Add some flair to a boring deck, patio or back yard

Quick & Easy Garden Container Project

by Kathy Woodard

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Looking for a quick and easy garden container to add some flair to a boring deck, yard or patio? Here is a before and after project that will take less than 30 minutes, can be inexpensive and is a creative take on ordinary container gardening!


  • Any container that has sections. (We used an old wood soda crate)
  • Potting soil
  • Alpine or compact plants
  • Polished stones

Step One: Choose plants that are of an alpine or compact nature. You don't want the plants overgrowing the container so much that you can no longer see the structure that gives it a good design. Line the container with plastic to protect it if you choose, but be sure it has some drainage. If drainage is an issue, place a layer of gravel at the bottom of the container first. Fill the container with potting soil, gently pack down, and place the plants. Fill with more soil, gently press down with your fingers, and water. Don't plant all the sections of your container. Leaving some empty space highlights the plants and gives the eye a place to rest.

Step Two: Fill some of the empty sections with polished stones or glass. You can find these at craft shops or dollar stores, or perhaps you already have a collection. The stones are a nice contrast to the container and the plants.

Step Three: Place your container, keep it watered, and prune the plants as needed to keep them controlled. Remember, in this particular project, you are highlighting the creative container as much as the plants! Remember to match the plants to the sun exposure. Don't place shade plants in the sun or plants that need a lot of water and care in an easy to forget spot.

Done! Some ideas? Use recycled materials from a building renovation store and succulents for a more modern or contemporary look. Repeat the same plant over and over, or vary your plants for more contrast. Try small grasses, succulents, compact annuals, or even experiment with a trailing houseplant over one side. Think about all containers that have sections. Consider kitchen containers, building supplies, plastic organizing trays, or create your own by placing a series of smaller containers inside a larger one!

This is an easy, quick garden container project to make your small space or patio garden something special. You can make it as budget friendly as you wish, and this is a great project to reuse and recycle, making it green gardening as well!

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