Choosing The Right Container For Your Garden

Containers allow you to place a little garden anywhere you like. However, when you're faced with a sea of pottery options, you want to be sure to choose the container that will aesthetically enhance your space as well as allow your plants to thrive. If you already know what you need, walking through Swansons' pottery courtyard can be magical. It's inspirational to see an abundance of options in front of you that you can envision in your own living spaces. It can also be a little overwhelming if you don't already know what you're looking for!

We love to help our customers design and grow their gardens. We're always happy to help you select your container in person, but here are a few things to think about if you want to get a jump start on choosing the right container for your garden! 


Considering where the container is going to be located will help you envision the proper size, shape, and style of pot that will best compliment your space. Swansons offers many materials, glazes/colors, and sizes to look at.

Below are a few variables to note. Consider how these elements play with the garden environment and the plants you want to grow. 

  • Container material

  • Container color

  • Container size

  • Container shape

  • Container style

  • Number of containers

There's a lot to look at when you consider the bigger picture. Consider how the container aesthetics will enhance the area around it. You will likely make different pottery choices for different locations. Will the container be a decorative addition to a patio, the grounding focal point in a garden, or accenting a front door? These environmental variables may change the material, color, or style that you choose for each scenario.

Consider whether you would like a "family" of containers, a single pot with multiple plants, or a mono-pot. A "family" arrangement has multiple pots of different sizes and shapes, but usually the same color and glaze. A single pot can hold multiple plants together or, in the case of a mono-pot, have one plant per pot, offering a more modern look or even a formal feel.

A note about drainage

All of Swansons’ outdoor pottery contains drainage holes. The healthiest root development and plant growth is encouraged by having proper drainage. The soil must be able to drain excess water so the roots can “breathe” in between their waterings. We recommend using only potting soil inside garden pots. Edna's Best Potting Soil and G&B Organics Potting Soil are two of our favorites. 


Plant & Pot Combos

Millions of possibilities come to mind when you consider what you want to plant in your container. Some options might be better suited for your garden goals than others, but after thinking about what would work in your space, you've likely come across a few ideas to guide you. Are you looking for height, screening, borders, or something flashy?

Keep in mind that your container does need to have enough space for you plant's root system to be healthy. Appropriate container size varies depending on the type of plant and how many plants you want. You might want to think ahead and purchase a pot that allows for a year or two's worth of room for root growth. Ask any Swansons' customer service expert for help if you're unsure of proper sizing and we'll gladly offer our advice. 

Now, envision the options! Except for size, there are very few rights or wrongs when choosing the ideal container, so let's have fun thinking about the possibilities.

Quick Tip: For an easy, instantaneous summer container, plant (or place) an annual mixed flower hanging basket directly into a standing pot. We've included two examples below, labeled "mixed annual flowers".

Here's a selection with various plants and pots to get you started. We chose five different pots and imagined them with multiple plant choices.* We decided to go with mono-pots to keep things simple and streamlined. As you can see below, the same pot can look completely different depending on the plant you choose, and the choice of container can also change the look of a plant!


Looking for a few more ideas? Learn about creating containers for different light conditions in our blog posts Container Design for Sun: Simple Style Solutions and Container Design for Shade.

Need more help creating your containers? Ask us for advice on social media with #heyswansons. We can also create custom containers for you! Learn more about the offerings of our Container Design department. 


*Plants are labeled with their most commonly used names. For a detailed list of the specific varieties pictured, click here