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How to Choose Deck Garden Containers

Oct 15, 2007
Today homeowners are able to select from a wide variety of deck garden containers in terms of materials and styles. Factors to consider when choosing containers for the deck are cost, weight, availability, size and winter care. Whichever containers are used it is important that each one has adequate drainage in the bottom.

A formal design generally features matching containers while a more casual and informal look works best with a mix of containers in various sizes and styles.

In most cases when it comes to deck garden containers, the larger the better. Group several large containers and an instant garden feeling is created because of the masses of plants that can be accomodated.

From a design standpoint large containers are very much in scale with the size of most decks especially when they are clustered. In areas where several smaller pots would almost seem lost, larger containers filled with plants make a very strong and colorful statement.

Larger containers also have another more practical advantage over groups of small ones. It is simply the fact that they require less watering. This is quite an important factor in regions where heat and humidity have a much larger impact on the growth of plants.

During the hottest months of summer smaller pots need watering daily. In some areas they may need watering twice during the day. On the other hand, plants in large containers usually grow just fine when soaked thoroughly every second day or so even in hot weather.

Terra-cotta containers are fired clay and are a warm, orangy brown color that looks very effective against plant foliage. Terra-cotta containers are porous because they both absorb and release moisture through their sides. As a result they tend to dry out more quickly than non-porous containers.

Large terra-cotta containers tend to be quite heavy even before the soil is put into place. It is important to decide where they will be placed before they are filled with soil and planted. Avoid placing them in windy places when planted with very tall plants as they can blow over and break.

Since the terra-cotta containers absorb water they will crack when they freeze. It is best to store them indoors over the winter. They do not have to be in a heated room. They just need to be protected from absorbing moisture which will create cracks. After the first hard frost, dump the soil and plants onto the compost pile and move the empty containers indoors.

Containers made of glazed clay have been around for a long time. Some are sold as being frost or weather resistant. They can be left outdoors during the whole year or stored indoors. If they are to be left outside, set them up off the ground so that they do not sit in water. Use a fairly fast draining soil mix to minimize water retention.

Stylish, high quality polyethylene containers now come in all the shapes, sizes and styles that were once only offered in stone. Many kinds of plastic urns and pots have decorative sculpted exteriors that can do much to enhance the aesthetic look of the deck.

Polyethylene containers come in realistic looking shades that imitate terra-cotta, stone and other earth tomes. They also have the advantage of being lightweight, durable, weather resistant and relatively inexpensive. Since they can be left outdoors without cracking, polyethylene containers are useful for adding interest to the deck in the colder months and not just during the normal growing season.

Cast stone or concrete containers are dense, durable and more difficult to break that those made of terra-cotta. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Those with sculpted exteriors make handsome amd striking landscape elements. However, they are quite heavy and should be put in place before soil and plants are added to them.

Cast stone containers will tend to crack if left outdoors year round especially if filled with soil. The best idea is to empy them and store them indoors.

Square planters, half whiskey barrels and window boxes are the 3 most commonly available wood option containers. Wood containers can be left outdoors all year long. They can actually be built into the actual structure of the deck such as planters at both ends of a bench seating area.

Some type of liner is best to use on the inside of the wood container to prevent moisture from draining too quickly. Again, make sure to locate the wood container in place before adding soil and plants.

Imagination and ingenuity are the only limits for the use of found objects as deck garden containers. Iron pots, watering cans, bathubs, a child's wagon, an old wheelbarrow and even a discarded kitchen sink can work and magically transform a dull space into a remarkable focal point on the deck. As with any other containers, it is very important to ensure that these found treasures have adequate drainage.

Containers made of polyurethane foam resemble terra-cotta or cast stone and come in a variety of sizes and stles. The major difference is that they weigh 90 percent less than their counterparts. They have the ability to insulate against both heat and cold and are able to keep roots cool during hot weather and warm in colder weather. They are also crack and chip resistant even when left outdoors during the winter.

With such a wide variety of deck garden containers available in terms of materials, sizes and styles, it is easily possible for a homeowner to create a deck container garden that will strengthen the link between the house and the garden helping to transform the deck into a gardenlike outdoor living space.
About the Author
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About
Deck Design and Claim your 2
FREE Deck Plans, Insider Report, MP3 Audio and discover everything to know about
building a deck visit:
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