When creating displays for a modern patio garden or a minimalist courtyard, opt for simple, elegant containers with a sculptural quality or use angular shapes that complement sharp, geometrical designs. Avoid ornate or traditional pots, which will clash with a modern setting. Tall, rectangular containers look great when teamed with contrasting spiky or feathery foliage, while low cubes make ideal homes for lollipop-shaped standard trees or the curved outline of a clipped box topiary. Use rectangular planters to raise vegetables, herbs and other edibles, and try slim cylinders and tapering conical pots with trailing plants to create a striking asymmetrical display. Most plants can be grown in contemporary containers, but architectural shapes, crisp topiary, grasses, bamboos and succulents suit them best.
Metal or synthetic materials are most commonly used to make contemporary containers because they suit modern designs. These versatile pots tend to be long lasting, lighter and easier to clean than those made from traditional materials.
Metal: Zinc, hammered aluminium, polished steel, galvanized steel and heavy-duty Corten steel that ages to a beautiful rusted finish are just some of the metals used for plant containers. Since metal heats up quickly, line your pots with bubble plastic before planting to keep the roots from frying. In shady areas, use shiny metals to reflect light.
Synthetic materials: Lightweight pots made from fiberglass are ideal for roof gardens, balconies or other areas where weight is an issue. Modern plastic and polycarbonate pots can look very chic and are available in a wide range of styles and colors. Synthetics are also frost-proof and durable.