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Ingleside at Rock Creek Blog

Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Creating your own container garden: tips and tricks

If you are considering locating to an Independent Living community, you may already have learned the advantages, such as all the social programs offered, amenities and the maintenance-free lifestyle.

But if you thought moving would require trading in your garden and green thumb…then you may be in for a nice surprise.

Welcome to the world of container gardening. Planting in pots instead of the ground is the perfect solution for patios and decks. It’s also very popular for those who have the land for a traditional garden because it’s easier to maintain and preserve - and can be charming as well.

Advantages of container gardening

A simple internet search reveals more than a few benefits for you to consider:

  1. This type of gardening makes it possible for everyone to get their hands in the dirt, no matter where they live. If you have adequate light, indoors or out, you can garden.
  2. You can create a personalized design with plant choices and colors. If you choose the right ones, you can have flowers in bloom all season long.
  3. It’s a simpler way to enjoy gardening without having to weed or deal with pesky animals eating your vegetables.
  4. Maintenance is easier, which can be a relief to your back and knees. You also won’t need to purchase and store all the tools and equipment required for an in-ground garden.
  5. You can design a beautiful space that everyone will enjoy, even when looking out from inside. These gardens can be more accessible. If you have mobility issues, stepping out to a patio to tend to plants is easier.
  6. Potted plants are easy to move. Containers provide an opportunity to experiment with placement to achieve the right look. You can also move those pots that need more or less direct sunlight.

How to create your own container garden

If you’re new to this, you’ll be more successful if you take some time to plan before heading off to the nursery. Deciding first on your design and desired look will save you time and money. These steps can point you in the right direction:

1. What type of plants will you choose?

Decide if you’ll be growing vegetables, flowers or both. Do you already have favorites? Are there certain colors and sizes you’ll be looking for?

2. Which plants will you grow?

Search on-line or talk to a nursery about your specific growing area and which plants may perform better in containers. Vegetables including chard, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and green onions tend to work well. Try an herb garden with mint, chives, parsley, basil, thyme and dill. Or experiment with spinach, tomatoes, or strawberries.

3. Know your space

What is the average outside temperature during the day and night? Does your patio or deck get direct sun and if yes, how many hours? Will your space do better with plants that require indirect light? Or will your plants be exposed to humidity or wind?

4. Design your plan

Measure the space and draw a rough plan for what will go where and the types of containers you’ll use. Try a variety of sizes. If you don’t have much room, consider going vertical. Check with your community first for what’s allowed, before hanging plants or installing shelves. Or buy a freestanding garden shelf to sit in a corner.

5. Get the best advice before you start

Researching the internet or discussing options at your local nursery is the best place to start planning for your container garden. Ask lots of questions and have fun creating your plan to bring a little bit of nature right outside your door.

A few final tips to consider

  • Talk to your community first to find what is allowed on decks and patios
  • Choose the right soil, pot size and material
  • Buy plants instead of seeds for faster results
  • Try combining a climbing plant with those that grow low in one pot
  • Experiment with different heights in a large pot to create interest
  • Don’t forget to water. Container plants dry out sooner than if they were planted in the ground
  • Fertilizer promotes growth. Check your plants’ needs and if the potting soil already has fertilizer
  • Harvest plants at their peak, which also encourages them to produce more food
  • Know your plants and which ones like the sun, the heat or cooler temperatures

Creative designs and container ideas

Using different sized pots in your color scheme can transform your patio or deck into a delightful outdoor space that invites you to spend time outside.

Here are a few design tricks and tips when arranging your space:

  1. Consider what and where your focal point will be for the patio and work around that
  2. Group your containers. A triangle is one of the easiest methods. Choose a dominant container and plantings and then add pots on each side.
  3. Raise some of your pots to draw attention to a stunning arrangement or plant.
  4. Add garden sculptures among or in the containers.
  5. Mix up your container materials with different colors or textures to add interest.
  6. Find the right balance. You can have too few or too many containers.

Ingleside at Rock Creek Independent Living

At our community, you’ll find many opportunities to be surrounded by the beauty of nature, including the stunning vista views of Rock Creek Park from your windows or balconies. And we also encourage you to personalize your space with your own stunning and inviting container garden.

From beautiful apartment homes to our first-class amenities, we think you’ll find yourself right at home at Ingleside at Rock Creek. Whether you take advantage of our gorgeous outdoor surroundings or the easy access to Washington DC, the choices are all yours.    

Call (202) 905-0018 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

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