Modern landscape designs frequently feature raised or modular planters as a way to add interest and solve certain design challenges. Outdoor decks, terraces, porches, balconies, and even standard planting beds can use planters to enhance the look and feel of those outdoor spaces. They don’t have to be an afterthought, either. Planters come in many styles to suit a variety of applications and serve specific purposes. With so many finishes and colors available, they can be a strong feature in a modern design.
Some sites call for a privacy screen, and containers are an excellent way to add height to a planting for this purpose. In a 24”-36” tall planter, bamboo plants can provide an immediate and attractive screen over seven feet high. On a deck or patio where screening is needed, raised planters can hold greenery and colorful plantings, buffering the socializing spaces while making them more intimate.
Bring the Plants Close
In other instances, planters can hold seasonal cut flowers, or edibles like herbs and vegetables, keeping them conveniently close to an entrance for easy access. Containers are a great way to fit plantings in smaller deck or patio spaces, and raise the edibles off of ground level for an easier reach. Raised planters can also separate planting beds to create individual zones for greater flexibility. One container can hold rich organic soil for cut flowers while another holds more free-draining soil for a selection of succulents.
There is a broad network of vendors that provide a wide choice of materials and finishes, and even customized shapes. Materials vary from fiberglass, to powder-coated steel, aluminum, Cor-Ten steel, wood, concrete, or even stone. These options allow designs in any style and according to any individual taste.
One of our favorite recent projects featured custom planters powder-coated in bright orange, with built-in ipé benches around a natural gas-fueled fire table. The planters grab attention and are a big part of the look and feel of the design. These beauties were fabricated from our design to specifications that will make them last. We also built the attached benches by hand to custom fit the planters in this particular space. As a major feature in the overall design, they aren’t there just to hold some plants.
Another popular material that we like for planters is weathering steel, often referred to by the trade name Cor-Ten. This steel weathers over time to take on a patina that gives each piece a unique finish. The patina serves to protect this long-lasting alloy from further corrosion. While this material is great for planters, we also have installed some beautiful custom fire pits fabricated from it.
A lighter weight material like fiberglass is more suitable than steel for pieces that will sit on decks or roofs, where weight is an issue. Fiberglass containers are also easier to move, which provides future flexibility in a design. This option is very attractive for ease of installation, availability in common standard sizes, and the variety of color options.
Planters can be enhanced by adding irrigation, trellises, or lighting to give them more individuality and interest in the landscape. What excites us the most about using planters in our designs is the chance to place them as a major design feature. With our network of vendors and fabricators, we can design planters and containers that are specific to any space. The broad choice of materials and finishes available means unique planters can feature prominently in any size of outdoor project, from small patio designs to expansive landscapes.