Contain yourself: Gearing up for fall with container garden ideas

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Updated Sep 12, 2023

Shutterstock 1497409658Container gardens can be an excellent addition to your customer’s landscape, especially with the arrival of fall.

Whether it’s working in a few fall edibles, succulents, or traditional seasonal options, there are numerous designs you can implement to ensure customers have a variety to choose from.

Take a look at a few fantastic fall design concepts you can create that your customers are sure to love all season long.


Mums are a staple in most fall arrangements, and it’s easy to see why they are so popular. Not only do they offer bright and bold pops of color, but their shape also makes them ideal when trying to mass plant in areas.

With the arrival of fall also comes the tendency to decorate with gourds and pumpkins, which will pair well with both bronze and orange mums.

When choosing mums, keep in mind that there are two types you can choose from...hardy and florist. Hardy mums are traditionally referred to as garden mums, and experts agree that they will come in handy most when using them for landscaping purposes, as they are able to produce underground stolons and thrive better in the winter.

Florist mums are also called cutting mums, and while they will produce larger flowers, they will produce few, if any, underground stolons.

To help your customers get the most out of their mums, be sure to choose cultivars based on their bloom times, and remember to coordinate those bloom times with the length of fall for the area you service.

“If you use mums in your pots, try to buy them when the buds are just cracking,” landscape designer Amy Wilbur of Sweet Dirt Designs, told Houzz. “This will give you the longest life out of a short-lived plant.”

Learn more about properly planting and caring for mums here.

Unique planting options

Not every fall container is made the same, and with the abundance of plant options to choose from out there, your customers are sure to have plenty to brag about once your design is finished.

But don’t just think inside the box when coming up with what type of plants and planters to utilize. Keep in mind that you can also have varying sizes when it comes to containers, which means that your customers can personalize their designs to fit the overall atmosphere of the landscape. If your customers are looking to add a bit of height and layers to their yard, implementing a taller planter could also be a good solution.

With taller planters, you’ll really get the chance to utilize the thriller aspect of the traditional thriller, filler, and spiller combination. To really give the container some added height, take advantage of seasonal colors and ornamental grasses when creating the planter.

Or if your customers have shown an interest in dipping their toe into the waters of edible gardening, why not incorporate a few ornamental cabbage and kale options into the mix? Not only will these veggies offer a treat to look at, but they can also offer a treat to snack on.

Lean into the season 

When creating your customer’s container design, don’t be afraid to really go all out with elements that scream fall. For instance, using some brightly colored pumpkins as the centerpiece in an arrangement can be a perfect way to draw the eye to it, then follow that up by adding in some spilling greenery, some purple-black foliage, and another fall-colored flower to really tie it all together.

“I think putting anything unusual in a container gives it drama,” designer Stephanie Town of Garden Stories told Houzz.Shutterstock 163190240

But fall isn’t always about the brighter oranges and reds, though. Sometimes, you can use darker colors in an arrangement and still get the desired fall effect.

“Interesting and unusual color combos will still read fall as long as the majority of elements are fall materials,” Kathy Molnar Simpson of KMS Gardens and Design told Houzz. “The colors in the majority of elements should have some relationship to each other. I think complementary combinations, rather than opposite color combos, tend to work better in fall.”

Darker colors like deep blues, purples, and lavenders paired with a slate gray pot can really create a striking container, and you can also add in some taller ornamental grasses to add a wispy height element.

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