Containerscaping

Containerscaping
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New to the world of gardening and landscaping is the term “Containerscaping.”  What does this mean?  It is simply the idea of combining large containers into your yard and garden as focal points.  The idea itself is not new, homeowners have been doing this for years, but this new term really highlights some great ideas.

Agaves in containers are a low maintenance option for Containerscaping.

Agaves in containers are a low maintenance option.

Using large containers in your yard is easy to do.  It provides a great focal point, and for those afraid of commitment, there is always the option to move them around or take them out in the future.   It doesn’t require any back-breaking digging or shoveling and your plants are simple to replace or maintain because of the height from the ground.  The idea of containerscaping in your yard is sounding better and better, right?

Begin by choosing a container large enough to see from a distance.  I would recommend selecting a flower pot that is at least two feet tall (if not more).
To choose a pot that is bright in color or more muted and natural is simply personal preference.   There are many garden centers and pottery outlets that will have your head spinning with beautiful options for your home.  Both plastic and ceramic will do well in central Florida; just make sure that there are drainage holes in the bottom of the container.

Slow growing cycads in urns make them look larger and stand out in Containerscaping

Slow growing cycads in urns make them look larger and stand out.

When you have your container home, place it in the selected spot and then step back.  Try to set your container into the existing landscape so that it blends in well and doesn’t increase the amount of edging and mowing required.  Go to your back door, the driveway, or the main area you spend your time and see how it looks from a distance.  If it is not the first place your eye is drawn, the container may not be large enough or the landscape around it too cluttered.  When you are finally happy with the chosen spot, planting can begin.

For very large containers, there are a few methods to “cheat” and save money as well as time.  Very few plants will send their roots deep down into the pots.  You can lighten the overall weight and save money on potting soil by filling the lower half with Styrofoam, bottles, and plastic containers that will not disintegrate. These will take up space and also increase the drainage of your container.

If you have chosen a very bright or elaborate container for your home, you may want to keep the plants very simple.  At our house we use drought tolerant plants that will not need additional water but will be easy to maintain.  A few possibilities for this include agaves, snake plants (Sansevieria), ZZ plants or bromeliads.   These plants rarely flower, but they need little water and will look good every season.  The variety of these plants listed includes plants for either sun or shade.

The flip side of this is to use your containers as a way to display seasonal flowers.  Your container can be a great place to grow annual flowers, and the change out and planting of these will be fairly easy to do.   This option is best for containers that are more natural and will not compete with attention with bright, colorful plants.  This is also a good place to plant slow growing plants or plants that need a little more protection.  Your container will elevate small plants several feet, so even a small, slow growing plant will have the appearance of being larger because it is in your container.

The next time you are in your yard look around and consider where you could use a focal point.  Containerscaping is a simple and easy way to add some interest to your landscape without much effort but resulting in great rewards.   When you are out shopping, remember that bigger is better here and the results will be well worth your time and money.  Your neighbors will be more than impressed when you mention your new interest in “containerscaping!”

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