Your future garden may feature bountiful flower and vegetable beds, paved pathways and birdbaths, but you only need a pot, potting soil and some seeds to start a garden today. Container gardens can add a pop of color, fill awkward spaces, pack in more plants when garden space is scarce, and reflect your personal style — and they don't have to cost much.
Whether you're carving out space on a balcony, small patio or yard, or an indoor windowsill, think beyond the basic terra cotta with these unique container gardening ideas that will transform your potted plants into focal points.
If you're looking for a DIY container gardening option, try a hypertufa trough. You should be able to find the materials — Portland cement, perlite, peat moss and polypropylene fiber — at a home improvement store. You can follow these step-by-step instructions by Better Homes & Gardens as you build your own.
Hypertufa troughs mimic the look of weathered concrete but at a much lower cost and weight. Plus, you can craft a container that's exactly the dimensions you need to fill a particular space. Hypertufa troughs tend to turn out shallower than traditional pots, so stick with smaller plants such as fairy garden plants — perhaps try some creeping thyme or sedum.
Stock Tank Container Garden
Galvanized metal stock tanks, which farmers traditionally use to provide water to livestock, make the ideal upcycled garden container for a modern farmhouse. They're deep enough to double as raised bed vegetable gardens or even serve as an entry-level water garden.
Stock tanks come in many sizes. They're available at hardware, home improvement and farm supply stores — or you might be able to score a vintage one at an antique store, farm estate sale or even on social media, depending on where you live.
Recycled Rubber Planter
If you love the look of natural stone containers but have more of a 5-gallon bucket budget, consider recycled rubber planters. They look like high-end stone but with a much lower price and weight. Plus, rubber planters help keep tires out of landfills, making them an eco-friendly choice.
Place your recycled rubber planter on your front porch or patio for an instant aesthetic boost. Fill them with flowers that add even more curb appeal.
Recycled planters are available in a rainbow of colors and a myriad of shapes and sizes. You can find these containers at garden centers, home improvement stores, nurseries and many online retailers.
Hanging Pocket Container Garden
If you have a blank wall or privacy fence to cover (or have officially run out of horizontal planting space), go vertical with a hanging pocket container. These clever containers consist of lightweight, durable fabric and numerous pockets to fill with soil and seeds or starter plants.
Trade your old sneakers for sage. You can simply use an over-the-door shoe organizer, which is available at many home supply retailers — just be sure to place it somewhere you don't mind getting wet in case it's not waterproof. Or, purchase a pocket garden specifically designed for plants, which you can find at many garden centers and online retailers.
Hanging pocket container gardens are best for smaller plants — envision a wall of your favorite herbs or colorful annual flowers — which you can then relocate to larger vessels when they've outgrown their pockets.
Suction Cup Planter
Ideal for indoor gardeners without a wide windowsill or empty tabletop, suction cup planters allow you to stick containers directly on a window. These vessels are often made of lightweight plastic or glass. As you might guess, they're best suited for smaller plants such as herbs, succulents or African violets.
You can find these quirky container gardens at a variety of retailers, including Amazon and Etsy. Or, try creating one yourself with a suction cup shelf from a home supply store. Simply adhere it to your window and place small, lightweight containers on it.
When it comes to unique container gardening ideas, the pot can play just as important a role as the plants. Whether upcycling old containers or finding interesting new ones that meet your needs, you can create an eye-catching container garden that adds color, texture and interest to your home.
Check out the rest of our top container gardening tips as you bring your small-scale garden to life.