planter filled with flowers and plants

How To Fill and Style Large Outdoor Planters

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Learn how to fill and style large outdoor planters to make your front door entrance striking and beautiful. Filling up a large planter doesn’t have to be labor intensive or expensive. By using items you may already have in your home, you can take up space inside your planters without spending an arm and a leg.

When we looked at our house, the very first thing I fell in love with was the front porch. With this in mind, I could not wait to transform this space to make it lovely and inviting. It’s an expansive area that wraps around the front of the house, with large windows and beautiful stonework. It has so much potential! 

One of the easiest ways to add charm and character to a home entrance is by incorporating plants. Just about every magazine cover worthy home usually has some gorgeous display of flowers adorning the front porch or entrance. I always find so much inspiration from the greenery and blooms featured on porches and patios of southern homes. My favorite way to make a statement with plants is to place them in large planters, anchoring the door on each side. This adds a bit of drama, balance, and beauty by showcasing the front door.

It may seem challenging and expensive to fill and style large outdoor planters, but it doesn’t have to be. As a matter of fact, the best way to tackle this project is to get creative and make the most of items you may already have in and around your house.

How to Fill Large Outdoor Planters

All you really need to do is fill the space between the bottom of the planter about half way from the top. Depending on the size of your planter, there are a number of household items you can use. The planters I chose are sixteen inches in height. Therefore I needed to fill about eight inches of space inside my planter pot. Empty glass bottles from my DIY vanilla extract recipe happened to be the perfect size for the job. I simply placed two of the bottles at the bottom of the pot.

Any object that leaves some room for water to drain out of the bottom will work. Plastic water jugs, glass bottles, pieces of scrap wood, or empty aluminum cans are all excellent options that you would otherwise toss in the recycle bin or trash. The goal is to take up space without blocking the drain hole of the planter. 

Next, fill the remaining space with dirt. I chose to save my topsoil for the very top of the planter, and added some dirt we had dug up from our garden raised bed endeavor. Again, my priority for this project was making the most of what I already had for free.

Now on to the fun part; planting lovely flowers.

How to Style with Flowers and Plants

The best way to style large planters is to apply the thrill, fill, and spill method. With this in mind, the objective here is to combine plants that give height, spread out, and trail over the edge of the pot. These three elements work together to ensure your planters have a beautiful and interesting presentation.

Tips for Filling and Styling

  • It’s smart to choose plants that are equipped to handle their environment. For example, if your front porch faces west, then you can expect to get sun in the afternoon and evening depending on the time of year. If it faces towards the north, morning sun will likely hit your plants. Furthermore, if it’s a patio that is fairly protected from sun exposure, you will need to select plants that will flourish in the shade. Otherwise, you’ll be dragging them out to get some sun often, so choose wisely. 
  • Ensure that the planter or pot you chose has holes at the bottom to accommodate drainage. If not, you can usually drill some fairly easily. Consequently, plants will become water logged if there is no where for the water to filter out.
  • Consider selecting light material for the bottom of the planter, in order to avoid adding more weight.

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