How to Brighten up your Garden with an Outdoor Planter this Spring

Spring is on its way, and with new flowers already bringing colour back to the landscape after the greys of Winter, you may well be turning your attention to the garden.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to inject a bit of Spring colour and greenery into your outdoor space, what about adding a wooden planter box (or two)?

Wooden planters look great in any garden. They come in a range of sizes and styles, are straightforward to plant, easy to care for and require little maintenance. So what are you waiting for? 

Here’s our beginner’s guide to creating wooden planter boxes with style!


What you will need:

  • A good quality planter (preferably made from pressure treated decking or timber boards)
  • Potting soil
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Seeds, seedlings, spring bulbs or potted plants & flowers
  • Broken pottery or stones
  • A trowel
  • Gardening gloves (optional)
  • Plant feeders (optional)


Things to consider 

Outdoor planters are brilliant for adding colour and life into any corner of your garden, conservatory, porch, decking, greenhouse, driveway, steps, windowsills, balcony... (the list is endless!) 

TIP: Make sure that wherever you decide to place the planter is level and allows the planter to drain adequately to prevent water-logged soil.

Wherever where you are planning to locate your planter, before going shopping think about how much shade or sunlight it will get, what type of planter will best fit the space (small, large, square, long, tall, tiered, raised, window box, or hanging planter), and whether you are going to buy one or build it yourself.

Wooden garden planters come in a range of ready-made styles and sizes, or you could get some timber decking boards and make it your next little DIY project.

When buying your seeds or plants, as well as colour and structure, think about where the planter will be located and select varieties suited to the right light/shade conditions. For example, not all plants like full sun. Plant labels usually indicate lighting requirements. Also choose plants with similar watering needs and that will be happy growing alongside one another in the same type of soil.

When designing your planter scheme, a fail-safe formula is to mix a ‘thriller’ (a taller, upright or structural variety), a ‘filler’ (a nice bold one to go in between), and a ‘spiller’ (that will trail down the sides of the planter).

Some popular Spring planter varieties include:

  • Spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, lily of the valley, snowdrops, crocus, snake’s head fritillary, winter aconite, bluebell, puschkinia, and allium
  • Pansies
  • Violas
  • Daisies
  • Cineraria
  • Heuchera
  • Bergenia
  • Saxifraga
  • Primulas
  • Peony
  • Acer
  • Bleeding heart
  • Heather
  • Spiral sorrel
  • Herbs like sage, parsley, oregano, rosemary, thyme, mint lemon balm and chives
  • Spring greens like kale, spinach and chard

 

 

10 steps for your perfect planter:

  • We recommend starting with your wooden planter in situ, as they can be quite heavy to move once filled with soil and plants. Make sure the planter is sitting on something to elevate it slightly off the ground, especially if placing it on wooden decking, to allow for adequate drainage and prevent rotting.

TIP: To prolong the life of your planter, you can line the entire planter with a sheet of plastic (make sure you poke several holes to line up with the holes already in the bottom of the planter so that your soil can still drain)


  • Place broken terracotta pots, other broken pottery, stones or pieces of polystyrene in the bottom of the planter to aid drainage and prevent water logging.

  • Fill the planter to about halfway up with your planting soil.

  • If you are using plants or seedlings, you can position them in the planter in their pots first to help you decide on your arrangement. We suggest either starting with the tallest plant in the centre and then working outwards, with the trailing plants around the edges - or creating a front-facing design with the larger plants in the back and the smaller ones in front. 

 TIP: Remember to leave some breathing space between the plants to allow for them to fill out. An overcrowded planter can result in unhealthy plants.


  • Follow the guidelines on the seed packet or plant label to make sure you plant each one at the right depth and interval. If you’re not sure about a particular plant, don’t be afraid to ask Google or look it up in your gardening book – planning & preparation is key when it comes to planting (and minimal maintenance in the future).

  • If you are using plants in your planter, gently remove them from their pots, disturbing the roots as little as possible. Place each one on top of the planter soil, making sure their potted soil level sits about 2-3 inches below the rim of the planter (add or remove soil to elevate or lower as required).

  • Once all your plants are in position, fill in around them with soil and gently press it down with your fingers (not too firmly or you’ll break the plants). Make sure there are no roots showing.

 

  • Add a 1-inch top layer of compost to finish the planter and help retain moisture in the soil.

TIP: Make sure the overall soil/compost level stays about 1-2 inches below the rim of the planter. Otherwise, water will spill out instead of soaking in.


  • Water your new planter thoroughly.

  •  Take a step back and admire your work!


Caring for your planter

  • Water your planter every 1-3 days, or whenever the soil is dry. 
  • If you think your plants could do with a boost, feed them with an all-purpose plant food every so often, according to the package guidelines, or buy a pack of automatic drip-feeders suitable for pot grown plants. 
  • Make it a habit to deadhead (remove the heads of any dead flowers) whenever you water your planter to encourage the rest to bloom.


To view our full range of wooden garden planters, click here. For more information, feel free to give us a call on: 01409 231763 or email sales@ruby-group.co.uk