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How to create an instant container garden with minimum upkeep

Many of us do not think about our garden, terrace or patio area until the sunshine arrives. We then want to create an instant garden almost panic-buying and head off to the garden centre without a clear plan about what we should and want to buy. This can be a costly experience which doesn't always achieve the results that you are after.

If this is the case with you then you probably also do not want to be spending your weekends and evenings watering, pruning and weeding, and would much rather be relaxing and enjoying your garden, terrace or patio rather than being a slave to it.

Here are some basic rules to follow that can help you achieve an "instant garden" that requires very little maintainnce, will look good all year round and will last for years without needing to be replaced.

Rule number 1 is to have a theme. A mish-mash of different types of plants will look messy whereas a comination of the same style of plants will look stylish and sophisticated.

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Rule 2 is to take in to consideration the exposure of your garden. Is it north, west, east or south facing? Will the plants be in the shade for most of the day in which case ensure you choose shade tolerant plants such as Hostas.

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Will the pots be in full sun? If so choose plants that can survive dry conditions such as Ucca's.

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If you have a north facing garden consider putting pots against a wall as this will reflect light back as well as providing warmth. For a low maintence container garden you want to fill your pots with shrubs not annual or even perinnial plants which will need lots of attention and either last only one year or die back in the autumn/winter.

Rule 3 is choosing the right size pot or planter. Generally the size of the plant should be no more than 1.5 times the width of the pot and twice the height. All pots need to have drainage holes at the botttom, then have a layer of gravel and stones covered with potting soil (which helps to retain moisture) and possibly decorative stones on top which stops the soil from drying out.

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Also it is very important to make shure the pot is big enough, the roots of the plant need somewhere to go - tall tapered pots not only look great but are perfect for giving space for roots to grow down.

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My final tip is for a truly stunning garden that is very easy to maintain you can't go far wrong with topiary. Planters looked fantastic with all styles of topiary, buxus and bay being the most popular.Although the initial cost of topiary plants is not inexpensive they will last for years, look good all year round, are extremely hardy and work out as cost efficient in the long run versus buying new plants every year.

Here are some great examples of container gardens. At Kizme we specialise in frost-resistant terrazo planters in a wide range of styles, shapes and sizes. Click on the link to see more. 

Pots and Planters

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