Garden planter ideas: 24 wooden, metal and terracotta containers for patios, decking, porches and paths
Want a stylish display for your plot? These garden planter ideas will elevate your outdoor space in no time
Our garden planter ideas are a fabulous way to take any plot up a notch. No matter how much space or gardening experience you have, they're an easy and effective way to make a stylish statement.
Planters offer a huge range of versatility and the opportunity for you to get creative. For instance, they can be updated throughout the seasons for year-round color, or filled with your favorite evergreens for a modern, structured look. You can even use them to grow veggies and herbs, or fill them with ornamental grasses to create a screen between zones as part of your container gardening ideas.
However, the actual style of the planter is not one to overlook. There are lots of options available and the right container can be a feature in itself, regardless of what you put in it. For instance, a super-sized planter will pack a punch and look gorgeous with a mix of cascading blooms, and can also be used to divide up a space. Treated timber designs are perfect for a more country-classic feel, while modern metal will set a contemporary tone.
24 garden planter ideas that will elevate your container display
Want to find the right garden planter ideas for your plot? We've brought together some of our very favorite designs to get you inspired – we're sure you'll find one you love from this mix.
1. Pep up your wall with pocket planters
Pepping up a wall couldn't be simpler with these vibrant designs. Made of sturdy fabric, they're ideal for creating show-stopping wall displays. Try mounting a few in groups, lines, or grids in a mix of colors for a fun and fresh look.
For extra style points, fill them with blooms in contrasting colors – for instance, note how those red pelargoniums pop against sunshine yellow and aqua blue. Adding white flowers to the darker designs will also make a striking visual statement.
2. Go rustic with your window boxes
Add texture to your window sill, patio, or deck with a set of three zinc-effect planters. They will complement all kinds of garden schemes and provide a gorgeous base for filling with your favorite blooms – whether that's a froth of summer cosmos, fragrant lavender (the purple-blue tones will look gorgeous against the gray metal), or ornamental grasses.
And for winter window box ideas, switch out summer flowers for reliable hellebores and trailing ivy, as seen here; an easy combo for an elegant display.
3. Add a sense of play with novelty planters
'Novelty' can still be stylish, and these containers are a case in point. We think they're super cute for placing on a front porch and are bound to make your guests smile as soon as they arrive.
Opt for a couple in different sizes for extra character and charm, then fill with cheerful blooms. These early crocuses look particularly lovely against the sky-blue tone, but we think tulips or daffodils would be good choices too, for spreading spring joy.
Kids will adore them, so if you're looking for family garden ideas, these are a great addition to the scheme.
4. Make vertical gardening easy with a built-in trellis
Vertical garden ideas are great for upping small plots' planting potential. And a container like this, complete with built-in trellis, is the perfect addition for training your pick of the best climbing plants, whether that's clematis or sweetly-scented jasmine. Alternatively, you could use it to train tomatoes or beans.
What's more, it's a great way to divide a petite space into different zones, or screen less-than-lovely views (such as the compost heap or your wheelie bins).
5. Create wall art with sculptural containers
Bring a decorative detail to a wall with one or more of these sculptural planters – perfect for modern patios and courtyards.
We adore the teal hue that pops against a dark backdrop, as seen here. But, add it to a white wall and the nautical palette will add an instant island vibe to your space.
Fill with succulents for low-maintenance planting, and don't forget to include a trailer or two for extra visual appeal. In fact, we think these designs would also look gorgeous homing the best indoor plants.
6. Use a multi-tiered container for a sleek and stylish display
How stylish is this planter? Not only does it look super on-trend, but the smart design is also ideal if you're on the lookout for new garden storage solutions.
The shelf beneath is perfect for storing your watering can or other garden tools. You could also use it for displaying even more planters if you want extra greenery, or perhaps some twinkling LED outdoor lanterns for an inviting glow.
Hanging pots up above add a contemporary touch which elevates the setup further. We think it would make a gorgeous addition to a modern patio space.
7. Opt for dimpled textures
These garden planters are decorated with rows of dimples and beautifully-colored glazes. Their slightly irregular finish adds to the handmade charm – wonderful for adding a subtle boho vibe to your plot.
Arrange various sizes together to add extra interest to the display and plant up with contrasting hues. We love how a palette of deep purple flowers and foliage has been used here, which pops against the surrounding blues and greens.
8. Play with height by adding legs
Opting for garden planter ideas with legs is a surefire way to add a touch of playfulness to your outdoor space. This stylish duo above sports a totally on-trend etched design, while weatherproof, wooden legs give them an extra dose of character.
Their added stature gives them a stronger presence in the garden, too. Simply plant with your favorite leafy shrubs, ferns, or types of ornamental grasses for a fuss-free feature with a unique twist.
9. Try a two-tone look
We adore these glazed pottery numbers with their pleasing round shapes and two-tone finish in neutral hues. They subtly set a contemporary tone but would look fabulous in any style of plot.
Planted up with ferns, hebes, heucheras, and rudbeckias, they add a fresh feature fit for any of our modern garden ideas. Cluster in groups using various heights for a bolder look.
10. Hang your planters up
Sure, these wicker-style planters look stunning, but they have a hidden bonus feature that will save you tons of time, too: they're self-watering! They also come with a water indicator and even a bag of substrate gravel for popping below your potting mix.
With their stainless-steel hangers, they can quickly be secured to your porch, gazebo, or one of our pergola ideas to create a striking display. And, if all that wasn't enough, they'll look just as stylish indoors as they will out, so are perfect if you want to liven up your conservatory as well as your patio.
If you love the look and are after tips on how to plant them up, our hanging basket ideas have lots more inspiration.
11. Bring a splash of color to your space
Bright colors are an easy way to breathe new life into a lackluster space. So, if you're feeling like your plot is looking a little tired, then these might well be the garden planter ideas for you.
Go for funky citrus tones such as this zesty lime or mandarin orange for an invigorating feel. A tactile pattern will only add to the effect. And, if you're really feeling bold and ready for a refresh, pair them with some of our colorful garden furniture ideas, too.
12. Create a beautiful border with wood planters
For a more structured planting scheme that's easier to control than a border, choose a natural wooden planter. It's a lovely, rustic way to display your blooms.
This one above is made from pressure-treated timber, making it tough and durable. Fancy something a little more colorful? With the help of our best exterior wood paint, you can personalize it with all your favorite hues.
13. Opt for a large metal planter for growing veggies
A large planter is ideal for a low-maintenance way of growing vegetables in pots. And metal ones, like this one above, are made to last.
Crafted from powder-coated galvanized steel, they come in a range of finishes and sizes. Buy a few, planting different fruit and veggies in each, so you can enjoy home-grown produce throughout the year.
14. Pair grasses with contemporary planters to screen off a space
Tall, feathery grasses or bamboos can create a natural screen for an area of your garden. Bamboo in particular is fast-growing, whereas grass will soften the look while giving interest all year round. Arrange in bold planters to create a secluded seating area or dining space.
These large, contemporary designs are perfect for adding a focal point to a patio, terrace, or as part of your courtyard garden ideas. Plus, they have wheels, so can be moved around to suit your needs.
15. Go for pretty patterned pots
First of all, can we just note how adorable these patterned pots are? They add a vintage feel to a space, so are ideal if you love a cottage-garden style. But look closer, and you'll see a few cute little visitors too – which are, of course, charming hedgehog pothangers.
Crafted from resin, they add a lovely touch to a garden, and are sure to bring delight to both kids and grown-ups alike. Just pop one or two in your garden planter display (our best cottage garden plants would make a perfect accompaniment) for a whimsical touch.
16. Save on space with modular designs
One of the best things about garden planter ideas is they can be used to bring more flowers and foliage into any sized plot – no borders or beds required. And while all kinds of containers will do the job, if you've been eyeing up our small garden ideas or even our balcony garden ideas, these designs are definitely one to consider.
Their appearance is fuss-free yet stylish, and what's more, they're modular by design, meaning they can slot together with separate storage compartments. They're perfect for stashing garden accessories safely (and tidily) out of the way, keeping your plot clutter-free.
Adding a planter to your balcony fence or decking railing is another clever way to maximize your floor space.
17. Use a modern style to define zones
Choose trough planters and fill them with plants to zone different areas of the garden. Fill with tall blooms like delphiniums, Acanthus mollis, hollyhocks, or foxgloves for a modern way to border off seating areas, or part of your patio.
Plus, this contemporary design is on wheels, so moving it around is easy – meaning you can switch up the flow of your plot whenever you like.
18. Try a timeless look for a sophisticated scheme
Give a pathway a dose of vintage charm with reclaimed-style designs like these. Inspired by Victorian dolly buckets, they're made of fiber clay and are frost resistant to -4°F (-20°C).
They're a fabulous choice for modern plots and cottage garden ideas alike. Plant with varieties known for their scent, such as lavender. If you then position a few lined up along a path or next to a doorway, you can enjoy the fragrance as you walk by.
Alternatively, fill with smart clipped evergreens for a contemporary and structured look.
19. Grow tomatoes in a wooden trough planter
'Whatever you wish to grow, there's a planter to match' says Jenny Davis at Forest Garden. 'This season we've introduced an ingenious raised planter for tomato grow bags, which offers easy access to your crop and stops the unsightly grow bag staining your patio or deck.
'We also now have raised kitchen garden planters, which are ideal for plants such as herbs which have shallow roots,' Jenny adds. So, if building traditional raised garden beds is off the cards, then these make a wonderful alternative if you're keen for a bit of grow-your-own action.
20. Go for soothing hues
Classic pots in gorgeous deep-hued glazes will never go out of style. Try inky blue or calming greens for a soothing vibe. Then, plant up with soft white florals for a simple yet elegant look – our favorite picks include fairy-like gauras, silky-petalled cosmos, or cascades of pretty erigeron.
They're a perfect match for a more laid-back theme, and will look beautiful placed on either side of one of our best garden benches.
21. Put a twist on terracotta with angular designs
Terracotta planters are a classic look that can bring a sense of the sunny Mediterranean to any patio or porch. By opting for angular designs, the timeless style gets a modern update.
Try mixing and matching different-sized rectangular shapes for added interest. A pleasing, peachy hue keeps the tone soft and welcoming.
22. Add an on-trend look with rattan containers
Love a touch of rattan? This on-trend material isn't just great for your garden furniture ideas – it's a lovely choice for planters, too.
Lightweight, textural, and totally chic in a light gray hue, this design above would suit any small courtyard, patio space, or balcony. Planted up with vibrant echinacea, it creates a stylish scene.
23. Use galvanized steel for a rustic vibe
Perfect for lovers of a vintage style, galvanized steel planters such as these are a brilliant way to add a dose of old-fashioned charm to a plot. Positioned on either side of a gate, door, or in this case, archway, they make a stunning feature – even more so once planted up with beautiful blooms.
The addition of handles not only adds an eye-catching detail, but makes them easier to move, should you wish.
24. Smarten up your front garden with stylish pots
Arranged near the entrance to your home, these pots make a smart and stylish welcome to visitors as part of your front garden ideas. Have one or two on either side of a doorway and plant small trees, such as bay or olive, for an inviting entrance. Alternatively, they would make a lovely focal point by a water feature.
And the best part? They're another self-watering variety, giving you one less thing to worry about and more time to enjoy your garden.
We have lots more time-saving tricks in our low maintenance garden ideas.
What is the best garden planter?
We asked the experts to share their advice on how to pick the best garden planter for your plot.
Michael Wooldridge, Director of Woodlodge, says, 'Firstly, it's important to decide where the container will sit in your garden. Consider the shape, texture, and color of the pot, as well as the plants that will be in them.'
Opt for a look that will complement the space. And remember, if you're planting one of the best trees to grow in pots, you'll need a larger container than if you're simply planning on planting bulbs or other blooms.
'Terracotta is ideal for container planting as it's the most natural, environmentally-friendly material,' Michael continues. 'The higher the firing temperature, the more durable it will be to withstand the elements.' He suggests gently tapping the pot – the higher the note, the better the quality.
In addition, make sure pottery is labeled 'frost-proof' to ensure it survives harsh weather and protects plants more effectively, he adds.
'If you move house regularly or want to change up the look of your garden in an instant, lighter or smaller pots are ideal,' Michael continues. 'Look out for fiber clay planters which are lightweight, allowing you to move your displays around.
'Wooden, glazed, or metal planters can also add a decorative touch, altering the persona of your garden from a traditional cottage feel to a contemporary, urban entertaining space.'
Another important thing to consider when choosing the best planter for your garden is drainage. As the team at Lechuza says, 'The right amount of drainage can be a matter of life and death for your plants. Waterlogged soil causes a plant's roots to rot and is likely to kill it.
'The minimum size for a drainage hole is half an inch in diameter for small or medium-sized pots, whilst larger pots will need holes at least an inch in diameter,' they say. However, if you've found a gorgeous container with insufficient drainage, don't despair: you can simply drill holes in the base. Or, for an easy option, you could opt for self-watering pots which have built-in irrigation systems.
Where can I find free planters for my garden?
Looking for cheap garden ideas? It might be easier than you think to find free planters for your garden. Lots of old garden and household bits and bobs can be upcycled to create stylish containers. For example, tires are great for circular displays, Butler sinks planted up with pretty pansies add a vintage flair, or why not give a new lease of life to an old wheelbarrow with a lick of paint and some fresh new flowers?
Start by taking a look around your own home: you might find something that can come in useful that would otherwise be thrown away.
Pallets are another budget-friendly option for garden planter ideas and you can often find them for free. You could also use hollowed-out tree stumps for a more natural look – our tree stump ideas are full of clever ways to make the most of them.
Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for Gardeningetc.com, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Easy Gardens and Modern Gardens magazines. Having studied introductory garden and landscape design, she is currently putting the skills learned to good use in her own space where the dream is establishing a cutting garden.
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