Having an outside space has become more important to us than ever, but when it comes to 'new build' homes, space is always at a premium. Plots are tiny, with gardens getting smaller, or the only outside area is a compact balcony or courtyard. So small space solutions, like a container garden, are more needed and on-trend than ever. In 2021 the RHS Chelsea Flower Show introduced a container garden and balcony category, and the 2022 show is full of examples and inspiration. Getting creative with containers solves space problems and inhospitable conditions, resulting in a beautiful outside area, whatever your budget.

We have always loved galvanised metal in both the home and the garden, so here is our handy guide to creating a galvanised container garden.

Something for the smallest of spaces.

Galvanised bucket planters

The simplest way to add galvanised metal and greenery to the smallest balcony or patio is with bucket planters. You can buy vintage or repurpose what you already have. A mix of sizes always looks good especially planted with a selection of herbs to hand when cooking.

Our galvanised plant display stand is another space-saving solution, as it is tiered, using vertical space and not much floor space. When styling, combine trailing and tall plants to give maximum impact. Go a step further and use wire to fix galvanised plant pots to fences and balcony railings, then fill them with vibrant flowers.

The complete garden in pots.

Plants in post

image credit: houseandgarden.co.uk

Grasses, bulbs, shrubs, roses and even small trees can all be grown in containers. Whatever your tastes, you can take a collection of galvanised planters and turn a tiny patio or courtyard into a pretty garden, rearranged with ease. Move around pots and change your outlook as often as you wish. Maybe fragrance is your thing, colour floats your boat, or you prefer shade-loving foliage. Containers give you the flexibility to try a new arrangement or position when the mood takes you, giving you the best pick of a large garden.

Dolly tubs give a space vintage style, while galvanised barrel planters can have an industrial feel. The grey colouring of galvanised metal suits all planting. Don't worry about rust -it adds character, colour and texture.

Grow your own.

Grow vegetables in galvanised troughs

image credit: gardengatemagazine.com

For the enthusiastic home grower, a second-hand cattle trough is a must. Raised off the ground, they make ideal veg beds. Add canes for beans and tomatoes to climb, cover brassicas with a netted frame to protect them from pests, and don't forget companion planting with marigolds. If you have a sunny spot for your galvanised trough, you could grow peppers and salad leaves to enjoy with summer BBQs. No matter how compact your plot, a raised planter can provide a surprisingly large harvest, from herbs to fruit and everything in between.

Conserve water.

Another use for cattle troughs is as an environmentally friendly water butt. Ditch the plastic and give galvanised a go. Fit a water butt tap to the pipe inlet hole, add a wooden lid and you are good to go. The covered top of a galvanised metal water butt can double up as a planting station/potting bench to maximise your space even more.

Every garden should have a tree.

Galvanised water tank with birch tree

The right tree in the right spot can bring year-round interest to a garden, and planting a small tree in a container is ideal for a small space.

Galvanised metal will make an Acer's delicate leaves pop, especially in autumn, and a modest-sized pot will do.

If you want something on a larger scale, then a tree in a repurposed water tank is the way to go. A silver birch against a dark wall creates a bold impact, and planted in a galvanised tank will feel modern and industrial. Don't forget to underplant with shade lovers for extra greenery.

Water Features.

Galvanised tank water feature

image credit: www.rutlandgardenclassics.co.uk

Finding the right, water-tight, galvanised container opens up the possibility of a small wildlife pond or noise-cancelling water feature.

A large bucket filled with aquatic plants and a means for escape will bring all manner of creatures to your little patch. The local wildlife will definitely thank you for it. 

Old Belfast sinks combined with vintage galvanised metal containers extend your water feature into a multi-level display.

If you live in a busy urban area, the sound of a water feature can block surrounding noise. Replacing traffic and building works with bubbling water to create a zen escape. 

Making an entrance.

When it comes to gardens, every little space counts. So don't forget the area by your front door. A pot on either side of your entrance can create the wow factor and an enjoyable haven of green as you enter the home.

Tall and elegant pots with classical planting, like topiary trees, can suit period properties, grouping mismatched metal planters will complement quirky entrances, while galvanised metal looks stunning with modern properties.

Galvanised is good!

Galvanised Fluted Oval Planters - Set of 3

Are you thinking of making a container garden? Then galvanised metal planters are a great place to start. They are lighter weight than ceramic pots, good value for money (especially if you can source second-hand and vintage) and come in all shapes and sizes. Galvanised metal is a subtle backdrop for all types of planting, but if grey isn't your thing, you can clad large water tanks using pallet wood for a more rustic look.

Container care.

Containers rely on you, the gardener, for their care. They will need good compost, regular watering, and occasional feeding and importantly, position them in the best spot for the plants within - consider whether they are shade or sun lovers.

The galvanising on metal containers will prolong their life, as will keeping them raised off the ground on 'pot feet', but they may still start to deteriorate over time. Luckily, rust is a very complementary colour in the garden.

The best thing about a container garden is its flexibility and versatility. You can't really make mistakes, just dive in and give it a go! We hope to have given you some ideas and inspiration to start your own.

If you want to get more inspiration for your garden read our blog 6 ideas for creating an industrial style garden space.

September 07, 2022 — Vincent and Barn