Container-Garden Updates to Make for a Standout Design in All Four Seasons

Fine Gardening – Issue 211

Everyone loves a beautiful container garden, but they don’t love having to scrap the whole planting after a couple of months to install a new one. What if a container design could last the whole year with just some simple updates?

Such a dream is possible if you start with a woody plant as an anchor. This tree or shrub gives each pot foundational structure throughout the year. With each change of season, herbaceous perennials and annuals—and even some smaller woodies—are added, which contribute pops of color, form, and texture.

Keep in mind that light and watering requirements need to be compatible for the plants in each container. Some plants with multiseason ­appeal may remain, while others are discarded or planted out in the garden. Changing out ephemeral elements that look tired or no longer add seasonal sparkle keeps the containers fresh.

This approach offers endless possibilities of different combinations. Whether used for screening, a pop of color on a porch, or filling an awkward niche, these four-season container designs continue to be strong regardless of the changing seasons.

Learn more:

Growing Woody Plants in Containers

Plants for Year-Round Containers



Caitilin Driscoll has been a horticulturist for twenty-five years. She’s currently a landscape designer and the perennial manager for Shakespeare’s Garden, a nursery in Brookfield, Connecticut. Caitilin designed these containers with Kasia Fancher, co-owner of Shakespeare’s Garden.

Photos: Diana Koehm