Step Into Spring

Tips for Designing Show Stopping Planters

Article by Alison Jaeger

Photography by Alison Jaeger and Rachel Rudy

Originally published in Media City Lifestyle

Would you like to add style and beauty to your front entrance? Add a container or two. Planters filled with seasonal foliage and blooms are my favorite way to dress up any doorstep.

Container gardens soften the harsh lines of a home’s architecture, breathe life into your entryway, and make your front door a stylish destination for guests and family alike. Best yet, spring planters offer a quick and easy way to bring spring’s first blooms right to your door.

Whether planning a container garden for myself or a client, color and texture play a huge role. I select plants with interesting foliage that is varied in color and form. This way, the container remains visually appealing long after the blooms have faded. Of course, I also select plants that have long blooming times and in general, are not too finicky.

I hope sharing the following tips will inspire you to plant your own spring container garden. I've found that in addition to upping your curb appeal, container gardens bring a smile to all who see them.

About the Author
Over 20 years ago, I purchased my first home and garden, a turn-of-the-century Baltimore city row house with a postage stamp for a garden. I was hooked! Transforming old, fussy, and outdated into a welcoming, bright, and functional space that reflected personal style while still remaining respectful to the context of the space became a lifelong obsession. I’ve renovated a number of homes and helped friends and neighbors with their own home and gardening challenges: rearranging furniture, paint choices, planting a new garden, caring for plants, or lending an eye to an area that ‘wasn’t working. I appreciate the potential of a gutted house, an untidy garden or a perpetually messy corner.

Fresh Look Design, a home and garden design business that perfectly pares my professional experience in the graphic design world with my lifetime love of home and garden design. My container garden services quickly became one of the simplest ways that home and business owners alike could up their curb appeal. Better yet, they found that having beautiful containers filled with seasonal creations brought beauty and joy to their doorsteps. Beauty and joy - that’s a win in my book!

Choose the right container.
I recommend using containers that either match or complement your door color. Try a pair of matching containers flanking each side of your door or a group of  3 containers of varying sizes positioned to one side of the door.

For the most impact, select large containers (at least 20" wide) rather than a bunch of smaller ones. They are easier to care for. Plus, you can fit more plants!

Good soil = happy plants.
Use the best potting soil that fits your budget. A potting soil with a slow-release fertilizer will feed your plants for up to three months.

Select hardy plants that will thrive in spring’s mercurial temperatures.
Here are some of my favorites (found at local nurseries or in select hardware stores)

Annuals:        Voila or pansy
                      Sweet Alyssum
                      Cool season herbs and vegetables
Bulbs:            Hyacinth

Perennials:     Helebores

Lighter containers
Fill the bottom third of your container with leftover plant pots turned upside down, packing materials, or recycled crushed cans. It's a great way to reuse materials while making your container lighter. Then fill the container with potting soil, leaving the top 2 inches free of soil.

Planting Guide
Place taller plants towards the back and middle with the shorter plants spilling over the sides and front. Remember symmetry will look the most balanced.

When potting up containers that flank a door, plant each container as a mirror image of the other.

Give your planters a thorough drink, watering again when the top two inches of soil are dry.

Care tips.
Once flowers are spent on spring blooms, trim back the foliage to keep the container looking tidy.

Lasting garden.
After the season, perennials and bulbs can be lifted from the container and planted in your garden to be enjoyed for years to come.


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