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Different Types of Garden Planters

By Mary Osborne ; Updated September 21, 2017

Garden planters filled with healthy herbs, flowers or foliage plants add interest to gardens and decks and can create a dramatic focal point in the garden. Most garden planters are portable, relatively inexpensive and serve as manageable fertile oases whether you live in a desert, a high-rise or a yard with problem soil. A stroll through a garden center or discount department store reveals an abundance of garden planters in assorted sizes, colors, shapes and materials. The hard part is choosing the right planter for your needs.

Window Boxes

Window box planters add a dash of color and old-fashioned charm beneath any window. Made from wood, plastic, metal or wrought iron, window boxes turn wasted space into gardening space. They need to be mounted securely, taking into consideration the added weight of soil and plants after the window planter has been attached. Remember to hang the boxes below windows that can be easily accessed for watering and dead-heading.


Resin, stone, terracotta and even plastic urns bring plants and flowers closer to eye level and create an elegant look for any garden pathway, home entryway or driveway. Large stone urns are extremely heavy and may require special delivery from a garden center or store. Resin urns are much lighter and usually less expensive than stone or ceramic urns. Garden visitors may have to reach out and touch a resin urn to realize it isn't the "real thing."

Ceramic and Terracotta Planters

Ceramic planters often come in bold, bright colors and have a high-gloss finish. It's easy to choose a color scheme for your garden using ceramic planters. In areas of the country with heavy freezes, ceramic and terracotta planters need to be brought indoors to prevent cracking or chipping due to extreme changes in temperature. Trusty terracotta pots, whether round, square, oblong or animal-shaped, are down-to-earth planters that blend well with the landscape. Plants potted in porous terracotta containers need frequent watering.

Hanging Baskets and Tomato Planters

Take advantage of every available space in the yard or on the porch or deck with hanging baskets. Plants in hanging baskets might be tricky to water if suspended too high, but self-watering hanging baskets are available to take care of that problem. Coconut fiber hanging baskets provide a natural look and good drainage for lovely, trailing plants. In recent years, growing tomatoes "upside-down" from a suspended tomato planter has become popular, and increases gardening space.

Tiered Planters

If one garden planter isn't enough, tiered planters provide space for two or three plants, positioned one above the other. Most tiered planters use a metal framework to suspend one plant above the other.

Creative Planters

Add whimsy to a garden by using everyday objects creatively. Old toy trucks, bicycle baskets, cast-off work boots, tall sections of bamboo, hollowed tree stumps, old boats and wheelbarrows are all ideas for trash-to-treasure garden planters. Let your imagination run wild and recycle, all at the same time.