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Container Gardening Principle: Scale & Proportion

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These two design elements can be difficult to master, but if used properly can be a stunning addition to your yard. There are literally thousands of container gardening designs you can create with just these two elements.

For example, you can use a tall plant in the center of a container to balance out the pot height so that you can develop a good focus for your display. As well, the best plan for small planters is to develop a dome shaped design so that it displays a symmetrical balance from all sides.

Plants are always changing as they grow and mature

One of the reasons why integrating scale & proportion is difficult is because the plants themselves consistently change as they grow and mature. A good container gardener must be able to foresee the plants eventual mature size or else both of the design elements will be flawed. Be sure to consider the growth habits of the type of plants you purchase. If you do this, it will help you judge how the plant will appear as time progresses and facilitate your planning of a great scale and proportion display.

The final effect

There are a lot of standard container gardening designs when implementing these two elements. Remember that an ideal final height of a display should be at maximum 1.5 times larger than the height of the container. This proportion guideline is not set in stone and usually depends on the size and shape of the container itself.

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It’s all about what is most pleasing to the eye. A larger plant placed within a pot that has a smaller base will not be appeasing to the eye because it will appear top heavy and seem like it will tip over. Conversely, placing that same large plant within a pot that is wider and larger will be visually pleasing because it will appear stable and secure.

Try to incorporate two different pot sizes and shapes. Playing with different scales and proportions works well, if there is a noticeable difference between the two pots. Furthermore, choosing plants that accentuate the look and shape of the pot will help you create a visually stunning display.

Can’t get started? Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling: