How to Make Your Own Container Garden


A stroll through the garden center reveals some truly stunning floral displays. Nurseries go to great lengths to create knockout container gardens for a steep price. If you're shying away from spending that money, create your own container gardens for a fraction of the cost. Learning how to make your own container garden requires basic gardening knowledge to design an enviable plant display.

Step 1

Select a container that matches your outdoor décor and will house your plant selections. The container should be big enough to allow 4 inches around each annual plant. Check the bottom of the pot for drainage holes spaced every 5 to 6 inches.

Step 2

Evaluate the light conditions in the pot's proposed location. Full sun plants thrive in bright light conditions with direct exposure of six hours of sun each day. Partial sun/shade plants need two to four hours of sun, while shade-loving plants don't require direct sunlight. Matching the plant to the lighting needs increases the chance of a successful container garden.

Step 3

Purchase plants based on light requirements and appealing growth habits. An easy container garden design features a tall plant, a few medium-height plants as filler, and plants with a trailing growth habit. This formula gives the container height and uses all available space on the planter surface. The trailing plants soften the sharp line of the planter edge by cascading over the side.

Step 4

Evaluate the depth of the planter to determine how much potting soil will fill the planter. Annual plants don't require the deep soil of a perennial plant. To lighten the weight of a large container, place empty plastic pots, crushed aluminum cans, or plastic bottles with holes, into the bottom third of the planter to take up excess space.

Step 5

Add potting soil to bring the soil level up to 4 inches from the pot's edge. Start with the tall, focal point plant by squeezing all sides of the transplant pot. Place your hand over the pot's opening and tip the plant into your palm. Shake off excess soil and run your fingers through the exterior roots. Place it into the container and continue adding remaining plants to the planter. Allow 1 to 2 inches between each root ball in the container garden. This gives the container garden a full appearance.

Step 6

Use the trowel or plastic cup to fill in around all plants with loose potting soil. Press on the soil to firm it and pour more soil into the container to a level 1 inch below the pot's edge.

Step 7

Mix a solution of half-strength fertilizer. Water the container garden at the soil level to avoid damaging foliage. Apply full-strength, water-soluble fertilizer to the container garden every two weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Trowel
  • 1 to 3 tall plants
  • 3 to 5 medium plants
  • 3 to 5 mounding plants
  • Watering can
  • Water-soluble fertilizer


  • University of Rhode Island: Making Container Gardens
  • University of Illinois: Building Successful Containers
Keywords: container garden design, container gardens, designing container gardens

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.