One nice thing about container gardens is that the plants are neatly contained — there is no chance of them creeping into areas where they are unwanted and creating a jumbled chaos in the garden. The crisp tidy look that is innate to potted plants lends itself well to a modern aesthetic. For a clean, refined patio garden that zings with architectural elegance, use single color glossy-glazed ceramic pots and choose plants that have a similarly restrained form.
As the polar opposite of a cottage garden, the modernist aesthetic emphasizes form and texture over exuberant flower displays. Fortunately, there are an abundance of easy-to-grow species that fit this description and are also happy to live in a pot. The following species excel in this equation and allow you to have an instant Zen garden on you deck or patio, creating a unique personal retreat.
Bamboo & Japanese Forest Grass
Especially the types with colored canes like Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra), has a wonderfully clear, calming feel and can be used to create an enchanting enclosure around the patio area. Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) is a shade tolerant species that will soften the base of a bamboo planting with its lush, drooping foliage. Both will live happily in a large planter for many years.
|Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra)|
|Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)|
Horsetail & Blue Sedge
Horsetail (Equisetum hymale) has hollow, segmented stalks and a perfectly vertical growth habit just like bamboo, but it is completely leafless and grows only 3 to 4 feet tall. It is the ultimate architectural species for potted arrangements and, also like bamboo, looks best with something soft and flowing at its base. Try a planting of Blue Sedge (Carex glauca) for a striking contrast with the deep green horsetail stalks.
|Horsetail (Equisetum hymale)|
|Blue Sedge (Carex glauca)|
Fiber Optic Grass & Scotch Moss
Fiber Optic Grass (Isolepsis cernua) planted with a groundcover of Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata) around it gives a similar effect to the preceding examples, but in miniature. Fiber optic grass has incredibly fine, delicate blades, growing just 6 inches tall, while scotch moss, though not a true moss, is a low, fuzzy groundcover that stays under two inches tall.
|Fiber Optic Grass (Isolepsis cernua) |
|Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata)|