5 Simple Tips to Create Gorgeous Container Gardens this Summer

Happy Summer, friends!

One of my favorite things to do during summer is to go out on the patio with an iced coffee and a good book and enjoy the little oasis I've created.  It occurred to me that I go on and on about how much I love my plants and container garden, but I have never talked about how to create your own gorgeous container gardens!

Five Simple Tips to Create Gorgeous Container Gardens


This is my third year creating my patio oasis and I've learned a number of lessons. Here are my top 5 tips to create your own beautiful container gardens.

Five Tips to Create Gorgeous Container Gardens

1. Know your light

It's crucial to know the light conditions of your outdoor space and pick your plants accordingly. Take a few days and notice where the sunny/shady spots are, and how long those spots get sun. My patio faces east, so it's bathed in sunlight from sunrise until about 1-2 p.m. I picked plants that need full sun to half shade. (I do have one exception --my Asparagus Fern needs a little more shade so I planted it in a container that gets shady first. So far, so good.)

2. Keep 'em together

Keep the plants that require the same lighting and water conditions together in the same container. I made the mistake of planting a succulent type Sedum with water hungry Brazilian Red Hots the first year. It wasn't until my Sedum looked sad and sickly that I figured out I was over watering the poor thing!

3. Keep 'em close

Though the little information tag on the plants says you need to plant each one 9 to 12 inches apart (or whatever the recommended space is) you can (and should!) plant them a lot closer. The first year I started container gardening, I planted petunias the minimum of 6 inches apart that was recommended and my two foot long planter looked pretty sparse and ugly. My new railing planters are approx 24"x9" and I have about 12-15 plants in each. It looks incredible!

4. Combine different height plants

Combining plants of different heights will give your containers height, fullness, and depth! Plant tall ornamental grasses in the back, a plant like Coleus that is a little bit shorter in the middle, and something that hangs down and trails, like English Ivy or Sweet Potato Vine, in the front.

5. Combine different colors and textures

Don't be afraid of combining plants with different colors and textures. Your planter does not have to contain only one kind of plant. That's boring! Combining wild colors and crazy textures will give your containers some excitement. My two new favorites are the asparagus fern (dark green and feathery) and the licorice vine (small greyish fuzzy leaves) They have such fun textures. Another fun plant that comes in variety of colors and leaf shapes is the Colesus. I have at least 8 different varieties in my containers. I set the plants up next to each other in it's potential planter and make sure I'm happy with the color/arrangement before I commit to planting them. However, I do replant if I'm not completely happy with the combo after a few days.  Don't worry-- as long as you're careful, moving and replanting is okay and won't hurt your plants!


I hope you find these tips for creating your own gorgeous container garden helpful. Leave a comment in comment section-- I'd love to hear how your garden is doing!


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It's Officially Patio Gardening Season!

The end of May means only one thing-- it's patio gardening time! This weekend mom and I braved the Memorial Day weekend crowds and went to my favorite garden shops to pick out plants for my patio garden. I managed to pick up just enough plants and dirt to fill my 7 railing planters and my 4 tier plant stand. I need to go back! I need more dirt, for sure, and I would like to pick up some herbs for the little terra cotta planters and two hanging baskets for my new shepherd hooks. And, I want to pick up a little mini pond. (I'm still trying to convince G that I need it.)

Last fall, as I was clearing out & cutting down the dead foliage in my planters, a woman who lives somewhere in my neighborhood approached me  (I had my pruning shears, I was ready if there was going to be a confrontation) and expressed how much she loved walking her dog past my patio and how she loved to watch the progress of my plants. She even brought her husband by on one of her walks and showed him what she wanted him to re-create on their patio! I thought this was super sweet. I'm so glad she stopped by and let me know how much she appreciated my patio garden (even though it was just from the outside) Seriously friends, if you walk past someones garden and you love it, stop and tell them! It will brighten their day!

Patio Garden Railing Planter

That encounter has shown me that my garden efforts not only makes me happy (it really really does!) but it makes other people happy too. So this years patio garden will be bigger and better! I have a neighborhood of dog walkers to make happy!

Here are just a few photos of my planters & plants. I will share in greater detail the plants hanging out in there in an upcoming post.

Patio Garden Railing Planter
Patio Garden Plant- Abstract
Patio Garden Plants- Hens and Chicks
Patio Garden Railing Planter
Patio Garden Plant- Coleus


Do you have a little patio garden? Or maybe you're lucky enough to have a backyard space? Whatever you have, I'd love if you could share some of your favorite gardening tips/tricks in the comment section below!


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Garden update- first signs of spring

I'm super excited that it's finally beginning to look and feel like springtime in Chicagoland. Everyday I get home from work and I go outside to check out how my little garden has progressed (what, you don't do that?) 

Last year, I planted 5 grape hyacinth and 4 miniature daffodils along the side of my house leading up to the front door.  While planting,  I discovered that I had about 4 inches of soil and then i hit a black plastic liner. I assumed this liner was to deter weeds, so i tried poking (tearing) holes in it in order to plant my little spring flowers. I didn't think I planted them deep enough, but they lived out their short little spring lives and I didn't give them much thought.  Once they petered out, I planted ground cover to fill up the space. Those did really well and went on to look amazing and full by the time winter rolled around.

Imagine my surprise this year when I noticed that my little grape hyacinth and daffodils started to bloom all by them selves!

early spring mini daffodil

That was in late March. After a few weeks,  (another snowfall) and a few really nice warm days, almost all of my little spring flowers are nearly full grown!

spring grape hyancith
spring miniature daffodils
springtime side garden
spring ground cover

I can't wait for it to get a little warmer (read: no more threat of snow or frost!) I need to pick up some tulips and some more spring bulbs to fill up that area a little more as well as new plants to start my patio garden! This year is going to be bigger and better than before and will have a mini pond (Shhhh!!! G doesn't know about this yet, so let's just keep it between you and me, k?)


Do you have a garden? What do you recommend I pick up? Have any photos? Let me know in the comment section below!


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10 More DIY Flower Pot Painting Ideas

It's still (only) February, but I'm totally thinking about my patio garden already (it's never to early to start planning, right?)  Two years ago (has it really been that long?) I painted and distressed a bunch of terra cotta flower pots. This year, I think I want to try something a little more fun! 

Here are 10 more easy DIY painted flower pot ideas:

10 Super Easy DIY Painted Flower Pots

1. DIY Gold Foil Lettering on Flower Pots

2. DIY Drip Painted Pottery

3. Pot of Gold…err…Turquoise

4. DIY Chevron Pots

5. DIY Hand Painted Ikat Pots

6. Day of the Dead Planters

7. Nail Polish Marbled DIY Planters

8. DIY Painted Pots

9. Dip Dye Succulent Pot

10. Painted Terra Cotta Pots

I absolutely love idea 1 (the gold foil lettering) for my indoor plants. I don't have a cricut so might do something similar with gold foil. (don't worry! I'll post a tutorial when I do this!) I love idea 5 (the DIY Ikat Pots) for my pots outside. I can't believe how easy it looks to make this fun pattern! I think this would pattern pot would compliment my distressed pots nicely.

If you're looking for more DIY painting ideas, check out this post-- you'll find more really great ideas to decorate your pots including several techniques.  10 DIY Flower Pot Painting Ideas

If you're looking for even more, even cuter ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor flower pots, stop by and check this post out : 10 More Super Cute Ways to DIY Your Flower Pots

If you're looking for some fun ideas for easy and trendy ways to DIY succulent planters, check out this post: 10 Super Cute Ways to DIY succulent planters



Have you tried one of these techniques? How did it turn out? Let me know in the comments section below-- I'd love to hear how it went!


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My Gorgeous Patio Transformation!

I finally got to plant over Memorial Day weekend! YAY!!!! I couldn't stand my bare, empty patio any longer and the weather was just perfect for going to the plant shop and picking up some plants for my new deck railing planters. Apparently everyone else had that same idea too, and they were all trying to get to Pesche's! It was so bad, they had cops directing traffic in order to get in and out of that place! NOTE TO SELF: Don't go plant shopping during Memorial Day Weekend. Mom and I went to Lurvey's instead, and I have to say, I am so happy we did! I got these gorgeous leafy plants for my planters and they turned out even better than I had originally planned. I love them, and am in love with my outdoor space now!!! Check it out! 

The plants in this planter came from Pesche's a week prior to Memorial Day weekend!

The next thing I need to get is a patio umbrella or some sort of sunshade so that I can actually sit outside during the morning and afternoon! What else could I use?

Do you have a patio or a garden (or both?) Let me know! I'd love to check out your outdoor space!


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It's the middle of May, have you started your garden yet?

As of today's writing, it's May 20th, and I haven't started my garden yet.  I've been dying to pick up some plants and create my little outdoor patio oasis, but it's just been too darn cold this spring. It seems like winter was not letting us out of it's cold, miserable grasp! I mean, we even had snow last week! (i wish I were kidding.)

Remember my pretty blue planter and pots? Well.... I left them outside all winter and now they have a very serious "shabby chic" look (at least, that's what I'm telling myself!)

Note to self: Bring the wooden planters and painted pots inside when you're experiencing the worst winter ever!

When it is finally warm enough to plant, this years garden patio oasis is going to be even more awesome than last years. This year is all about my new deck railing planters!  I searched everywhere for planters that sit on deck railings and FINALLY found some that weren't hideous. I had one very specific requirement. The planter needed to sit on top of the deck railing and not hang over. I have to maximize my tiny space and I feel that planters hanging over either side of the railing would take up too much room.

New Deck Railing Planters

So? What do you think? Won't these look amazing when they are filled with beautiful greenery? I'd also like to get some shepard hooks to hold hanging baskets for the side of my house (not shown) and a little table/bench to house all my little pots that are just sitting on the deck. I just wish my deck was larger and in better shape!


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