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How can we count the ways we love planters? They’re one of the most useful and versatile outdoor accessories we can think of, especially if you want to add impact without spending a lot of money.

From aged urns to colorful clay pots to classic window boxes, planters provide pretty texture and color indoors and out. Plus, they’re easily portable so you can rearrange and repurpose them to meet your needs of the moment.

Here’s the good news: there’s no need to be too matchy-matchy, so use what you’ve got. A colorful mix of pots in a variety of sizes adds loads of visual appeal. All that’s important is creating a great place to gather this summer.

Here are our top 5 uses for our favorite planters:

1. CONTAINER GARDEN

Not a gardener? Use a few potted containers to create lush, easy-to-maintain landscaping for your outdoor space all season long. A mix of foliage plants and flowers provide instant color—just choose the palette to suit your site.

2. KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

If you have a bright spot in your kitchen, create a feast for the senses with potted herbs. Aromatic herbs such as mint, lavender, basil and rosemary infuse the air with their natural scents and conveniently enhance your favorite dishes.

3. POOLSIDE STORAGE

Lounging poolside is one of summer’s great pleasures. Make it even more relaxing for you and your guests by placing swim-and-sun essentials at arm’s reach. Place planters filled with towels, flip-flops, sunscreen and hats nearby. Planters are an attractive, weatherproof alternative to woven baskets or unsightly plastic tubs.

4. BEVERAGE HOLDER

The season calls for outdoor entertaining, from brunch to sunset cookouts. Use planters as makeshift beverage tubs and place them in convenient gathering spots—by the grill, pool or a seating area—and keep the drinks flowing.

5. ZONE MARKER

Use your containers to define a space. You can easily create a cozy conversation area or direct a natural flow of traffic to and from the patio with a row of planters. Trees and bushy plants potted in containers are great for blocking off a potting station or hiding an unsightly area, too.

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Container Garden Tips:

Consider these simple rules of thumbs to create a fabulous container garden:

  • Create a combination of thriller, filler and spiller plants. A thriller is a bold plant that creates height, a filler is a mounding, billowy plant and a spiller is a low trailing plant that spills out of the sides toward the ground.
  • Consider texture and color combinations. Do you want bold contrast or a subtle, harmonious blend?
  • Make sure all of the plants are either shade lovers or require sunlight, depending on the location of your planter.
  • Think about presentation when choosing number of plants. Will the planter be seen from all sides or just one?