Balcony Garden Tips: How To Select Pots and Plants and Look After them.

24th June 2024

Plants in pots are a fantastic way to bring greenery into a small garden or onto a balcony garden, especially when space is tight, ground soil is limited, has bad structure, or there is no existing soil at all. We use pots in almost all of our jobs, and not just for plants! Pots can also add structure and focal points within the garden. Here are some tips and tricks on choosing pots, what to plant in them and how to place them for optimal design impact.

In the case of pots, size is essential. Pots will naturally dry out much quicker than ground soil, especially over the warmer months. The larger the pot, the more soil volume it will hold and, therefore, the more water it can retain, which in turn will provide better conditions for your plants.

The other thing to consider when choosing a suitably sized pot is the scale in which it will sit within your small garden space. A pot that is too small for an ample space will look unbalanced and get lost among other elements. A single large pot will often have a bigger dramatic impact than many small pots. That said, measure your space first and pick a pot that doesn't dominate or restrict movement around your garden. This is especially important for balcony gardens and decks, where limited movement exists.

Keep in mind that weight is significant when it comes to placing pots on balcony gardens. Understanding the load-bearing limits of your balconies will determine the size, type, and number of pots you use. If in doubt, pick lightweight pots and a light potting mix to reduce the overall weight.

A single large pot will often have a bigger dramatic impact than many small pots.

When choosing pots for your space, it is essential to know whether a pot is sealed, unsealed or does not require sealing. Sealing is a process in which the interior (or exterior) is sealed in a way that prevents water and soluble nutrients & salts from leaching through the pot, which can dry out the soil, take away valuable nutrition from your plants and cause unsightly marks on the outside of your pots.

Cement and ceramic pots (including terracotta) need to be sealed before planting. A sealant can be purchased from a hardware store and applied in dual coats to the interior of the pot. While glazed pots are made from a ceramic base, they don't need to be sealed as the exterior glaze provides this protection.

Metal Pots, Plastic Pots and Poly Resin pots do not need sealing and are ready for planting.

Cement pots, metal pots, ceramic pots, plastic pots, poly resin pots - the list goes on! Choosing the type of pot can be just as daunting as choosing the plants. It is essential to know that every pot has its advantages and disadvantages.

Plastic pots are cheap but will deteriorate over time when exposed to the elements, and they don't have the same aesthetic appeal as other pots.

Ceramic and Cement pots are strong and durable but often limited in colour; however, they can be painted to add a custom look to your design. On the downside, they are heavy and expensive, and large pots may need multiple hands to put into place. Glazed pots are similar, except they come in a more comprehensive colour range and cannot be painted. They also retain a lot of heat and dry out quicker in summer.

Metal pots are often available limited to rectangle and square shapes but are durable and long lasting. Some are even available in a rusted finish for the ultimate industrial look! Keep in mind that they will also heat up in summer

Polyresin pots are made from durable plastic but are designed to look like cement or ceramic pots with a more modern aesthetic. They are made to last and are super lightweight, making them easy to lift and reducing overall weight on balconies. Their colour range is often limited to neutrals like black, white, and grey.


Often, this is where many go wrong. After spending lots of money on pots and plants, the cheapest soil mix is chosen. Soil is life, and a potting mix made from low-quality ingredients will lack nutrients and structure, struggle to retain moisture, and be depleted much, much quicker.

A good potting mix should consist of an even mix of compost, bark fines, and peat, with added perlite or pumice to improve drainage and reduce overall weight. When it comes to potting mix, the old saying "You get what you pay for" rings true. If your budget is tight, spend more on the potting mix and less on the pots and plants—not the other way around!

We have developed our own range of garden mixes full of all the required nutrients.


Pot placement requires vital consideration to achieve maximum design impact. Large pots will also be too heavy to move once placed, so take some time to consider this carefully.

Choose a spot that receives plenty of sunlight, increasing the range of plant choices. If you can place it where it will be exposed to rain, it will also help keep the plants watered and reduce your maintenance.

Pots can be placed as a single focal point or in groups. For a neat design trick, group a cluster of three pots, either in the same style and colour or in complementary styles and colours. This provides a great way to create asymmetrical balance in your space and creates dimension with pots at varying heights.

Pots can also be placed to frame views or other focal points in your small garden by placing two pots side by side and at either end of the view you wish to frame. This is referred to as symmetrical balance in terms of balance. This trick is often used in small spaces as it directs the viewer's eye to a central point and distracts them from how small the surroundings are!

Stay tuned for PART 2, where we discuss plant choice, watering requirements, feeding, and the need to repot from time to time.

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