Fast & Easy Decorating for Every Season

How to make it happen at your house

Sometimes full-on DIY landscape projects and planting are more than your schedule allows. And not everyone considers themself a ‘gardener.’ But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a gorgeous porch or patio with personality. An area that defies your busy schedule, says who you are and welcomes you, your family and guests. Busy people deserve beautiful plants, too.

Container Gardening has gotten a lot of press in the last few years as a way for busy people to reap the rewards of gardening. It’s fast, it’s confined to a small, manageable space and it’s affordable. It also gives you a lot of flexibility. You can move your plants, your color and containers wherever you want them: in or out of the sun, in or out of the house or onto the patio for a party. And you can change the whole look of your porch or patio with plants for every season.

Where do you begin? We thought you might ask.

Thriller, Filler & Spiller

We love to encourage creativity when people plant. Seriously, let your inner artist out. But the same way recipes are guides to delicious outcomes in the kitchen, container recipes are guides to beautifully planted pots that will thrive.

It goes without saying that before you follow any container recipe or recommendation, check the plant’s tag. It will tell you what your plant needs, including light requirements (full sun, partial or shade) so you can place your pots and plants where they’ll be happy.

Ok, so you’re ready to plant. We recommend sticking to the Thriller, Filler, Spiller recipe to guide you. It will help you plant a pot with height, texture and interest and you can get creative with your choices. Here’s how to get started:

Thriller - A bold, upright focal point that provides strong, distinctive  architectural structure. Add this first so you  don’t have to squeeze  it in later. 1) Thriller

Once you have fresh potting soil in your pot, start with your focal point, the star of your container. This is normally the tallest part of your pot, but you can also mound the soil in the center to give it added height. Thrillers are bold and beautiful, they may be surprising, filled with texture and/or the only one of its kind in the pot.

FIller - Designed to cover bare spots and the base of the Thriller and to mound or billow in its own container.2) Filler

Everyone loves a container that’s full and lush looking. Fillers are low-to-mid-height plants that mound and spread, filling in spaces, holes and leggy thriller stems. They can echo the color and shape of the thriller or be a counterpart (round to the thriller’s spikiness or tiny and delicate to the thrillers large, bold silhouette).

Spiller - Extend the boundaries of your container with plants that cascade over the edges, adding softness and shape to the overall look.3) Spiller

You can probably guess that these are the tendrils overflowing the sides of the container and softening the edges. You don’t need to reserve a lot of room for spillers, we often wedge them into tiny spots where they make the biggest splash. You can unify the look of the planting by weaving in complimentary colors or leaf styles or you can go for big contrast in the color or shape of the spiller.

People are surprised at what a difference even a lively container or two can make. And when you see what you can do, what you can grow and accomplish in a container, you might feel brave enough to move on to bigger projects.

In the meantime, here are a few suggestions to get you started in every season:

SPRING CONTAINERS

Thrillers

  • Hellebores
  • Curly Willow branches
  • Yellow Twig Dogwood branches
  • Pussy Willow branches
  • Small shrubs (e.g. boxwood)

Fillers

  • Senetti
  • Pansies
  • Ranunculus
  • Blooming buds (e.g. daffodils, tulips and hyacinths)

Spillers

  • Pansies (fast-growing pansies can spill over edges)
  • English Ivy
* mulch and decorative mosses are always great ways to finish off a container in any season

SUMMER CONTAINERS 

Thrillers

  • Grasses (many seasonal varieties)
  • Small shrubs
  • Coleus
  • Tropicals (many seasonal varieties, e.g. Mandevillas with a mini trellis)

Fillers

  • Zinnias
  • Geraniums
  • Pentas
  • Petunias

Spillers

  • Lysimachia
  • Verbena
  • Petunias (fast-growing petunias can spill over edges)
* mulch and decorative mosses are always great ways to finish off a container in any season

FALL CONTAINERS

 Thrillers

  • Grasses (many seasonal varieties)
  • Small shrubs
  • Mums
  • Edibles (e.g. pumpkins, gourds, etc.)

Fillers

  • Pansies
  • Daisies
  • Marigolds

 Spillers

  • Pansies (fast-growing pansies can spill over edges)
  • English Ivy
* mulch and decorative mosses are always great ways to finish off a container in any season

WINTER & HOLIDAY CONTAINERS

Thrillers

  • Winterberry branches
  • Curly Willow branches
  • Birch logs
  • Red Twig Dogwood branches

Fillers

  • Noble Fir
  • Frasier Fir
  • Cedar
  • Pinecones
  • Ornaments

Spillers 

  • Incense Cedar
  • Princess Pine
* mulch and decorative mosses are always great ways to finish off a container in any season

And if this all feels like a little too much work, try pre-planted Grab & Go containers. Created by designers for the season, these fiber pots can be dropped right into standard containers to look like you did it yourself.

Visit the garden center for gorgeous pre-planted options or order yours with your favorite plants.