12 Fresh Fall Container Designs for Your Home and Garden


1. Fan Show

In this simple yet sophisticated fall container by Barrett Lawn Care, preserved fan-shape leaves form a bronze backdrop for coppery bedding mums (Chrysanthemum sp.), gold pansies (Viola sp.) and chartreuse Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra). Golden bamboo stakes add height to the arrangement and visually contrast the mounded, half-moon plant forms in the container.

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Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Full sun

2. Color and Texture Feast

With feathery Red Rooster sedge (Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’), chunky ornamental peppers, curly ‘Peacock Red’ kale (Brassica ‘Peacock Red’), ruffled ‘Marmalade’ coral bells (Heuchera ‘Marmalade’), glossy croton (Codiaeum variegatum) and graceful, sunset-hued coneflowers (Echinacea sp.), this entry arrangement is bursting with color and texture. As a bonus feature, designer Stephanie Town of Garden Stories stuck a few stems of preserved lotus pods into the center of the arrangement.

“I think putting anything unusual in a container gives it drama,” Town says. A few of her favorite dried ingredients for fall containers include seedpods, pumpkins, gourds, curly willow, birch branches, branches with dried leaves cut from trees, and reindeer moss, for hiding any spots with bare soil. Another tip from Town: “Tuck a bundle of large cinnamon sticks at the back of a container for a nice aroma.”

Water requirement: Moderate (hand-water two to three times per week)
Light requirement: Partial to full sun; the container here sits on a front step under a partial overhang

3. Sunny Window Boxes

A combination of cream and yellow bedding mums (Chrysanthemum sp.), variegated sedge (Carex sp.) and maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa) form a welcoming design for this home’s window boxes. “If you use mums in your pots, try to buy them when the buds are just cracking,” says landscape designer Amy Wilbur of Sweet Dirt Designs. “This will give you the longest life out of a short-lived plant.”

Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Full sun

4. Dark Beauty

Proving that you don’t need to rely on reds and golds to have an arrangement feel like fall, these seductive dark designs by Kathy Molnar Simpson of KMS Gardens and Design stand out with their cool color palette. “Interesting and unusual color combos will still read fall as long as the majority of elements are fall materials,” Simpson says. “The colors in the majority of elements should have some relationship to each other. I think complementary combinations, rather than opposite color combos, tend to work better in fall.”

Here she used a range of purples, blues and lavenders, including Vertigo purple fountain grass (Pennisetumpurpureum), ‘Ruby Perfection’ ornamental cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata ‘Ruby Perfection’), lavender-pink mums (Chrysanthemum sp.), purple-stemmed Swedish ivy (Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’), ‘Carnival Plum Crazy’ coral bells (Heuchera ‘Carnival Plum Crazy’), blue plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides), mizuna and green artificial berry stems.

Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Partial shade

5. Drama With Grasses

Adding one standout ingredient — sometimes called a “thriller” in container design — can really take a potted garden to the next level. Here, landscape designer Tina M. Yotka used feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’) to create a fireworks-like display for a doorstep container. Pairing the pale, exuberant ornamental grass with burgundy coleus, red stonecrop (Sedum sp.) and sunset-colored coneflowers (Echinacea sp.) makes for a stunning container design.

Tip: Keep perennials like coneflower in their nursery containers to allow for easy planting in garden beds at the end of fall.

Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Full sun

6. Fall Stripes

Nearly all components of this container garden design by Amy Wilbur of Sweet Dirt Designs have a hint of a striped pattern, whether it’s the yellow veins of the croton (Codiaeum variegatum) leaves, the variegated border of the ‘Ascot Rainbow’ spurge (Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’) foliage, the deep red veins of the edible sorrel or the ridges of the pumpkin perched on the corner. Both the subtle pattern coordination and crisp color palette of yellow, gold and green make for a pleasing doorstep combination.

Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Full sun

7. Creative Underplanting

Landscape designer Hege Lie Watkins of Simply Garden Design describes this fall container, which sits on her patio in Kirkland, Washington, as a “happy mishmash.” Watkins used the bare soil at the base of the potted Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’) as an opportunity to tuck in leftover plants.

The result is a planting that complements the red foliage of the maple, with a cascade of silvery-blue Feelin’ Blue’ deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara ‘Feelin’ Blue’), two types of small-leaved hebe (Hebe pimeleoides ‘Quicksilver’ and H. pimeleoides ‘Glauca’), ‘Mahogany’ coral bells (Heuchera ‘Mahogany’), golden sweet flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’), evergreen David viburnum (Viburnum davidii),deep red coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Redhead’) and orange pansy (Viola sp.).

Water requirement: Moderate (the designer hand-waters this container with a full 2-gallon watering can once or twice a week)
Light requirement:Full sun

8. Sticks on Fire

In desert and low-water gardens, look to hot-colored cactuses and succulents and drought-tolerant ornamental grasses to add fall flair to container gardens. Here, designer Glenna Partridge used milk bush (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’) in a neutral container to act as a bright punctuation mark along a garden pathway.

Tip: Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’ develops a brighter, deeper color with full sun exposure. It, along with other frost-tender succulents, should be given protection in winter or brought indoors. Be aware that euphorbias have a milky sap that is irritating to the skin and eyes and is toxic if ingested.

Water requirement: Low
Light requirement: Partial to full sun

9. All Drama

This eye-catching fall container by designer Stephanie Town of Garden Stories packs a major punch in a covered entryway. The design is all about dramatic contrast. Bright chartreuse Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) sits alongside purple heart (Tradescantiapallida ‘Purpurea’) and a hot-orange turban squash.

A tall purple cordyline at the back of the container adds vertical interest above pale purple aster (Symphyotrichum sp.) and ornamental pepper. Clusters of artificial leaves provide more pops of color. “A lot of my clients like an added touch of Halloween,” Town says, “so I’ll add a wooden cutout of a cat, skeleton or a raven.”

Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Partial sun

10. Balcony With Flair

Ornamental peppers, Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata ‘Colorama’), preserved milo berries, bronze mums (Chrysanthemum sp.) and flowering kalanchoes adorn this Chicago balcony. “Artificial materials can be a great accent,” says Kathy Molnar Simpson, the designer of the planters; she added the milo berries for a stronger hit of red.

Water requirement: Moderate to high; the coconut coir-lined planters here dry out quickly and receive 10 minutes of daily drip irrigation
Light requirement: Full sun

11. Color Coordination

A potted conifer paired with wiry ornamental grasses looks handsome in a bronze pot at a contemporary-style entrance in the Pacific Northwest. Landscape designer Tish Treherne of Bliss Garden Design selected both the glazed ceramic container and the complementary blue-green and bronze plantings to tie in with the rich wood tones of the home’s front door.

Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Partial sun

If you’re looking for ways to spruce up your entryway or patio for fall, look no further than this fresh batch of container gardens — with tips from the designers on how to arrange your own. These rich designs combine fall favorites with unexpected ingredients, including preserved lotus pods, orange succulents and jewel-like berries, for all-around eye-catching arrangements. Tell us, could you see one of these designs on your doorstep for the season?

This content was originally published here.

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