OYO Design Blog

Like many gardeners, I love container gardens. Although I’m not afraid to go wild with the color of a container, it took me a while to realize the containers themselves could be their own standalone design element. As in, why does a container have to be a pot or a planter at all? Why not think outside the pot?

Repurpose and Recycle

In my first book, Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces, my co-author Rebecca and I shared garden inspiration from Emily, a twenty-something apartment dweller hoping to bring some edible magic to her complex’s shared courtyard. Not only passionate about growing her own food, she is also a firm believer in repurposing and recycling. With a knack for ingenuity and some modest carpentry skills, she successfully transformed an old filing cabinet destined for the landfill into a wall-mounted herb planter!

Make it Personal

When I’m working with a client to transform her garden, I look for ways to marry my professional expertise with her own personal taste and history. To make her garden feel like a relaxing retreat, my client Deb wanted her tiny courtyard to remind her of Hawaii, her favorite vacation getaway. While working on the design, I came across an old bird feeder in her storage area and voila! A charming accessory helps transform this container garden into a personal space.

Add a touch of whimsy

I spotted this clever way to showcase shallow-rooted lettuces while visiting Orchard Nursery, one of my favorite local garden centers. No worries if you’ve run out of space in your vegetable garden—just grab a chair from the dining table, plop down a toolbox full of arugula and you’re good to go!

If a non-traditional container isn’t your cup of tea…

you can always get creative with what goes inside. After all, plants aren’t the only things that appreciate a cozy home.


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