Mon – Sat 9:00 – 5:00 PM

How to Design An Outdoor Planter

In the greenhouse, we design planters for customers on the daily! But if you find getting your hands dirty just as rewarding as we do and want to try designing your own… here’s our best tips and tricks!



Designing Your Planter

  1. Container  First and foremost, you have to decide what space you want to add flowers, the size and what shape planter you want to design. There are so many unique shaped planters and those allow for endless creativity, so first step: choose your planter.
  2. Color Scheme Some people choose to create a set color scheme on their patio and only want flowers that compliment that. Other people choose to coordinate their flowers with their house color, and still others choose to only use flowers that bring them joy, no matter what color it is! You are free to choose any strategy, but know before you head to a greenhouse what you are looking for.
  3. Accent Height Depending on the size of your planter and the height of space you have, the first plant to choose is your “height”. You want your plant choices to look size appropriate in your planter, so if you choose a tall, slim round planter, you should have a pretty tall accent height, and stair-step it down from there. Unique grasses, “Prince Tut” (our personal favorite!), foxglove, Delphinium and caladium are examples of some good accent height plants.
  4. Body Plants These are where you add your bright color and/or textured greenery. Have fun with the combinations and bring into your planter a variety of leaf shapes, flower blooms and colors.
  5. Trailing Vines  Also called “spillers”, these plants will grow down your planter and become one of the most enthralling parts of your completed planter. We love sweet potato vines, vinca vines and lobelia!


Helpful Tips:

Consider where your planter is going to be placed, if it’s along a walkway then it would be seen from all sides, if it’s up against a wall next to your front door then it’s 1-sided. A 360 planter needs to have one tall accent piece planted in the center of the pot, the body plants placed around it and the the trailing vines planted right along the edge in order to grow down. A 1-sided planter needs to have the tall accent in the back (against the wall) and the body plants in front around it.


Another helpful thought beforehand, is to check your area for sunlight. If that spot gets a lot of afternoon sunlight, then you need to choose only Full Sun plants. However, if it gets mostly morning sun and no afternoon sun, look for shade plants, so your planter will flourish through the summer season.



We hope for the best for your garden this season and I hope this guide helps you to be brave and make wise and creative selections for your planters! For advice on designing interior arrangements, click here!

Happy Planting!



Select a Location

Take the Tour

20 years ago, this dream started out as a road-side stand at this same location. A lot has changed since then. Take a look at how we’ve grown.