6 Less is more
The fancier, more ornate the container, the simpler the plant palette should be—a grouping of one type in a container can look sophisticated and dramatic. Even simpler: place a massive unplanted container—perhaps glazed Provençal blue or maroon—in a bed of groundcover under a shade tree to inject a punch of colour. Or centre an intricate obelisk (with no vines on it) in a container of low-growing plants to serve as a piece of garden sculpture.
7 Be bold
The farther away your container is from viewers, the bigger and bolder the flower and leaf forms should be. A mass of dainty bacopa and Swan River daisies in a pot next to your front door is a fuzzy blur when seen from the front sidewalk.
8 Cheat a little
For a special party, bump up the floral quotient by tucking floral picks (small plastic vials that hold water) filled with stems of gerberas, dahlias or roses into window boxes and other containers.
9 Cue the understudies
For key containers, keep a few duplicate plants growing in pots elsewhere in the garden. Then, if one or two underperform or meet an untimely end, you can replace them with something identical. (Because you know if you go back to the nursery for a replacement, there will be none left!)
10 Trailers to the back
For a softer, more natural look, plant some trailing plants midway back instead of all along the edge. Let a few stems meander around the bases of upright plants before spilling over the edge.