If you’re interested in designing a container garden, there are a few basic steps you need to follow. The first step in designing a container garden involves picking which container you’d like to use. The basic choices include ceramic, terracotta, metal, wood or baskets. The most traditional choice when designing a container garden is terracotta.

Filling your container with potting soil is the next step in designing a container garden. Don’t just use dirt from your yard when designing a container garden. Potting soil mixes sold at garden centers contain special formulas for nutrition and drainage. Fill the container almost to the top.

Next, when designing a container garden, you should think about the climate conditions when choosing plants. Some plants only bloom during certain seasons, while others require direct sunlight for the best buds.

Nancy Clifton works at the Chicago Botanic Garden and offers advice on designing a container garden. Clifton recommends a formula of “thriller, filler and spiller” when designing a container garden. Tulips make great “thrillers” because they’re upright blooms with a lot of color. A good “filler” plant would be an English daisy. The “spiller” should cascade over the edges of the pot, like ivy.

When potting your plants and designing your container garden, place the roots four to six inches below the surface of the soil.

Clifton has some tips for designing a container garden. “One little hint that’s nice for containers is that they don’t have to have everything sitting up upright. Leaning your plants a little bit so they’re cascading over the edge, that softens the container edge and really makes the plant look like it’s bursting out of the container.”

Another thing to keep in mind when designing a container garden is color. Choose complimentary colors to make your container garden pop. When designing, don’t be afraid to really fill up your container garden with plants. At the Chicago Botanic Garden they call it the “cram and jam” method of planting. Clifton says, “everybody oohs and ahhs over the container here at the botanic garden. You know we plant them nice and full. They’re absolutely beautiful.”

For more stories on real estate and personal finance visit ThinkGlink.com. Also check out these stories on container gardens and planting a container garden.

July 30, 2008.