Outdoor Pots and Planters: Out of My Budget?

In my quest to transform my front “yard” into a welcoming oasis, I have spent many afternoons in local nurseries, home improvement warehouses, rock yards, and discount garden supply stores.  Lately, I have been looking for good-quality, glazed pottery to hold a collection of herbs, succulents, and seasonal blooms next spring.

At this point, I will share an observation that I have made regarding gardening/landscaping/yard accessories over the summer…outdoor accessories seem overpriced.

I say this because whether you are buying a bird house, a ceramic pot, a watering can, or a piece of yard art, it is going to be used or stored OUTSIDE.  That means that it will be exposed to sun and heat, wind and rain, and perhaps even snow and ice.  Not to mention mold, dirt, and pests!  The pretty colors on the $50 bird house you are admiring today will quickly fade, if not wear away completely.  The pots you buy will get dirty and moldy and may require cleanings.  Obviously, quality is important when buying items for the exterior of the home, but outrageously high prices aren’t always synonymous with “quality.”

An example: this week I was visiting a local nursery chain that carries a large selection of glazed ceramic pots for container gardens, topiary trees, flowers, and herbs.  I was admiring one of said pots when I happened to see the price and I nearly choked: $120!!  For a pot!!  And it wasn’t even a very large one!

I was a bit daunted when I left the garden center.  I had no idea that fashionable pots required saving up in advance!  So I spent the next few days searching discount stores where the selection was pretty non-existent with it being fall and all.  What to do?

Finally I broke down and went to one of those “garden super-centers.”  I say it with derision, because even though I love a good bargain, there is something inherently uncomfortable about spending hours in a store that is the size of several football fields, with no discernible air-conditioning, rooting around in bins for a diamond in the rough.  I have the same feeling at IKEA.  Moreover, this garden center featured large, high shelves filled with heavy and costly, breakable outdoor pottery and planters.  It was a cardio workout just to shop!

I was there for over two hours.  I’m not kidding.  I was so afraid I was going to drop one…and the staff was nowhere to be found.  But…I did find a pot!  As I was about to leave the store in frustration because all the pots I liked were way out of my price range, I noticed a small sign that said: “All Pottery 50% Off.”  Lucky me!  I was able to buy a pot I really loved at half the price!

Incidentally, the pot I bought is of similar color, size, and weight to the pricier version I originally admired.  It has a nice, glazed finish and will be easy to fill and keep clean.

If I could give just a bit of advice when it comes to yard décor and supplies: don’t be afraid to shop around.  I went to six stores before finding the perfect, affordable pot.  Sure, I could have settled for a pot with a price tag that would rival my electric bill, but I am happier with the pot I settled on.  Now I just have to decide what to put in it…