With summer here, it means more time spent outside, with lots of cookouts and family gatherings on decks and patios. To create a welcoming space that everyone will enjoy, dress up your outdoor areas with beautiful custom containers for a colorful focal point.

Putting together a unique container might sound overwhelming, but we’re here to help! Just follow these simple steps:

Pick your container:

There are tons of container options to choose from ranging from ceramic, terra cotta, plastic, or wood. With so many options available, you can be sure to find something to match any style or decor. Depending on the size of your space you can consider large statement containers, which look especially lovely flanking either side of a door. Or if you have a smaller space you can pot up some smaller containers to sprinkle around your space. Having several containers in the same style or color can really tie together your space. Experiment with grouping different sized containers together, or play around with different heights by incorporating a plant stand. There are no hard rules, so have fun experimenting until you find something you like. The one thing to be mindful of with containers is drainage. Check to make sure each container has holes in the bottom. Luckily, most materials are easy enough to drill through if your container is lacking drainage (ceramic may require a special drill bit).

Pick your soil:

Picking the right soil will set your plants up for a great beginning. Depending on what you’re planting we would recommend the following:

• Van Wilgen’s Natural and Organic Potting Mix for your herb and vegetable containers.

• Van Wilgen’s Premium Container Mix for any of your annual or perennial container plantings. This mix contains starter fertilizer and water-holding polymers perfect to keep your container looking its best.

• Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix for any of your houseplant container pots. This is a lighter-weight soil ideal for most houseplants.

Add fertilizer:

Don’t forget to add fertilizer to all your containers. We have many to pick from but one of our favorites is our Van Wilgen’s Slow Release Fertilizer which will keep your plants looking beautiful.

Pick your plants:

Picking your plants is your time to shine and show your creativity. Just be mindful of the light the area gets and choose plants that will thrive under those conditions.

If you’re unsure of where to start, we always recommend the tried and true “thriller, filler, and spiller” method. Start by choosing a plant with some drama and height (thriller), add in a mid-height companion plant (filler), and then complete the arrangement with a hanging plant that will spill over the side of your container rather than grow upright (spiller). This method works well to give the appearance of a really full arrangement. Just keep in mind the size of your container when choosing the size of your houseplants. You don’t want to have too much excess space or squeeze plants into a container that’s too small.

Another way to plan your arrangements is to consider plant color. Choose contrasting colors (those that are opposite one another on a color wheel) for added drama or you can choose analogous colors (those next to one another) for more of a cohesive look. Be sure to factor in the color of your container when planning everything out. There are no hard fast rules here, so play around until you find a combination that you personally like.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. This is a great project you can do together with your kids for memories that will last a lifetime. And when in doubt, pay us a visit. We’re here to help!