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Pictures of container gardens: Beautiful ideas for your outdoor space

Updated: May 30, 2023

As the signs of winter are slowly melting away (I hope!), I've started cutting back my perennials and getting the garden ready for spring.

It also means that it's time to start sprucing up my garden containers that have sat empty all winter. While some of my pots and containers have perennials ready to bloom in a few months, others are empty and waiting to be filled with spring and summer blooms.

Here's a quick look at what's growing in my containers this summer.

Before I start planning, I took a trip through the best pictures of container gardens to get some inspiration for the upcoming growing season. And what good is inspiration if it's not shared? So that's what I'm doing here... inviting you to see some of the best, most unique container gardening ideas.

From classic hanging baskets to a few crazy ideas, I hope you'll find these photos just as inspirational as I have.

Flowers in a bathtub

This idea might not be for everyone, but it sure is fun to look at. If you want to give it a try, go for an antique bathtub with claw feet. Keep your taller flowering plants in the middle and go smaller from there — just like you would when you're planting in your borders. I suggest adding hanging fuchsias, petunias or ivy near the edge for extra wow.

Broken clay pots

Terra cotta pots are gorgeous, but they're also easy to break. For this container garden idea, take your old, broken clay pots and place them in your flower beds and borders. They'll look like they've always been there and your garden will instantly have a new focal point. Use a bright flower color — like yellow or pink — to contrast with the natural color of the pot.

Low-growing perennials in a basket

For this container garden idea, take any old basket that you have — from wicker to vine baskets — and plant it full with a low-growing perennial like the purple daisies in the photo above. The natural texture of the basket will look gorgeous next to the vibrant color of the flowers. Don't be afraid to use baskets of all sizes and arrange them close together on your balcony, patio or terrace.

Birdhouses that double as flower pots

This idea is just too cute. Take old birdhouses and either cut a hole in the roof or remove it completely. From there, you can either place plants like tulips and crocus in smaller pots inside the birdhouse. Or, drill several drainage holes in the floor of the house and plant directly in the container. I prefer natural wood, but they do look cute when painted a bright, vibrant color.

Old soccer balls with succulents and flowers

I work at a kindergarten and this idea will be perfect for the kids to try! To do it yourself, take old footballs and soccer balls and drill or cut a drainage hole in the bottom. I suggest only using a thick rubber or plastic ball — anything too flimsy won't stand up nicely. From there, plant your flowers and you're set. This would also make a great gift for Father's Day in June... something that your children could make and be proud to give their dad, granddad or that special neighbor who always has time for a high five.

Vintage wash basins filled with flowers

There's a reason why this container garden look remains so popular — it's beautiful to look at. The vintage charm of the metal wash basins and buckets adds a great texture to delicate plants like lavender and snapdragons. Just like with all containers, don't be afraid to use several different sizes and arrange them close together for an always-been-here vibe.

Planting in an old chair

This idea is 100% on my container garden wish list for this season. You'll need to find an old wooden chair and remove the seat. You can either drop a large pot or basket in the hole or, as in the photo above, create one out of vines. Go with low-growing perennials and you won't have to change them out year after year.

Planting flowers in an old fountain

If we had the space here at our house, I would love to try this container garden idea. if you have the room, check antique shops for an old water fountain and fill it with mosses, succulents, or even small perennials. You can also plant hanging vines in the top and let them cascade down like water.

Hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are one of my favorite containers to plant in. If you're new to planting in a hanging basket, think in levels. Start with taller plants in the center of the basket and plant smaller ones as you move to the edge. Hanging baskets are placed quite high, so to enjoy it more, plant hanging plants along the edge — something like hanging fuchsia, ivy or petunias will look great.

Balcony planters

I chose this picture for inspiration because of the way they used balcony boxes... they put them on a fence! It's pretty clever. And it's a great way to bring life to garden fences that are usually (be honest) quite dull.

Window boxes

We have 4 of these window boxes in front of our house and every year we get the most compliments. To plant your own window box, use taller plants and flowers in the middle and lower plants on the side. Stick with one color (max two) and make sure that whatever color scheme you choose matches your house. In the photo above, they've used gorgeous purple violas and petunias combined with green foliage for a look that can't be beat.

Coffee cup planters

This is another great container gift idea! To do it, you'll need to drill a hole in the bottom of the cup. Or add a layer of gravel in the bottom to help with drainage. Plant something small like a crocus here in the spring and give it to someone special to plant on in their garden.

Bench filled with flowering plants

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With small lupines, snapdragons and green ivy, this bench is just as inviting now as when it was actually used for sitting. To do it yourself, remove the seat part of the bench and add a level under it to hold your pots. From there, mix and match different containers and pots for an eclectic mix of colors and textures.

Watering can loaded with blooms

What to do with your old watering can when it finally can't be used anymore? Plant it with your favorite perennials! Notice how this gardener added foliage with a silver tint to match the watering can — super smart.

Mix and match pots on different levels

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Claus Dalby here in Denmark is the undisputed King of Container Gardening. I love how he uses different heights to maximize the beauty of his spring blooms. And even though every container and flower pot is a different texture, they are all made from similar materials, giving a cohesive and well-designed look to his garden. (And to yours!)

Old tires with flowering plants

I'll be honest, using an old tire in my garden probably won't happen this year, but it is a cute idea and worth sharing. Plus, it's a great way to keep old tires out of the landfill.

Wooden shelves with different-sized pots

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Photo from

What I love about this container garden idea is how easy it is to duplicate. This gardener took old wooden crates, stacked them up and added cute little containers with different plants. So simple. So effective.

Old car maxed out with plants

I know. I know. This container garden idea is extreme. I did tell you that I'd share a few unique and wacky ideas. This is one of them. What I do like about it is how they made it a real focal point and planted it to the max with large plants. If you do this, please let me know! I'd love to see it.

Tiny plants in old shoes

We do this every year with the children at the kindergarten. You can either plant in your own old boots and shoes, or, as we do, ask kids to bring their old rain boots and wellies. They love seeing their old shoes hanging on fence posts and tabletops throughout our garden. If you use a thick-soled shoe, be sure to drill a hole in the bottom for drainage.

Wooden barrels with flowers

The texture of the old wood is what makes these containers so desirable. Just like with hanging baskets and other planters, be sure to grow taller plants in the center and keep smaller ones for the edges.

Bicycle baskets with flowers

Here's one that screams French countryside to me. Instead of tossing out your old bike, transform it into a container garden that'll steer your next garden party conversation. Keep the planting simple with one color scheme and go with a plant that you can deadhead and keep blooming all summer.


Welcome to my garden

Hi! I'm Lars (Denmark).

Thanks for joining me as I share tips and inspiration for perennial gardening. 

Click below to see what's growing in my garden right now? 

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