Container Garden Architecture Synthesis and Simplicity


Container Garden Architecture
  • Posted May 28, 2014

Beginning with a simple concept—modern, classical, formal, exotic, rustic, or eccentric—landscape architects assemble the basic components of a garden and gradually edit down the arrangement to its most essential expression. A container garden is an easy way to begin exploring this timeless art form.


Framing and Focal Points

cluster of flower pots Single potted plants scattered across a patio are never as effective as groupings composed with an overall effect in mind. Gather your ingredients and start to play with different combinations. Always think in three dimensions, choosing a distinct focal point and finding complimentary elements to frame it.
tree with underplanting of flowers For example, a single potted tree with a vine-covered wall behind it and a carpet of fine-textured grasses at its base is a simple, but pleasing scenario with a classic touch. A birdbath or statuary are other options to use as focal points; surrounded by a medley of flowering perennials, they become the anchor of a charming potted cottage garden.
vine trellis Empty space, such as an entry or exit, is also an effective focal point. Framing the opening with an arbor draped in flowering vines draws the eye through it. Long, low planters filled with colorful annuals at the base of the vines give a place for the eyes to land.
roof top container garden Also, carefully consider the way straight and curved lines are mixed. Circular urns of varying sizes are effective when clustered randomly in a group; however, if mixed with rectangular planters, there should be a clear pattern to the design. In general, circles are considered focal points and rectangular forms are used for framing.

Material Details
wood container with grass Pots, planters, arbors and trellises become part of the architecture of the home and need to match in texture and color tone. Bare, rough-textured cedar has a very different feel than smooth, painted pine. Large, blocky wood planters work well in a rustic setting, but in most other contexts, greater architectural detail is in order. Dressing up plain wood planters with finely carved trim is an elegant touch. Complete the project by painting them with the same color scheme as the siding and trim on the house.
stones in container to cover soil Finally, cover the soil inside containers with something that adds to the overall design. Dark-colored wood chips are a pleasing contrast to the greenery of most plants. Stones and pebbles are a source of many other colors and textures and provide a clean and finished appearance, giving unity to the composition.

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Brian Barth
About the Author

After 15 years as a professional landscape designer and horticulturalist, Brian Barth embarked on a second career to share his passion—and the knowledge he's accrued—through writing. His love of plants is all-encompassing, but he has a particular soft spot for culinary crops.


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Container Garden Architecture
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Key Aspects of Container Architecture

  • Texture
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Placement
  • Framing 
  • Focal Points