, remove the mini greenhouse and simply remove the pot from the pile of mulch (or bags of leaves from around the pots). You can then use this mulch on your permanent garden beds! Who doesn’t like to recycle?
Feature Exotic Shrubs and Trees
Since we are talking about protecting tender plants, this is a great way to have exotic perennial plants and shrubs, such as tropical fruit trees, that may otherwise not survive the winter. With containers, you can have desert cactus and succulents you would otherwise never be able to feature in your landscape.
You can also raise your own coffee bush or banana tree. Be sure to pick a dwarf species and keep it well pruned to allow ease of transport to a greenhouse during the winter.
Create the Perfect Soil Culture and Sun Exposure
While many plants are hardy and can survive no matter the soil environment, there are some plants that require more care. Being able to mix your soil specifically for each plant will allow you to provide the best chance of the plant thriving.
You will also be able to move the plant to an area that allows the correct amount of sunlight for it. Depending on the time of year, you can rearrange your containers to provide the optimum amount of light for each one.
Plant Placement for Optimal Convenience
If you’re the type of person that prefers a low maintenance landscape, keeping the higher maintenance plants closer to the house in pots will help you remember to water them on a regular basis. You should also keep your edible plants close to the kitchen for ease-of-use. Then when they are out of season, you can rotate in a new batch of pots!
Utilize Smaller Spaces
If you have a small yard, you may not be able to fit the amount of shrubs and flowers into it that you would like. With container gardening, you can put greenery or flowers wherever you choose. Even the smallest patio has space for a few plants! Want an herb garden but can’t have a full garden? Try using a large strawberry pot to plant your favorite kitchen herbs and keep in near the kitchen door.
Take a look at the space around your home and consider where it might be enhanced by the use of a tasteful potted plant. You can even do seasonal displays; for example, lining your steps with bright chrysanthemums or color bowls for the fall months. When they’re done flowering, they are easily stored under the eaves behind the garage for next year.
Container Gardening for Any Yard
Hopefully, these ideas will spur on your own creative juices. In any case, you don’t have to go all out and get fifty potted plants right away. Start small, with two or three plants, and slowly build to the point that you have a good balance of color in all areas of your yard no matter the time of year.