Upcycling old, broken, and even cheap pots can be fun! Try this simply inexpensive way to add some color this season with this DIY tiered flower garden!
If there’s any evidence to the fact I definitely don’t have a green thumb, it would be the various empty pots with dead plants inside found scattered in various areas of my backyard. I decided it was time to add some color in my backyard and landscaping project from my previous post here: Our DIY Backyard Renovation & Landscaping Experience Part 1. I didn’t want to spend any more money on new flower pots since my backyard project has taken a good chunk of money to do. Therefore I had to figure out how to re-use (upcycle) these cheap, and sometimes broken, flower pots. With this simple project, you can also buy cheap terra cotta pots ranging from $2 to $20 for the larger flower pots.
The following is what I had around my house to used to create three beautifully tiered flower garden upcycled flower pots.
- 2 Small Terra Cotta Pots $2/each
- 2 Medium Terra Cotta Pots $4/each
- 2 Large Terra Cotta Pots $9/each
- 1 Large Green Plastic Self-draining pot $7/each
- 1 Medium Wide Black Plastic Hanging pot (broken and hanging unit removed)
- 3 Small Plastic Pots (used to stabilize tiered pots)
- 2 Small Annual grasses $4/each
- 4 Small Annual creeping vines (use two different color variety) $4/each
- 8 6-pack annuals (various colors with similar tolerance)
- Hot Glue Gun (to stabilize tiered pots)
Things to note: I used the plastic flower pots that my shrubs came in from the store to:
- Save on potting mix by taking up available space inside the flower pots with plastic pots.
- Stabilized tiered flower pots by stacking the subsequent tiered pots on the plastic pots to remain level and help prevent against sinking.
Tip: You can use a hot glue gun to connect the pots together but I found that wetting and compacting the potting mix well helps reduce the chance of undesired sinking of the flower pots above. Also, by not gluing them I’m free to change up my design if I want to next season.
Design your tiered flower garden
For this project I used three different designs to create my tiered flower garden:
- Circular Cascading Design: This is great if you have many different sizes of pots. These pots are aligned in a circular alignment.
- Linear Tower Design: Similar to a cascading effect design except these pots are linear alignment rather than circular.
- “Spilled over” Design: Great to use for broken pots where one put looks as if its’ pouring its’ content into another pot.
No matter the design, begin with the largest pots first followed by subsequently smaller pots. Fill each pot about three-fourths full with potting mix. Place an upside down plastic pot where the next pot will be and fill the surrounding area with potting soil. Repeat for subsequent tiers. Water the pot prior to planting so you can adjust for the sinking tiers from the potting soil beginning to compress and become compact. Add loose potting soil where need to level each tier to three-fourths full again.
Planting Your Flowers
I bought ornamental/decorative grasses and creeping vines for some added elegant flow but it isn’t necessary. If you choose to do grasses and vines, plant these first.
- For grasses: Plant on any level tier towards the back of the pots.
- For creeping vines: Plant off any edge of the pot to allow it to creep over and not onto the rest of your flowers.
Below are pots with and without the grass and vines and both are equally beautiful.
How to use Color Theory to design your tiered flower garden
If you haven’t heard of color theory, that’s okay I can give you the crash course right here to Art History 101.
- Complementary Colors: These colors pairs when used together make vibrant color schemes. It’s easy to determine which ones are complementary because they are found across each other on the color wheel. If you want something to really “pop,” use complementary colors. Example: Blue & Orange, Purple & Yellow, and Red & Green.
- Analogous Colors: These are three colors that blend together well. They are found next to each other on the color wheel. If you want an overall color theme with a little variety, use analogous colors. Example: Green, Yellow, Orange and Purple, Blue Green.
I love using vibrant colors that pop so for this project I would recommend finding annuals with these tips:
- Are complementary colors
- Have the same tolerance to sun and water (I prefer part to full sun so I don’t have to move these pots everyday)
- Take note on how they grow: Do they form a mound? Are they tall? Do they creep like ground cover?
This will help you decide on what to buy and where to place the plants in your flower garden.
Final steps to your tiered flower garden
When transplanting your plants to the pot, remove the plant from the container and gently loosen roots before firmly placing into your pot. Continue this step until all desired plants are in. Once you’ve finished potting your plants, make sure to back fill any holes and fill the remaining area with potting mix to about 2 inches from the top of the pot. This is to ensure no roots are exposed. Place in your desired location before watering the pots thoroughly because once watered, they become quite heavy. Add potting mix if necessary.
Here is how my tiered flower garden turned out
Thoughts to Consider
Have you ever made your own tiered flower garden with upcycled pots? What design did you like best? Have you used Color Theory with home improvement or interior design?
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