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Top Tips For Perfect Pots This Christmas

Pots are an excellent, quick way to beautify your home on the North Shore of Auckland without the hassle of regular maintenance. Whether it be your front entrance or entertaining area, incorporating pots can significantly soften and create harmony between the hardscaping.

By the end of this blog, you will have the knowledge to create your own striking pot arrangements that will immediately brighten and liven your home.

Image of pots in cover from The Lily Pad Cottage.

Thriller, Filler & Spiller

The ultimate rule for creating perfect pots is to follow "Thriller, Filler & Spiller".


These are plants that have a tall upright growth, usually with a strong statement of form and colour. Your thriller could even be a climbing vine if you are looking to grow something around a structure. When selecting your thriller, you will need to consider the size of your pot, as shallow pots won't allow for much height.

3 examples of thrillers include:

  • Topiary Buxus Green Gem

  • Hydrangea

  • Citrus


These can be a single plant or a combination of plants. We recommend you choose something bright in colour, with a long flowering life to make the pot appear larger.

Fillers should spread out and cover any space in the pot.

3 examples of fillers include:

  • Cosmos

  • Petunias

  • Ice Plant


These are plants that cascade and drape over the edges of the pot. Spillers should echo or contrast with the other plants in the pot through the colour, shape or texture. Plants with variegated leaves or interesting colours make a bold statement.

3 examples of spillers include:

  • Bacopa

  • Creeping Thyme

  • Dichondra

What To Plant:

When choosing plants for your pots, try to create seasonal interest. You can do so by choosing a mixture of thrillers, spillers, and fillers that flower at different times, and are different colours.

Visual interest can also be established by selecting plants with a range of textures and patterns.

If you would like to add a touch of scent and herbs to your outdoor dining area, you can use plants such as rosemary, basil, and orange-scented thyme (as well as other types of thyme).

Designed by Sculpt Gardens for Faradays

In this pot, the thriller is a topiary Buxus, with soft elements echoed in the underplanting. White Petunias are the filler, and Dichondra silver falls is the spiller. 

Choosing The Right Pots:

It is important to give your pot selection some thought, as durability, movability, expense and drainage are all things that will affect the outcome of your pots. Ultimately you want to avoid having to replace pots or worry about them looking good for longer.

These are some of the popular options for pots that you may be familiar with.

Ceramic Pots:

These pots are made from clay and are then glazed. As the pots are fired at a very high temperature, this reduces the pot's vulnerability to the elements. Despite this, pots can still crack in very cold weather. Ceramics are suited to plants that are top-heavy, as the pots themselves are heavy. These pots can be rather expensive, however, they can be purchased in a range of sizes, styles, shapes designs, and colours. 

Metal Pots:

Metal pots offer great durability and longevity. Certain metals such as cast iron can be very heavy. However, other metals such as aluminium are much lighter which makes the process of moving pots a lot simpler. As well as this, aluminium does not require maintenance, as it does not rust and does not require painting. It is also cheaper than some other metal options. 

One of our favourite choices for pots at the moment is corten steel. Corten steel is extremely durable and looks better as it weathers. It is a striking option suited to many gardens that enables you to create excellent harmony between landscapes due to its natural, soft appearance. 

Wood Pots:

Wood is unlikely to crack in cold temperatures and dries out slowly. A potential issue with wooden pots is that they can rot. Ensure pots have drainage holes to prevent the pot from becoming water-logged. You can also line the interior of your pot with plastic, but ensure you put holes in this for drainage.

Concrete Pots:

These can be an attractive option for pots, even once aged. Concrete is a suitable option for larger plants that may need wind protection and stability. The weight of concrete makes the pot a sturdy support for the plants, however, this also means they can be very hard to move. Therefore, it is best you are certain of where you want your pot to be placed. Another good thing about concrete pots is that they are reliable insulators, meaning the roots are protected from temperature changes.

Terracotta Pots:

Terracotta pots are an affordable option that is available at most local gardening stores. Whilst affordable, the pots tend to be unglazed and thus permeable. As a result, they are more fragile and can lose moisture. Terracotta pots can also be lined with plastic to help prevent water loss through the pot. 

Designed by Sculpt Gardens.

Arranging Your Pots

Three pots in the corner of your deck or poolside can look stunning, but so can a group of twelve in the right setting. 

To put it simply, when arranging pots you want to group things in odd numbers. This is because it creates an initial focal point to which then our eyes move between the pots. However, when designing an entrance or similar, it is better to have a pair of pots to create symmetry and a balanced look.

Your pots do not need to be identical but try to keep one element the same. This could be the colour, style or size. Using pots that complement each other but differ is a great way of adding visual interest.

Designed by Sculpt Gardens.

In this design by Andy Hamilton, he uses pots with the same material in various shapes and sizes. 

With these tips, hopefully, you are now feeling confident to design your own pots and get your home looking beautiful for Christmas.

If you would love some assistance with your pots, or if you do not have the time to organise them yourself, we can source, place and plant for you. 

Get in touch here if this sounds like something you may be interested in, we would love to help.


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