A well placed pot in the garden can create a focal point in the design.
If strategically placed along a pathway pots can also control traffic by forming a barrier.
When planted with flowering annuals or stunning striking foliage accent plants, then the pot becomes part of the visuals that draw attention to it.
Even small courtyards and balcony units benefit from pots to enhance the sense of a full garden.
In most cases pots used in the garden tend to be ceramic or terracotta. These may be glazed in a range of colours or left ‘natural’ for more earthy tones. All good planting pots will have sufficient holes for drainage, however some pots will not have holes and these are best used indoors as ‘planters’ or converted into pot-ponds.
Glazed pots have the advantage of being better for water-conservation. This means plants may not need to be watered as frequently. However some plants may not like this additional moisture in the root zone such as a range of succulents or arid plants.
Unglazed pots tend to be very well drained. Their rustic natural tones make them ideal for native gardens, cottage gardens and eclectic designed gardens.
Shape is usually a personal preference. However, the shape and size of pot should be selected to suit the house design, the landscape design and that of the intended plant type to be grown.
For example, a Modern home with a formal garden design of hedged shrubs and lineal plantings may best suit a bold coloured glazed pot with a standard shape of a square or urn. The type of plant must suit the garden design and must be capable of surviving in the pot in the conditions provided (sun/wind/heat).
Long narrow areas such as the sides of the house, are best broken up with vertical elements that offer height without interfering with traffic. By using attractive narrow tall pots it is possible to create colour interest all year. Whereas finding plants to flower all year in shady areas of the garden is difficult, a coloured pot will always hold its interest.
In large open expansive gardens, the most suitable pots will be low squat pots. These are wider than they are high and provide the ideal situation to showcase flowering spreading annuals and garden plants.
The weight of ceramic and terracotta pots provides solidity to the appearance of the garden, plus reduces ease of theft. A heavy pot is also less likely to be blown by strong winds.
Urn shapes are best used purely for decoration or for planting with short lived plants. The problem arises when a shrub is planted into an urn and then needs repotting a few years later. Some success has been achieved removing larger plants from urn shaped pots with high pressure water, however this is task is considered too difficult for some home gardeners to perform. Due to the smaller circumference of the rim it is impossible to remove the plant without damage to the pot. However, plants like annuals are suitable for planting in urns.
Article by: Paul Plant, freelance writer on landscaping and horticultural topics, contributor to Courier Mail 'home' magazine.
(Post Note: not all large urns may be suitable for planting trees - the glazed and terracotta pottery form the Binh Duong provinance in Vietnam are fine as they are high fired - however the terracotta from the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam - white wash / Tuscany in appearance - is low fired and hence 'may' battle 'over time' to contain the robust root system of a tree. Also, as it is low fired it is porous - moisture retention may be an issue for a tree's demanding thirst.)