Planter Boxes – Designs and Ideas
Suited to both domestic and commercial applications, Planter Boxes are popular in a range of landscaping situations. With designs ranging from ‘found materials’ for DIY projects, through to custom built timber and concrete just about any landscaping plan can accommodate a planter box of some sort.
Providing a large and accessible area for planting they help form a part of complete architectural design as well being practical.
Outdoor and Indoor Planter box construction can vary greatly and it is essential to find the right solution for your need. Pictured right is an innovative large planter box design where the planter box sits on top of a Concrete Water Tank. Can be used as a garden wall.
Planter box weight and size needs to be considered as do planter box liners and drainage.
When using recycled material such as crates that have been used for other purposes it is essential to ensure that they have not been treated with any harmful chemicals, especially if you intend to grow edible plants such as herbs or vegetables. It is also an important factor if you intend to incorporate a seat into you home made planter box design.
Larger fixed raised plater boxes are increasingly popular, they create a raised garden effect, adding height to the garden as well as providing easier access to plants.
Fixed planter boxes require appropriate liners and drainage to perform well. These are best installed as part of an overall garden design to ensure continuity in the landscape.
Material vary greatly, it is important to consider weight as well as any possible leaching of elements into the soil. For example concrete planters can leach lime into the soil, this will suit some plants, however acid loving plants will not perform well. Proper liners are the answer to this problem.
- GRC (glass reinforced concrete) have the advantage of a larger planter with increased strength and decreased weight.
- Timber planter boxes have architectural qualities that are not easily obtained by other materials. Some timber planter boxes can be assembled on site or even home made.
- Concrete planter boxes are long lasting and are suited to commercial applications. As mentioned above lightweight concrete planters are now reinforced with fibre glass rather than steel mesh, this helps cut back on weight but also removes the element of corrosion where this is a consideration.
- Corten steel, used mainly for the look and strength, these planter boxes are available as smaller ‘off the shelf’ solutions however larger designs are usually fabricated especially for the landscaping application.
Planter boxes are often seen as needing to have bottoms in them, however they do not need to. If located directly onto the ground it is still a planter box as such, and of course, the drainage problem is solved.
Planter Box Design Options
Planter Box Liners are an essential element, and proper Butyl Liner membrane will protect the planter box from moisture and deterioration.
All planter boxes will need some from of drainage, in a home garden this may be simple, however in a courtyard, on a deck or in commercial applications proper drainage and connection to recycling or waste water pipes may be required.
Popular throughout Europe for many years window planter boxes are having a resurgence in Australia. Many Cafes and inner city terrace houses are using window boxes for not only great displays of annual plants but also for growing herbs and ferns.
Larger styles can be mounted on wheels so that they can easily be moved to create a more flexible area, or simply as a seasonal thing so that a vegetable garden can, ‘fo llow the sun’.
Planters used to define the edges of low outdoor decking areas can be a design feature as well a practical gardening solution. If located near an entertaining and outdoor eating area they can be planted out with herbs and vegetables. They can also be used to plant screening plants, adding some extra privacy to your outdoor area.
Plants in Boxes for Courtyards
A simple planter box in a courtyard can allow anyone to grow some herbs and vegetables, even when a hard surface prevents planting in the soil.
A planter box made of timber can be a simple solution, all you need is a flat surface. A design that is around 2m long .7m wide and .5m deep will allow you to plant a range of vegetables, even tomatoes, all in a neat box.
With a little thoughtful planting box can be productive all year round. It will also retain moisture better than any pot, because it it is larger.
You may decide to include a trellis or frame for climbing plants, and you can even set up a removable plastic igloo that will allow planting of vegetables a little earlier, great for tomatoes.
In courtyards consider continuity of materials. For example a timber planter box can be made to fit in seamlessly if the same type of timber is used on the walls. Try horizontal timber slats as a design feature.
And as for innovative solutions, how about a planter box made from recycled materials. At a recent garden show in Melbourne we saw this display.
Not your traditional planters by any means, however it does go to show that with a little imagination and thinking ‘outside the square’, you can indeed fashion a planter box from some very interesting materials.
The design was of course all about the forces of nature, however we liked the idea. A range of more conventional garden pots are available from suppliers across Australia.
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