Planters – Not Just For Plants Anymore!

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 for your favorite outdoor spot. Plus, they’re easily portable so you can rearrange and repurpose them to meet your needs of the moment.

There’s no need to be too matchy-matchy when it comes to containers. A mix of vintage and new pots in a variety of finishes and 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:


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.


Or, 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 enhance your favorite dishes.


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.



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.



If you want to create an inviting gathering space, don’t forget the accent table. You can place candles or magazines on top and give guests a place to rest plates and drinks. Make a table with your favorite planter by placing a sturdy top over it. Here, we used our glass tabletop protector from the Terrific Trio. Voilà!


Defining an Area

Planters are a great design tool because you can use them to define a space. Create a cozy conversation area or direct a natural flow of traffic to and from the patio with a row of planters. Trees potted in containers are great for blocking off a workstation or hiding an unsightly area.  Just remeber, when grouping containers together, stagger heights for the biggest visual impact.

Have we inspired you to dig out those old planters and start using them? And if you’re in need of more, you can find containers at flea markets, yard sales, hardware stores and here. When you find a particular style you like, stock up! You can never have too many planters.



Container Garden Tips:

  • 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?
How to Decorate Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.



  1. Reply

    Janette Eaton

    October 11, 2017

    I absolutely love your creative ideas.
    I’ve been a follower for years.
    After reading this post there was mention that your company offers decorating assistance. HELP. I purchased a vivid pasley rug for our enclosed lania .I want to create an additional room. I’m stuck can I receive some suggestions, ie pattern chices, furniture, lighting (lamp) accent wall color. .etc. Thank you