Are you going to have pots scattered around, or in just one area? What is the best place for an outdoor container garden?
This is one of the first things you need to decide. And you need to choose before you have done too much of the hard work. Read more if you don’t know much about container gardening.
On this page
- What are the Benefits of Growing Plants in Containers?
- Location of Your Outdoor Container Garden
- Sunlight Requirements
- Local Climate
- Plants Don’t Like Pollution Either
- Water Source
- Keep Close to Home
- Pests and Animals
- How Big Will Your Plants Grow?
- Looking Good
What are the Benefits of Growing Plants in Containers?
Before we start looking into the best place for an outdoor container garden, you might wonder why you would even want to grow plants in containers. There are actually quite a few good reasons that you might want to think about it.
My soil is heavy clay and therefore makes gardening more difficult. The beauty of using container gardening is that I have more control over the soil and can grow container plants in their preferred conditions. I could never grow carrots in my garden, but I can add sandy soil to a (large) container, and my carrots are happy.
You definitely get fewer weeds in containers than you do in the garden. So, container gardening requires less weeding and is therefore easier maintenance. You will also have fewer pests which is helpful especially if you are doing organic gardening. This is why many people new to gardening start by growing their produce in container gardens. This leads to …
Containers require less maintenance than a traditional garden. It is much easier to keep an eye on things like watering, in a small pot rather than a large garden. You can use almost anything as a container as long as it has drainage holes to stop your potting solid from becoming water logged. If you add a top layer of mulch this is a great option to retain moisture.
If you have limited space to grow plants, then you can maximise your limited space with containers. Whether you have a small patio, a balcony or just a windowsill, you can grow something in a pot.
You do get a bit more flexibility when you grow your plants in pots. You can move them around to get full sun. You can move them out of the wind and rain. And importantly, you can even bring them somewhere sheltered in the winter. It is far easier to cover a pot than it is to cover half of your garden.
Location of Your Outdoor Container Garden
Choosing the correct location to set up your container garden is one of the most important decisions you will have to make when getting into container gardening. If you choose the wrong location, in future it could result in disastrous consequences as far as the well-being of the plants, flowers or vegetables goes.
Ideally, the best location for your container plants would be somewhere with just the right amount of sunlight daily and it should also be a place where the fragile plants are sheltered from the harsh natural elements.
Since the amount of sunlight that different plants require will vary, you will need to do your research beforehand to see how much sunlight is sufficient for the plants you’re growing. Some plants love the sun while others would prefer the shade and just a bit of sunlight daily. If you are growing a variety of plants, then you will need to arrange your container garden appropriately to cater to the unique needs of each plant.
While it may seem complicated, it’s actually pretty straightforward. All you need to do is control the amount of sunlight that hits your plants. If you have plants that need to be in the shade, all you’ll need to do is set up a cloth or tarp in one part of your garden to provide cover from the sun.
There are many types of shades sold in the market for this purpose so that not only does your garden look beautiful but the plants are also protected against excessive sunlight.
Once you have started to garden, start paying attention to your garden. Where is the sun during the day? Do you have a spot where the wind blows through the garden? Are parts of your garden sheltered no matter how heavy the rain is?
You probably find there are cold patches in your garden, so don’t plant delicate flowers there. Equally don’t plant dry-loving plants in any damp patches in your garden. Some plants love full sun whilst you might also be growing shade loving plants. Plants that like part shade or full shade will not be happy all day in the intense heat of the baking sun. Try and work with nature, not against her.
Plants Don’t Like Pollution Either
The proximity of your container garden to the road is also a factor that you will want to consider. There is a certain amount of pollution to be expected near the road. Passing cars and even human foot traffic can kick up dust, dirt, debris and other foreign matter towards your precious plants. You really don’t want that since it will potentially cause damage to the plants.
Try and keep as close as possible to a water source. Your container plants will require a large amount of water, especially in the summer months. So it makes sense that you make it easy on yourself and don’t make watering your potted plants a huge job.
Keep Close to Home
Many prefer to have their container gardens close to their house so that they can keep an eye on the garden. After all, it will be easier to tend to the plants if they are close by. Out of sight, out of mind. If the garden is too far away, you may end up neglecting it.
When a garden is close to your house, there will be the scent of humans nearby and it will discourage animals such as rabbits or deer from ambling over and nibbling on your plants to their hearts’ content.
You should also be aware if there are any potential weather elements that may pose a future threat to your plants. Some places are prone to storms or heavy rains. In cases like these, you may be required to move your plants to some indoor shelter to protect them. It will definitely be much easier to do this if the plants are near your house or the shelter.
Choose plants that make a nice addition around the outside of the house. Things like ornamental grasses are lovely as you get the movement and the sound.
Pests and Animals
If you have a garden, sooner or later, you will have some sort of pest infestation. Many gardeners deal with this issue at some point in time or another. If your garden has pests or used to have pests, the likelihood of a pest infestation is very high. Some pests are loyal and always return to the same location every year to do the same damage. Be aware of this.
There is also the fact that animals may pose a threat to your plants.
How Big Will Your Plants Grow?
One final point to note before you start container gardening will be the size of your plants. If you have plants growing that will become very large in future, you must know where you will place them. Once they grow too big, it will be a Herculean task to move them in future. Remember that you not only have the weight of the pot and the plant but also the weight of the potting soil. Just be aware that this is also true of indoor plants. Most plants thrive indoors so try to avoid your container plants becoming too big.
There are many things to bear in mind when considering where to site your container garden, but don’t forget that your outdoor space also needs to look good.
The important thing is to have a healthy garden, but for it to look good. Choose the right container with good drainage and healthy plants and it is super easy to create a big impact in even a small garden. A large mixed container with a feature plant and filler plant with a mix of tall stems in the right pot in the right location will add height and make a lovely feature in the garden.
These are some of the points to bear in mind when starting a container garden. A little bit of early planning will save you a ton of hassle in the future. Do spend some time planning first so you can choose the right location for an outdoor container garden before you put too much work in.