Container gardening has many forms, from the colorful use of pots around the edges of a patio or path, to container herb gardens or full on edible landscaping.
Container gardening is the way to grow for patios, but even if you have a decent size yard, planting in pots can save your aching back from constantly bending over, or trying to dig through tree roots, rocks or clay.
Another benefit for those of us with poor soil, is that it's much easier to change the PH of a pot or planter box, as opposed to your whole yard.
Get ready to see the numerous possibilities right in you own back yard with our container garden ideas.
Use our container garden ideas to grow acid loving plants like these blueberry bushes in areas where the soil is too alkaline. (right side of photo) The left side yard is terraced along with raised garden beds and pots scattered about.
When Eric decided to plant blueberry bushes in California, he knew our alkaline soil was not what they needed and he struggled to make the soil conditions more acidic. It was also compounded by our water, which is super alkaline too, and it wasn't until he started growing in pots that he was able to get the soil PH down from an 8.4 into the 5's.
Eric's got quite a few tricks up his sleeve for tweaking soil PH I'll share with you in coming articles, but one of his best container garden ideas was to harvest rainwater. Because it has a lower, more acidic ph, rainwater helps your plants absorb more nutrients, plus it naturally nitrogen rich.
The rain barrels we use tap into our gutters, and have hoses that can conveniently water all the pots around them, plus a spigot to fill watering cans. There's not enough rain water collected from our small barrels to water regularly, but enough to mix in with fertilizer every couple weeks.
If you live in a really dry climate where water is at a premium, then consider installing an underground rain harvesting system, or use a series of larger above ground storage tanks.
Everyone's probably seen herb container gardens, or tomato's grown on patios, but citrus and fruit trees can also do well in containers if you keep them properly watered and regularly fertilized.
If you live in a climate that gets too cold for citrus, plant them in a substantial container placed on top of a rolling plant stand. That way it's easier to move them in and out with the seasons.
We like to use every inch of our back and side yard space to grow things we can eat, so even our concrete walkways have pots and garden boxes lined up along them.
Eric also experimented with container garden ideas for growing raspberries and blackberries and finds they do quite well. He is able to tie the canes together and attach to an obelisk or trellis stuck in his pots, While vines along the fence are supported with string attached to an eye hook.
With backyard berries, or any fruit for that matter, you can choose the best tasting varieties, and they're so easy to buy online. (Eric's favorite tasting Blackberry ~ "Black Pearl") What was eye opening for me is that with truly ripe berries, the seeds become soft too, and they're so sweet it's almost like you're eating jam!
This video has one of the best container garden ideas I've ever seen! An excellent design for balconies, patios, and decks, it also makes life easier for handicapped or elderly gardeners, and works great for school garden or co-op programs. (starts at 45 seconds in)
Another patio landscaping idea is to buy garden boxes with a built in trellis. We purchased these wood ones online, which were super easy to assemble, and they're great for climbing vines like tomatoes, peas, raspberries etc. They look great on decks too, and will give you more privacy.
In this photo, you can see how we used wrought iron plant stands to elevate the pots for proper drainage over concrete.
The planter boxes have an attached trellis and small legs about one inch high for drainage.
The clay pots in the photo above seemed like a bargain at $13, but after a few months the painted on coating started crumbling off and they look awful. Now, I look for Italian clay pots or glazed pots because they're fired at a much higher temperature, plus they're not coated with who knows what. They cost a little more, but they'll stay good looking a lot longer.
Container garden ideas for color harmony ~ You can never go wrong with terra cotta if want that old world Tuscan feeling, but if you want to mix and match, try sticking with related colors. Oranges, reds, yellows and browns go nicely together as do blues with greens, purples, grays and blacks. Spice it up with a few metallic's like bronze, copper, or silver. Just try not to have too many colors competing for attention in the same space.
Terraced back yards are great for this because it's so easy to earth berm your pots into the side of a hill. Eric took a flat yard and built the soil up around his clay pots to keep them from loosing too much moisture. It also helps to protect the roots from absorbing too much heat, which is a concern once your pots become root bound.
He made little hills around the pots and then covered those with a heavy dose of mulch, turning whole groupings of pots into a garden bed. You'll want to make sure there are several large drain holes in the container bottom. If you only have one hole, tree roots may tap into the ground and plug up the only source of drainage. If that happens, drill additional holes in the side of your pot rather than dig it up.
Container gardening has worked out better than planting trees directly in the ground for this area of the back yard, where the palm tree roots have taken over. That's because the pots get fertilized regularly and don't have to compete for nutrients.
Also, by raising the beds it gives the yard a more three dimensional look similar to terracing, without the expense of adding a wall. Hardwood decking material was used to make the borders for our raised beds, and on sale it cost around $2. a linear foot. It's much more substantial than the plastic edging and came pre stained in a color that matched our fence, plus it will last a long time.
If money was no object we would have built a curved wall out of pavers. Instead, we had to work around the zig zag lines of a patio that was already there, trying to make the best of it. Staining concrete in warm gold's and brown made the patio look richer, and help blend older concrete with new sections.
Succulent gardens work incredibly well in containers, having beautiful colors, textures and flowers, they can live for decades if well cared for.
Succulents are easy to grow if you follow a couple basic rules, and they'll multiply like crazy! They like well draining alkaline soil, and outdoor temperatures between 40 and 85 degrees (F). You can water more heavily during the spring and summer but let pots dry out between watering's.
Move-able container garden ideas ~ If you live in a climate with freezing winter temperatures or scorching heat in summer, you'll need to move container succulent gardens indoors.
Succulents have pretty shallow roots so you don't need deep pots. It's best to go with with more shallow, wider mouthed ones that have drain holes and some type of saucer for when it's time to go indoors. If you know you'll be moving large pots in and out a couple times a year keep them on a decorative rolling pot stand.
If you ever find yourself moving to a new home, you can take your best container gardens with you, give them to friends and neighbors, or have a big yard sale. Consignment shops are a great place to sell empty pots, decorative planters, urns, and even patio furniture.
Thank you for visiting my container garden ideas. You'll find lots more back yard projects, home decorating ideas, and home remodel tips throughout this site. Just click on one of the articles in the links below.
I also recommend a visit to Container-Gardening-For-You.com where you'll find many more container garden ideas, tips on growing tomato plants, care, soil, feeding, winter sowing, hydroponic systems, indoor gardens and more.
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