Using metal planters in your garden

Over the years I have looked at and used many different types of plant pots and containers, but the ones I come back to time and time again are metal powder-coated planters. There is certainly a place for lovely handcrafted pots and wooden troughs, but very few give the flexibility and space saving quality of metal planters. 
With clay or terracotta pots you are limited, their size and shape is decided by the manufacturer. They are great when you have lots of space, but I don't think they work very well in many small gardens. Wooden troughs, although mainly bespoke and made to fit, are chunky and their frame takes up valuable space that could be used either for plants or vital floor space. One of the benefits of using metal containers is that they are very thin, most are made from metal that is only 1 or 2mm thick, so the space saving is pretty big.  
A major benefit of using metal planters is, like wooden troughs, they can be made to almost any size and shape, so on projects like roof terraces, where planting usually happen around the boundaries, metal containers can be made to fit the size and shape of the terrace perfectly, as long as you get your measurements right!
I always allow 5mm leeway just to be sure. 
Another great thing about this type of garden planter is that it can be painted almost any colour. I've had projects were the planters were painted to match the colour of sliding and bi-folding door, interior walls and the framework of existing garden furniture. I would say that being able to pick any colour is probably the best thing about metal planters.  
There are a couple of things to know about metal planters though:
 
1) They need to be insulated - metal conducts heat very efficiently and the roots of your plants can be cooked in the soil in summer and frozen in winter. Adding a simple layer of polystyrene around the inside faces of the planter stops this from happening. I leave it about 100mm from the top so that soil can hide it from sight.
2) They shouldn't be sat directly on the ground. Planters normally have drainage hole in the bottom so they need to be placed on little feet. I use the feet that are normally supplied with most planters, or 10mm rubber or hardwood, depending on the project. 
To find out more about metal planters for your garden take a look at www.metalplantersuk.com

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