Sharon is a human resources manager with a passion for reading and research and hanging out in her own backyard.
Garden urns or planters create very beautiful outdoor décor all year round. Although the planter is most popular during the spring and summer, they can also be a source of winter time greenery.
During those dreary winter months when the sun doesn't shine as long as we would like, it's great to have an uplifting planter stationed on the doorstep to greet you. It's equally as nice to have a vibrant colourful display during the warmer weather.
It is relatively simple to put together an attractive combination of flowers and/or greenery. You don't have to have a proverbial green thumb! Scroll down for some inspiration to get planting no matter what time of year it happens to be in your neck of the woods.
Large Outside Planters
As a Canadian, I experience cold winters. At times, when the sun isn't shining, it can be quite dreary. Decorating for winter is very popular in my neighbourhood, and having a large planter full of evergreen boughs on your porch is common. This year I don't have one, but I still enjoy admiring a beautiful winter urn, even if it is not on my own porch.
Springtime is a different story. It's the time to plan for flowers and plant displays for the seasons through to fall. There are more combinations than I can possibly name here. And with so many options to choose from, you can create a unique planter of your own design. Just choose your favorite colors and surround them with greenery. However, first you need a decorative urn or planter to house your design.
Once you have chosen this planter, the sky is the limit on what you can do to pretty it up. These urns are good all year round and can be decorated to suit every season. Let's review some tips for how we can brighten up the winter, spring, summer or fall seasons with a large planter pot.
Flowers in a Barrel Planter
Nothing is easier than a barrel full of your favorite flowers. Choose a combination of colors and just fill up the barrel!
Barrels are very durable and will last a lifetime. I have used a barrel for many years, and it will wear with age but still look very nice and natural. Are you looking for a rustic look or chic country? Then the barrel is for you. They are relatively inexpensive too.
Tall Planter With Cascading Plants
Try a combination of upright plants combined with plants that drape over the side of a large planter. A good example is the use of decorative grass as the base plant, in the middle of the pot. You can then add your favorite color of annuals for a punch of color, then add some annuals with with a draping habit for the sides.
You can use a simple and inexpensive clay pot for this arrangement. These are very easy to maintain and will last year in and year out. It's also simple to change up the plants if you are using annuals. I have many clay pots—they are popular and inexpensive and very easy to find in the garden centers.
Ornamental Grasses as Accents
Ornamental grasses are wonderful accents for urns and planters. Grasses can create that drama that makes a planter stand out. Combine these grasses with the attractive and vibrant leaves of the coleus, and you have a stunning focal point.
This planter does not contain any flowering plants, but just look at how bright and gorgeous it is.
You can do so much with different plants that have colorful foliage, and many of these types of plants are perennial, so they will return year after year.
Purple Flowers and Foliage
Do you like the colour purple? A purple theme of not just flowers but purple foliage too can work wonders. Break up the color with some greenery, and you have a nice contrast. This one is set in a white concrete-type planter. The white stone complements the soft purple of the foliage and provides additional contrast.
Stones, Succulents and Cacti
Do you live in a warm climate? This might be the unique planter for you. Succulents and cacti come in many shapes, sizes and colours. You can arrange them in a planter pot of soil, and then cover the top with some decorative stones.
In the example above, there are smooth river stones of various shades of grey that create a nice contrast to the greens of the succulents.
This design is sparse on the cacti and succulents and heavy on the stone accent. You could go the opposite way with many more succulents of various shapes that show less of the stones.
Even if you live in a colder climate, you can bring this pot in for the winter as decor for your foyer.
Window Box-Style Planter
The traditional window box can also make a wonderful planter on the ground if it is large enough. This one combines draping and upright plant habits. The differences in shape and color make up for the lack of punch that you get with brightly colored flowers.
The design takes advantage of the "Dusty Miller," a very attractive grey white foliage plant with distinctively shaped leaves that resemble coral in my mind.
Winter Designs For Outdoor Planters
Why Decorate for Winter?
Winter can be cold and drab, and sometimes the working folk leave home in the dark and return home . . . in the dark. Arghh. So just imagine a beautiful pot of evergreen on your porch to welcome you home. Yes, nice. Ahhh.
Many people buy their winter urns and they can be quite pricey. You can create your own very easily with free stuff though. Yes, free stuff lying on the ground. I never understood why people paid for branches at the store when you can go into the woods and pick up branches and pine cones for nothing!
The one thing you will need to buy and should invest in is an urn or planter. A nice sturdy outdoor planter will last years and years, and you can use it throughout all the seasons—not just winter. So invest in a fancy urn and make winter décor at your front door a tradition!
How to Decorate a Winter Urn
Gathering Your Display Items
Flowers are definitely out unless you like the artificial variety. But somehow they just don't look quite natural in the the dead of winter, so your best bet is evergreen and lots of branches.
You don't need to spend a lot of money here—just head out to your backyard. Pick stuff up off the ground. Yes! Pinecones, branches, anything you see. Snip some branches off your evergreens; yes, they could use a little pruning don't you think? Now that you can see the branches of your bushes, give them a trim.
I have a very large, overgrown bush in my yard that sure could use some thinning out, and what better time when you can actually see those branches! If you don't have a yard full of trees or brush, then head to the park. I am sure you know of a wooded area somewhere that can serve as your outdoor décor shop. I mean even New York City has Central Park, right?
Creating Your Base
Now that you have gathered all these nature items from the great outdoors—what to do? In order to get them into some kind of neat arrangement, you will need something strong to stick them in. Your urn has a great big hole in it that needs to be filled. Soil is fine. but you can also fill this centre with sand or stuff it with floral foam! Alright, now we're talking.
Creating Your Display
Take your evergreen boughs and fan them around the edges of your urn. Next, take the branches and stick them upright into the centre. Use your imagination! Keep filling it till it looks the way you like.
You can attach pinecones with floral wire if you happen to have that stuff on hand. Yes, well maybe you don't, but you may have some of those twist ties. If they are not the right colour, just peel it off to expose the wire underneath.
You can also use one of those glue guns and just a dab of hot glue. Worse comes to worst, use some string or thread and tie them on. Just make sure you use a colour that is not obvious and blends in well.
Now to dress it up for winter, you may want to add some simple Christmas ball ornaments—just a few in a neutral silver or gold colour so it doesn't look too "Christmas-y" when the holiday is over. Try some ribbon in a winter blue. String some white lights around your entire arrangement or just around the base where you started with the evergreen branches.
Making It Fancy!
Maybe you want to get really fancy—you can try spray painting your branches. White looks nice, or maybe even silver, how about deep red. Yes!
Just keep arranging and re-arranging until you find a look that speaks to you and makes everyone else suck in their breath and try to copy it. Good luck!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Sharon Bellissimo
Do You Have a Decorative Urn Outside Your Door?
anonymous on July 04, 2013:
We don't have one, but it's an interesting idea.
Rose Jones on May 19, 2013:
I love to garden, although more in theory than reality. :) I am moving more and more towards container gardening and these decorative urns are a lovely addition to any home. Pinned to my garden board.
Melanie Wilcox from Pennsylvania, USA on March 04, 2013:
I love urns! I have a large outdoor style one inside my house -ehehe (It was from my shop :) )
TamsinY on January 08, 2013:
Amazing the impact something so simple can make to a space. Gorgeous!
Joan Haines on January 06, 2013:
These are super versatile! You don't necessarily have to have a plant planted in it. You can just put cut greens and decorations in temporarily, and these look quite elegant.