It seemed only natural to place my planted-up containers ON the patios in my garden, as seen in this photo of my front yard. But there were problems with this seemingly obvious approach.

One, pots sitting on flagstone need to be raised up – somehow – so they’ll drain.  Otherwise, possible death-by-drowning.

This year I removed a couple of too-large Carexes from the border and put the pots there instead.  They now drain naturally into the soil!

Two, the pots took up quite a bit of patio room, especially later in the season. This pano view shows the now-reclaimed patio space.Above, another group of pots in their new positions – inside the border.

Here are the pots you saw in the first three photos, decorated for winter with real Juniper parts and some fake berries and other craft-store items. The groundcover showing here is Comfrey, one of my favorites. That’s pretty darn evergreen! Behind the pots are the stems of ‘Little Joe’ Joe Pye Weed and some bronze fennel.

In the winter, with the annuals gone, I love that the turquoise pots are revealed in all their glory. Your taste may vary, I know, but super-colorful pots are enough to brighten my days from now until late April when the new annuals go in.

One last benefit to pots in borders: Whether they’re naturally colorful or decorated just for winter, they help fill up otherwise empty-looking borders.

From left, next to my front door; on the back-yard patio, one of three like it.

Taller decorations like these could contribute even more to otherwise empty borders. 

Why bother to decorate containers? Here in warming-up Zone 7, containers are rarely covered with snow, so they’re SEEN.  Yet, in December it feels like a loooong time ’til the next frost-free date when I can fill them up again with real plants.