Complete this weekend fix-up in three easy steps.

The old adage says that two are better than one. While this may have worked for Noah, in garden planning, an odd number of objects is infinitely easier to place than two. Here's how to take an entry that is lined in pairs--boxwoods in the beds and containers by the door--and rework the arrangement. Here's what we did and why.


  • What's wrong? While boxwoods are an appropriate plant choice, they'll be too small even when mature for the porch's tall, grand scale
  • .Quick fix: Purchase large concrete pots, dig up the shrubs, and replant them in the new containers. Place ivy and flowering annuals in the pots for added interest.
  • Why? Elevating key shrubs in substantial containers provides instant impact. Now, the combination of boxwoods and pots anchors the porch with proper visual weight and size.


  • What's wrong? A pair of containers flanks the front door like short soldiers standing at attention.
  • Quick fix: Remove both containers. Add one tall pot to the right of the entry, next to the door that opens.
  • Why? If you already have a pair of plants, another twosome is repetitive. By using only one container, we created an imaginary triangle with the two pots at ground level. Now, your eye has one place to land at the door. Two slender 'Sky Pencil' Japanese hollies in a single planter continue the tall line, echoing the oversize doors. Impatiens and ivy at the base of the pot provide extra texture. All three pots are concrete; for a cohesive look, choose one material, and stick with it.


  • What's wrong? New pots look naked in unplanted beds.
  • Quick fix: Surround the pots with ground covers and seasonal color. We used silvery lamb's ears to complement the concrete pots and 'Aurea' creeping Jenny for bright yellow accents. White caladiums and Star Hybrid zinnias add cool summer shades; in fall, they're replaced with pansies and violas.
  • Why? The lamb's ears snuggle around the bases of the pots, providing fuzzy texture, while the creeping Jennies ramble over the bricks to soften the edges. This allows small areas to add seasonal color, minimizing the cost and time required for planting each season.

This article is from the June 2005 issue of Southern Living.