Spring Garden Project: Create a Container Garden

Posted by: on March 30th, 2012 | 61 Comments
Do you like this article?

A small container garden and wicker chair on a deck

Creating a container garden is a quick weekend project that provides lots of visual pay-off. Choosing the plant combinations is a fun, creative trip to The Home Depot and the project was easy for us to pull off in an afternoon (really!). Follow these step-by-step instructions to create these gorgeous containers that truly transform a patio. Also, find the Garden Club recipe card for this project here and check out this video before you get your hands dirty.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Large Containers of Various Shapes and Sizes
Plant Food 
Potting Soil
A Variety of Perennials, Annuals and Shrubs (see instructions below for inspiration)

Start with a Theme

Think like a painter composing a picture. Consider color, shape and style. For instance, you might decide on plants in dark tones, chosen for their variety of textures and leaf shapes. Don’t stop at flowers in a container. Shrubs and perennials are great for year-round container interest.

Place tall plants in the center for height, smaller foliage or shrub-like plants around the middle to fill in and add interest, and vining or cascading plants to drape over the sides of the container. Grouping plants with the same sun and water requirements give them all an equal chance to thrive.


Choose Your Containers.

Opt for a couple of large containers or cluster smaller containers in an uneven number for visual interest. Stack a few on upended terra cotta pots to create an arrangement of various heights. Bigger pots are easier to care for because large volumes of soil retain moisture longer, so you water less frequently.




Use a plant fertilizer to give you container garden all the nutrients it needs to get established. Refer to the product label for rates of application.


Add Soil.

Pour or scoop potting soil around the roots of your plant to the top of the pot but don’t pat down.


Give Your Plants a Watering.

Add water to settle the soil so it’s no more than an inch below the rim.



Check out other garden projects here on The Apron Blog. And be sure to sign up for The Home Depot’s Garden Club, where you can get special offers, discounts and expert advice. Also, check out the awesome Container Gardening advice in our online Community Forums

Tags: , ,

Leave a Comment

  1. denise says:

    I just recently bought a Sangria plant..how do i tie it up and with what do i tie it with.

  2. Mary says:

    How to you create the potted plant from the home depot commercial?

    • Craig Allen says:

      The video instructions are here.

      You can read the instructions and download a printable version here.

      Thanks for the question.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  3. Sherry says:

    There has been a Home Depot commercial airing and on there they are working on potting plants. There is one project on there that I am interested in. They cut wire and make a cage in the pot. Can you tell me where I can learn to make theses potted plants?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Sherry.

      The video instructions are here.

      You can read the instructions and download a printable version here.

      Thanks for the question.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  4. rose wells says:

    i have house plants that i got from home depot since i moved they are trying to to die what should i do and i got three Avocado plants that i planted how should i take care of them they are growing i just need some advise on how to care for them

  5. Martin says:

    I am one of those folks who are crazy about gardens and yes the holes in my pots bottom often drive me nuts. But then I read the advice in the comments here so thank you for helping me deal with those holes without having to worry about the soil running out.

  6. mary says:

    is it possible to grow creep myrtle bushes from mature seeds? If so what is the best method?

    • Lynn Coulter says:

      Yes, you can grow them from seeds, Mary. Just wait till the pods turn brown before you collect the seeds inside them. Put them in a zipper-type plastic baggie, and store them in your fridge for about a month before sowing. They should sprout easily in average, moist potting soil (don’t cover them too deeply). One note: the baby plants may not have the same color flowers as the parent. Good luck with your crepe myrtles! Lynn, Home Depot Garden Club

  7. maryann says:

    how do you transplant an orchid?

  8. Dorothy Bowker says:

    This year was not a good year for my fruit trees. I have a guava, pessimon and a starfruit tree. They did nt bear any fruits. What happen, and what did I do wrong?
    I have pruned, fertilized and water due to drought. By the way, I live in Texas Gulf Coast.

    • Lynn Coulter says:

      Hi, Dorothy. If you just planted your trees this year, that could be the problem. Persimmons can take 3 years to start producing, and I found an article for you about starfruit (http://www.urbanharvest.org/advice/fruitgardening/fruitvarieties/starfruit.html) that says they can take 1-2 years. Pollination might also be the problem. Persimmons, for example, need a male and female tree to cross pollinate. If you’ve seen any signs of pests or diseases, I’d suggest contacting your local county extension service, to see what they think is going on. Good luck! Lynn, Home Depot Garden Club.

  9. Audrey Whiteside says:

    I would like to show my appreciation to Jeremy in the Peachtree City garden department.
    He picked up and loaded my 8 bags of mulch with a very curteous attitude, a smile on his face and would not allow me to give him a tip.
    Home Depot is very fortunate to have such a professional employee.

  10. P>S> I am in a wheelchair so doubly appreciated her efforts! Pat

  11. Took coupon to Cherry Hill store and there was nothing resembling the pictures. Two employees tried to find them and one disappeared with my coupon. The other one whose name was Kay said that I could pick out a similar item and receive the discount. She even stayed with me during checkout to make sure this was done properly. I am sure that this could not have been handled properly without Kay’s help. She is a credit to your store. Pat Templeton


  12. Amy says:

    what are the names of the flowers in the containers called

  13. Laurie says:

    If you are not a coffee drinker with spare coffee filters (remember these will break down too fast anyway) and you want to keep the hole(s) in your container pot from gushing planting mix, small pebbles and water following a watering, try cutting out a (circular) piece of old window screen. The screening is fairly fine and usually one layer does the job.

  14. Laurie says:

    @ Donna & Shaina, we used to live in a home that had a mature WISTERIA plant growing up alongside a half-slat covered patio post and grew or draped along it some. In order to “force” the bloom, take a shovel and stab gently around the roots, being careful not to injure the actual vine. It shocks it into blooming pretty quick. Not too many people know this. Don’t worry, wisteria is a very hardy plant. It survives well. We are an hour north of L.A., in high desert, and it goes dormant in winter (snowfall not uncommon) and gets Hot in summer. The plant thrives on warm/hot days. Ours did fine getting water from lawn sprinkler system. However, during spring growing season, I fertilized with 10-10-10 Liquid fertilizer. Deep water some on HOT days. Hummingbirds like to make nests in the woody supported branches. Beautiful plant. Good luck :)

    • Julie says:

      That’s awesome to know about wisteria! I just planted a baby plant & I know it will be a while before it does anything, but i love them!!!! I hope it will attach to the deck post & grow up it. thanks for that info!

  15. BILLY BOY says:

    I pied on a plant that was full of leaves and now it has lost all leaves- How can I bring it back? Its in a container and about 3 yrs old and has been coming back each spring. Actually pied on it several times- Always thought plants would strive on pea?

    • Betty says:

      Over the years I have found that it depends on what you have had to drink prior to peaing.
      Alcohol is a major killer of plants. Alcohol also contritubutes to stupidity, so my suggestion is to drink less alcohol, prior to peaing on plants & going on the internet.

      • Paulette says:

        that’s PEEING, not PIEing or PEAing, unless you mean you hit the plant with a pie or added green peas to the soil which seems like a much smarter thing. Men and dogs — that’s what they do — i.e. p*** on everything.

    • Kerry says:

      Billy Boy,

      Consider yourself “busted” because Home Depot has been notified of “your post” which has no business being on here….just as YOU have no business being on here. Go put your “inappropriate” posts on some other site and “grow-up!!!

    • kems says:

      That is the most disgusting thing I ever heard – you need to grow up.

  16. Theresa Miles says:

    I had a lovely wisteria in Cocoa for years until I moved. It was beautiful.

  17. Mia says:

    Watched the tree ring idea. Looks great, but only about 4″ of added soil is OK, or it will could kill the tree.

  18. diane says:

    Can anyone tell me if the containers should have holes at the bottom for drainage? Thanks!!

    • Hi Diane,
      I did use containers with holes, which I’ve heard is always important. Some people cover the holes with landscape fabric, so the soil doesn’t leak out all over the deck.
      Best of luck!

    • Winnie says:

      Hi Diane, you should always use pots with holes for drainage, if not you could get root rot. You should put a shard/piece of a broken pot over the hole so that when watering the soil won’t run out of the hole. The bigger the pot the more holes it should have. Good luck.

    • LeAnn says:

      Coffee Filters work great for covering the holes. They allow dranage but keep the soil from running out on your patio or deck.

    • Lynda says:

      You can also use coffee filters over the drain holes to keep the soil from coming out.

  19. Linda says:

    About the comment on Peppers. It is true that if you plant the peppers close together you will get the plants to grow taller and you will get a better yield.
    The plants will help each other to prop each other up and give them the straingth they need when the peppers are growing on the plant.
    I have done just that with my peppers.

  20. Terri says:

    Everyone is talking about putting cherry trees and peach trees and things of this type in containers. I have flowers and even evergreens in containers and they (perennials and evergreens) weather the winter temps very well. What do you do with the fruit trees in winter? Will they stand up to cold weather and still come back the next year?? Also, when I was a girl in Missouri, we had a wisteria that completely covered our back porch and the whole trellis every year. The lady that had lived there before us said that the wisteria was about 40 years old!! She told us that it had been planted there by her and was a cutting of a friend. I don’t know how long it may take for it to start flowering, but I know it will be there for a long while….

  21. bill says:

    A little FYI folks. Someone mentioned they had peppers above. Just so ya know, if you plant them so the plants touch each other when they get bigger, you will get more peppers per plant. Try it!

  22. Chris says:

    Totes make excellent containers. I grow my hot peppers in them and they do astounding. I get 6-8 plants in each tote, and they keep churning all summer into the fall. I like to use the clear ones so I can watch as the roots grow; it also makes it quite easy to keep up on watering. Plus hot peppers like to dry out every now and then.

  23. Jan Wentworth says:

    I am having a large Elevated Bed constructed in a SHADED corner of my patio and am not sure what is needed to create an nice visual effect. I thought impatiens would be good, but wanted something to cascade down the brick wall, and also wanted some taller plants to mix in and coordinate . Any suggestions??

    • bill says:

      Clamitis would look awsome. It does ok in the shade and it will drape down over your planter and patio. It has many colors to choose from.Hostas are great in the shade but they dont droup.

    • Ronnie Morsey says:

      Jan- Sweet potato vine will complement the impatiens beautifully.

  24. Arlene says:

    My side door needed a bit of color so I planted morning glory seeds and corn flowers seeds in containers. Well low and behold my chickens pecked through both containers and I have only one lonely morning glory growing. Good news it is doing well and intertwining on my trellis around the door. Looking good and blooming every day. Next time I’ll cover the pots with screen till the seeds germinate.

  25. timmyob says:

    what is the best way to plant a banana tree. i got it free with other plants i ordered and it doesnt have any instructions.

    • Melissa Stradinger says:

      I would add some hostas ( you can get all kinds and colors) and astibills. Those are some great perennials. Even some hydrangeas if u want a shrub. Those are my favorite! Then go in with your annuals, impatients for color. Just coordinate your collors and it should look great! I just found a new hosta for my collection blue angel! It’s a gray blue, really neat!

    • bill says:

      As your probably aware these trees are tropicals. They require A LOT of sun and are use to 90 degree temps. High maintance. Also keep away from drafts. If you have 6-8 hours of direct sun and its warm inside you have a 50-50 chance of this bananna tree growing. Plant it as you would any other tree. Your hole should be twice the size of the pot the trees in now. If I had to guess I would suggest digging maybe 12-18 inches deep.

  26. RichB in PS says:

    Planting bedding plants in containers as shown – appears fertilizer is added lower to the bottom of the container/pot. It appears the fertilizer would leach out the container/pot before the bedding plant roots would benefit – with caution could the fertilizer be added closer to the roots of bedding plants.

  27. Jo says:

    you said “Pour or scoop potting soil around the roots of your plant to the top of the pot but don’t pat down.”

    I always pad down because the instruction often says so to prevent air pockets. So this is not good for the plants/trees/flowering annuals/vegtables?

  28. Barbie says:

    Hi, I too love container gardening! Recently I saw a Home Depot commercial where they planted flowers in a large container with what looked like lattes and the flowers went in the openings. Then she hung it on the side of the house. Does anyone know how this is done or anywhere I can find the directions? I live in Alaska

  29. Donna says:

    I have a Japense Wisteria that I got when it was very small. It is now at least 5′ high and I still do not have any flowers. how long does it take for it to begin flowering?

    • Thanks for the question, Donna. I sought help in answering it from The How-To Community Forum and this is what our expert associate, Gardengail, had to say:

      Hello Donna,

      Two species of wisteria are typically grown in home gardens: Wisteria sinensis or Chinese wisteria, and Wisteria floribunda or Japanese wisteria. The Chinese wisteria is the most popular plant , it has a mature height of 25 feet or more. Chinese wisteria may bloom within three to four years after planting; however, it may take much longer.

      Wisteria needs 6 hours or more of sun each day minimum to bloom and moist, not soggy soil.

      Japanese wisteria grows to a height of 25 feet or more and has violet-blue, fragrant flowers. The biggest problem gardeners face when growing wisteria is that some plants have a longer than average non-blooming period and sometimes fail to bloom as expected. Start with grafted plants, not seedlings , do not feed with excess nitrogen, do not prune heavily in winter or spring.

      Hope this helps,


  30. elmeda says:

    my container garden has grown again. i have new plants- strawberries, peach tree, blueberry, rainbow plants, five in one fruit tree. it’s large in charge. i do have regular gardens but my container garden seems to continue to grow.

    • Jo says:

      Elmeda, where are you located? I planted Lemon in a container, it’s been two years, not any taller…. I am begining to think that containers stump the growth.

      i am shocked that the peach would grow in container. what is the trick?

  31. elmeda says:

    i turns out i will have a larger container garden than i thought. i grew tomatoes from seeds and the all sprouted. you know you figure some wont sprout, well they all did and i am going to plant them and see what happens. my neighbors may have the gift of tomatoes this summer……….(laughing). i know i cant eat all of them but it is fun growing things. i love it

  32. lizziejean says:

    wow, perfect timing for me to join the Club, I recently decided I wanted to start container gardening for my rental home, and here’s a great article on getting started!

  33. elmeda says:

    container garden is a lot of fun i have a large one. it is easy to maintain and alot of fun. i have lemon.peppers, tomato plants, orange tree cherry tree all in containers and they are flourishing. i cant wait for harvest. very excited and in love with gardening