Create a Dramatic Patio Container


Look to annuals to create exceptional potted plantings for patios, decks, terraces, porches, and front entries, or as a focal point within a border. Annuals can also be used to fill in spaces after spring bulbs or perennials have finished their show. Or use them to add splashes of color in front of a border or in any other high-visibility location.

Annuals work hard for your garden, since many provide either a continuous show of colorful blooms or attractive foliage; some even offer both. There are annuals that will suit virtually any color scheme, gardening style, and setting.

Since getting the right light for any plant is crucial, check our website for sun-loving annuals (the most common) as well as annuals that thrive in shade, such as Begonias and Impatiens. You can also shop for annuals by color, height, bloom time, growing zone, fragrance, deer resistance, attractiveness to butterflies, and other criteria. Our preplanned Annual Collections make it a cinch to enjoy stunning combinations.

If you want to play with design, annuals can offer instant gratification. They often have flowers already open, so you won't need to wait to see how one plant's color will match up with another's. Best of all, when you create an annual planting with a pleasing mix of colors, forms, and textures, the display will last for many months.


As you plan your own collections of annuals for containers, keep a few design tips in mind. Whatever you do, try to have fun with the process and remember that it's easy to rearrange designs with annuals.

A harmonious color scheme features plants with similar hues, such as pastels or hot colors. Hues that are close together on the color wheel will generally produce a pleasing harmony.

Contrasting colors also can work well together, especially if they are opposites on the color wheel, such as yellow and purple, blue and orange, or red and green. Lighter and darker versions of each color will help to tie the scheme together, adding harmony to the dynamism of different colors.

When in doubt, keep it simple. Start by using three to five different plants to create a container design. Strive for variety in the heights, forms and textures. Balance something tall and dramatic with billowing and trailing plants. Include selections with intriguing foliage, such as Coleus or an annual Fountain Grass. When grouping plantings in an area, it helps to have a unifying theme among the containers. For example, Cretan terra-cotta pots in different shapes can foster a casually cohesive display. Or plant a variety of annuals, herbs, or edible plants in elegant, Long Tom pots. You can also use these classic foot-high containers to line both sides of a walkway or to form a perimeter grouping on a patio.