23 Types of Planters to Enhance Your Outdoor Space

Whether you’ve got a tiny urban balcony or a sprawling country property, planters are a great way to add lots of growing things to your landscape! There’s a planter for every style, in sizes from small to big enough to plant a tree! Let’s run through some of your options for container planting.

1. Wooden Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Garden Trellis Co (@gardentrellisco)


Endlessly versatile, wooden planters can be styled to suit any décor choice, from rustic to minimalist modern. Rot-resistant cedar will last longer than other woods, but you can also treat pine or spruce to keep it looking good for several years! Consider placing plastic pots in the wood containers so that the wood isn’t in contact with constantly damp soil, and store the wood planters away for the winter to lengthen their lives.

2. Hanging Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Taron Teague (@designedtodreamshop)


Hanging planters are a great way to add extra gardening room to even the smallest city balcony or patio, or even in an apartment without any outdoor space! Hanging planters can be made from any number of materials; even an empty tin can be upcycled into a pot for a hanging plant. For an extra dash of boho style, go old-school with a macrame plant holder.

3. Illuminated Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Katriina (@vitriina)


Illuminated planters don’t just show off your green thumb; they also add lighting to your landscape after the sun goes down! You can opt for either rechargeable versions that need to be plugged in, or solar-powered models that can be placed anywhere in your landscape to add fuss-free night-time lighting.

Whether you set a few on your patio or deck for evening gatherings, or place them along a pathway to make after-dark walks safer, these illuminated planters work double-duty around your home and garden.

4. Terracotta Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Clay pots + Painted pots (@potsuppliermanila)


Terracotta is a classic material for planters, and is both practical and beautiful. Available in all sizes from a couple of inches to a couple of feet across, terracotta, which is fired clay, has a simple, classic beauty that develops an attractive weathered patina over the years. Terracotta has a porous structure, which keeps the soil from staying too wet, and lets the roots breathe, preventing the development of root rot.

Terracotta pots can have plain, simple lines perfect for a modern terrace, or ornately cast designs that will fit right into a classic setting. The standard model with a deep rim is ideal in a country cottage landscape, and can easily be found at any local garden centre. For longevity, empty the pots out and store them away for the winter.

5. Elevated Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by modern lifestyle interiors (@modernlifestylecentre)


Elevated planters play an important role in designing an outdoor display of potted plants, as they add levels to increase the space you’ve got available for your plant babies. They are also perfect for gardeners with mobility issues, as they can eliminate the need for bending over to tend your plants. You can even get raised planting boxes suitable for wheelchairs!

You can buy wooden or metal stands to place your existing planters on, or get ones with the legs already attached. Looking for a cheap way to get the elevated planter look? Set your pots atop wooden boxes or even a stack of plastic milk crates, and arrange various levels of plants in front to hide the utilitarian supports from view.

6. Glass Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Flowerpot Macedonia (@flowerpot.mk)


Glass planters have a cool modern vibe, and can add a bright, uncluttered look to your planter arrangement. Be picky about what you choose to grow in glass planters. Succulents are a good choice, as they can be grown in gravel rather than dirt. Lean into that look by layering different colours of stone to create an attractive pattern to look at through the glass sides!

You don’t even need a substratum such as gravel or soil for growing many plants suited to glass jars, as species such as philodendrons and lotus will grow happily in water indefinitely.

Glass containers are also a great way to teach children about plant growth and structure, as they will be able to see the root system as it develops.

7. Bird Bath Planter


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Christina (@carpenterswifeadventures)


If you’ve got an old birdbath that doesn’t do much for the birds, consider turning it into a planter instead! Old concrete or metal birdbaths are perfect for growing shallow-rooted plants such as sedum and other succulents. It’s okay if they’ve developed a few cracks; that just creates the drainage you need to keep roots from rotting in wet weather.

In fact, if there aren’t any ways for excess water to seep out, you’re going to need to drill some holes in the bottom. Fill the shallow bowl with a loose, porous planting medium, and then plant a tapestry of succulent plants. Only water when the foliage starts to look a bit limp, as these plants have evolved to handle hot, dry conditions.

8. Plastic Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Eden Gardening Kenya (@edenkenya)


The budget-friendly option in planters is definitely plastic. Lightweight and weatherproof, plastic planters can fit into any outdoor décor scheme, depending on the style you buy. Plastic planters are especially good for plants that need consistently moist soil, as they will not dry out as quickly as terracotta planters.

While you may decide to purchase plastic planters designed for display, plastic pots are also easy to pop into other containers that are not suited to continual contact with moist soil, such as wooden or basket planters. Another advantage of simply placing plastic pots into more decorative planters is that it’s easy to switch them out as the seasons change and different flowers come into bloom.

9. Ceramic Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Wesceramics, Inc. (@wesceramics)


Sturdy and stylish, ceramic planters are available in modern and classic designs, and in a wide variety of colors. Their glazed exterior sides keep them from wicking moisture, so they require less frequent watering than plain terracotta pots. Whether you are looking for a small pot for a single plant, or a large planter to fill with a variety of different plants, you will have no trouble finding lots of different designs to choose from!

A large ceramic pot filled with soil can get quite heavy, so consider filling the bottom third or so of the planter with crushed plastic bottles or cut-up pool noodles. That way, you still get good drainage and enough depth for plants to thrive, but won’t need to spend as much on expensive soil.

I also suggest emptying ceramic pots out in late fall and storing them away for the winter, as freeze/thaw cycles can lead to cracks in your ceramic planters.

10. Trellis Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Bay Scenery (@4bayscenery)


When growing climbing annual or perennial plants, it’s necessary to provide them with something to grow on, and trellis planters are perfect for that! While you can always stick a temporary trellis right into a pot, buying or building planters with a sturdy, coordinating trellis is a better long-term solution.

Consider using a trellis planter for a perennial woody vine such as a climbing rose, for herbaceous perennials like clematis, or for annual climbers such as sweet peas, nasturtiums, or morning glories.

One advantage of growing climbers in a trellis planter is that you can create a soil mix that will really help your plants thrive. Roses, for instance, benefit from lots of well-rotted manure. You can also control your watering better in a container, as the water won’t be able to drain away without thoroughly drenching the soil first.

Just make sure that your trellis planter has good drainage so that the roots won’t be sitting in sopping wet soil, which will kill the plants.

12. Wood Barrel Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by J. Ellers Designs (@j_ellers_designs)


Wood barrel planters are a country garden classic. While barrel planters used to be made from liquor barrels cut in half, they are so popular that many are now built just for container gardening., although you can still find authentic whiskey or wine barrels for sale. While most barrel planters are cut from 50 or 60 gallon barrels, smaller 15 gallon ones are also sometimes available, perfect for smaller spaces where you want that country look.

Make sure that the barrel has holes drilled in the bottom to aid drainage and prevent the wood from rotting. Don’t worry about leaving them out all winter; as long as they stay filled with soil they should stay in great shape for many years.

12. Wheelbarrow Planter


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by TaraCottaPots (@taracottapots)


Is your wheelbarrow getting rusty and is no longer functional? Don’t throw it out; turn it into a planter! Perfect for a country setting, or a suburban yard, wheelbarrows are ideal for planting colorful annuals. Consider tipping it onto the side and arranging the plants as if they’re spilling out for a whimsical touch, or simply set your wheelbarrow in a sunny spot to add a dash of color.

You can either let grasses grow around it for a natural look, or simply move the wheelbarrow to a new spot when it’s time to mow the lawn. Either way, at the end of the season simply empty the plants and soil into your compost heap, and prop the wheelbarrow up behind your garage until next spring!

13. Wicker Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Katarina / Kiki & Bow (@kikiandbow)


Wicker planters add a natural texture to your container garden, but even with the best preparation they won’t last as long as a plastic or ceramic pot. However, there are ways to keep a wicker basket planter in good shape for several seasons. Look for these decorative pieces at thrift shops or garage sales rather than buying new, as they can get quite pricey!

Start by sealing the wicker as best you can. Use a sealant such as shellac or outdoor paint or sealer to create a relatively waterproof container. Then line the basket with a thick layer of plastic, but don’t forget to punch some drainage holes into the bottom of the liner.

Next, you can either fill the basket with soil and plant directly, or drop in plants in plastic pots to fill up the interior.  Either way, at the end of the season empty out the baskets and store them in a dry location for the winter so that you’ll get more years out of them!

14. Vertical Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Urban Plant Life (@plantlifedublin)


If you’re short on floor space on a small balcony or patio, or have a plain wall you’d like to dress up, consider gardening vertically! You can buy or build a freestanding vertical planter with several smaller containers at varying heights, or install planters directly on a wall to create a living tapestry of greenery.

You can make vertical planters out of all sorts of materials. One of my favorite tricks is hanging eavestroughs along the wall. Whether you use metal or vinyl eavestroughs, you can cut them to whatever length you want, and stack as many as you have room for. Make sure to drill holes in the bottom for drainage. Filled with soil, you can plant a variety of succulents, herbs, and even tiny alpine strawberries.

If you don’t want to attach your vertical planters to the wall, try screwing them into pallets, which can then be placed anywhere.

15. Tire Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by CooperYoung GardenWalk Memphis (@cooperyounggardenwalkmemphis)


If there’s one thing our car-crazy world has too many of, it’s old tires! Why not take a few of them and turn them into planters?

First thing: DO NOT use these for anything that you may eat. While tires can be great planters for ornamentals, the chances of toxic chemicals leaching out of the tires and into your food is way too high. However, that’s not an issue with petunias or whichever flowers or foliage plants that you may choose to plant in old tires.

You can paint tires to add some color to your garden. Spray paints will give you the best coverage for the least amount of work. One fun way to upgrade a tire is to turn it inside out. The cuts that you need to make when inverting it will create an attractive top with scallops or points!

16. Pallet Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Eli baxter (@eli_baxter_woodwork)


Pallets have so many uses in your garden, and one way to utilize this free source of wood is by building pallet planters. It’s probably best to limit their use to ornamentals rather than vegetables, as it’s hard to know what the pallet wood has been treated with, but you can find many ways to turn pallets into containers for planting annuals and perennials.

Check out plans for wooden planters and you will see that the common dimensions can be accommodated by pallet wood. Free materials resulting in attractive planters for the deck or patio? Absolutely!

17. Metal Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Blue Ocean Traders (@blueoceantraders)


Cast iron or galvanized metal planters are a durable choice for container gardening. We’ve been using the same galvanized metal washtubs for deck planters for more than 20 years. Just make sure to add some drainage holes to the bottom so that water doesn’t accumulate in the soil and rot the roots. In a period of drought that may not seem bad, but a day of rain can saturate the soil and cause serious problems. Drainage is essential in container gardening.

There are also many cast iron urn planters available at garden centers, which will last for years! They have a formal, classic look and can accommodate small shrubs such as boxwood or topiaries for year-round display, perfect for framing a front entrance or a garden gate.

18. Concrete Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by DDomingo | Concreto (@ddomingo.cr)


Concrete planters are an affordable and durable alternative to stone or marble planters. They are available in clean modern or ornate classical designs, so will fit into any outdoor décor style. Whether you want a row of identical tall, sleek planters with ornamental grasses, or a large bowl filled with flowering perennials and annuals, you will be able to find the ideal concrete planter. You can even have custom concrete boxes made that will accommodate small trees on a roof terrace or in a courtyard.

Concrete planters are weatherproof and usually don’t need to be sealed before planting. Just leaving a new concrete planter out in the rain should leach out most of the alkalinity that might affect some plants. Sealing them will also protect the plants, but also make the planters non-porous, which can be a problem in really wet weather or if you overwater, so consider your options carefully.

19. Window Box Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by balconygardenweb (@balconygardenweb)


Window boxes brimming with blooms is a classic country look, and easy to add to your home with the right planters. There are many styles available in wood, plastic, or galvanized steel that can easily be attached to the window ledge. Planted with succulents, or flowering annuals, you can have beautiful blooms to enjoy from indoors and outdoors.

Even better, if you plant flowers that attract hummingbirds, such as salvia or nicotiana, you will be able to enjoy their acrobatics right outside your window!

20. Resin Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by ITSY GARDEN (@itsy.garden)


Resin is an extremely durable material that can be used to create an infinite variety of planters. They will last for years and can add quite a quirky vibe to your outdoor décor. Almost any material can be replicated in durable, lightweight resin for long-lasting, low-maintenance planters.

For instance, resin terracotta planters look like the real thing, except that they don’t crack, are easy to move, and will last for many years. You can also get resin planters that look like concrete, bricks, or marble, but which are much easier to take care of. You can even spray-paint them if you want!

21. Boot Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by DesigM (@desigm.in)


Boot planters are not for every garden, but if you’re looking for a funky, boho vibe in your outdoor space, why not check out your closet for some new planters? Whether it’s rubber boots with maybe a leak or two, or leather cowboy boots that have seen better days, it’s easy to turn an old boot into a home for a plant.

Just pierce a few holes in the sole, and then either fill it up with soil and pop in an annual plant, or simply slide in an already potted plant.

22. Mini Planters


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by PLANT A HOME (@plant_a_home)


Planters can be put in even the coziest of spaces when you use mini planters! While a large container planted with a variety of plants can take a commanding role on a deck or patio, you can use mini planters to great effect on even the smallest balcony. Just consider your plant selections carefully when filling your tiny pots, as not all plants will thrive without lots of room for roots.

However, that leaves you with lots of options for miniature plants that will be perfectly happy in tight quarters. Just be ready to water at least once a day in hot weather!

23. Planter with a Stand

Creative Co-Op Farmhouse Round Corrugated Metal Planters on Stands, Set of 2 Sizes, Silver and Black

Planters on a stand are an easy way to create a multi-level container garden, or can be used on their own, depending on what you want to do. Set one behind a sofa, or use two to frame an entrance or flight of stairs.

Understanding the Different Planter Designs

Traditional Planters

Traditional planters can be anything from terra cotta to ceramic to metal or plastic. They have drainage holes in the bottom to keep the soil from becoming saturated. While you can leave them out year-round, if you live in a cold climate, it’s just as well to store them away for the winter so that they will be able to be used for many years. In hot weather you should expect to water them every day or so.

Self-Watering Planters

Depending on the size of your planter, your self-watering planter may have a reservoir from 1 to 5 gallons (3.8-19 liter). They’re a good choice for plants that need consistently moist soil, but won’t work well with cacti and succulents, because they need drier soil.

Why the Shape and Size Matters?

There’s a reason why round pots and planters are such a classic. In nature, plants don’t grow into squares, but into circles, both above and below-ground. If you’re starting lots of plants from seed, square pots are a more efficient use of space, but if you are growing mature plants, round pots will best replicate their natural growth patterns.

In terms of size, more is not necessarily better in container planting. If there is too much soil in relation to plants, the plants can end up in too-wet soil, as there’s not enough plant to draw up the available moisture, resulting in root rot and dead plants. On the other hand, if a plant becomes root-bound in too small a pot, there’s not enough soil to maintain adequate moisture levels. When you start to see roots growing out of drainage holes, it’s time to repot!

Leave a Comment