These 4 "S" Words Will Help You Choose The Right Planters For Your Lanai.

While your plants are the stars of the show, the containers are the supporting actors. One can certainly outshine the other but if they are aligned in their performance, the display is superb.

Give careful thought to these 4 planter guidelines before you accessorize your Florida lanai, terrace, entryway or courtyard: 

Statement. Scope. Size. Sunshine.

Statement: What is the overall look you want to achieve? This is exterior decorating, so approach it with the same overview as you would your interior. Do you love lots of color or are you more the neutral/textural type? What works for your look—glazed ceramic, terra cotta, concrete, plastic, resin, wood, fiberglass...?

Scope: How large is the exterior space in total? Even if you only plan on doing one area of your lanai right now, take into consideration how that area relates to the overall space. If you're a seasonal resident, are you going to leave your planters out year round, or will you store them inside? You don't want to kill yourself trying to move heavy pots.

Size: Bigger will always work better in outdoor spaces. Without a ceiling to define a lanai, container plantings can be dwarfed by the open space. Make your container plantings easily visible. Make them count. Get creative—a group of 3 can add depth and density. Or get bold with one really large statement piece. Whatever you decide, just give it careful consideration before you buy. .

Sunshine: Climate is a major category full of sub-items you must consider with real plants and their containers. Will the plant's roots get too hot (black fiberglass planters)? Will the plant dry out too fast (porous terra cotta planters)? How easy will it be to get the plant out of the container when you inevitably have to repot it (narrow opening planters)? Will it get proper drainage (no holes in the bottom)? Do you need a saucer for the water runoff or do you deal with the mess? 

Keep those 4 factors in mind while shopping for planters, but then remember—it's still all about the plants.

The first 3 factors hold true regardless of whether you use live plants or artificial outdoor plants. Factor 4, however, is where we separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats...the real from the unreal

With artificial outdoor plants you don't have to worry about any of those life-or-death plant situations. You can have what you can't: form, foliage and flowers impervious to climate. Hands down the most popular benefit is no watering. No lugging watering cans or hoses. You don't need saucers and you won't have “plant pee”—the water run-off from the pot that you scurry to wipe up because it can stain your lanai floor.

Celebrate your new planters with container plantings that won't lose their looks.