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How to Use Terracotta Pots – Indoors and Out

The best thing about terracotta pots? They never go out of fashion. Plus they look just as good inside as in the garden

Houzz Contributor. Editor in Chief of RealHomes.com. I am an editor, journalist,… More

Don’t limit your terracotta pot collection to the garden – display them indoors, too, for a touch of raw, rustic texture. Read on for how best to show them off, where to put them, and what size to choose.

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Display a wall of pots
Part vertical herb garden, part succulent display, part art installation, this wall of pots would look just as good outside against a sunny wall as in a kitchen. Dot the terracotta planters among others in steel and ceramic, leave some empty or upturned, and choose pots in different sizes for added interest.

Bear in mind that succulents might not do well outside in many British gardens, as they don’t like the cold or wet. The RHS has some helpful tips if you’re interested in growing them outdoors.

Browse pots and planters in the Houzz Shop

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Create a stylist’s pyramid
Professional stylists often use the ‘pyramid effect’ because it works brilliantly to create a pleasing visual effect.

How to do it? Just place the tallest of your pots (or, indeed, vases, picture frames, candlesticks) at the centre of the arrangement, and group a medium- and small-sized one on either side. Try it in threes – or fives – but never even numbers.

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Use them for drought-lovers
In a small garden or courtyard, low-slung pots will help make the space feel larger – and might be the only place to plant out a kitchen garden.

Planting in terracotta? The material heats up in direct sunshine, so choose succulents and Mediterranean herbs for easy maintenance – or be prepared to water frequently.

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Add texture to a kitchen
A slick kitchen that lacks natural texture will look streamlined, but can be somewhat characterless. However, a touch of terracotta – in herb pots and cookware – will give it an injection of earthy appeal.

Here, the warm terracotta wall paint is picked up by the pots, and makes a great contrast for the cooler blue chimney breast and white cabinetry.

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Go large – and empty
A terracotta pot needn’t be brimming with greenery. Why not be inspired by the ancient Greeks and choose a large (at least 1m tall) sculptural piece and let its shape and form do the talking?

Perfect as the centrepiece of a flowerbed, it’s a handy addition to shady spots where flowers won’t thrive, too.

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Create an indoor herb garden
Aged terracotta pots will bring a little sense of the outside into your kitchen. Pop some herbs in small planters and you’ll have the easiest garden you’ll ever plant out or tend – plus you’ll always have some yummy flavours on hand to add to your cooking. Drought-tolerant herbs are easiest to look after. (For ‘look after’ read ‘ignore’…)

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Go for height with a grid
Tall planting often equates to bulkiness, so if you have a little lateral space – perhaps a compact courtyard, a balcony or an indoor garden – you’ll have to plant creatively.

Shelves are an option, but for something a little more sculptural, an iron grid like this, stacked with terracotta pots, is a neat, contemporary alternative that’s still attractively earthy.

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Find variety for cottage gardens
A jumble of terracotta pots, arranged randomly and planted out with a selection of pretty, chaotic blooms, is perfect for a cottage garden.

Frostproof your terracotta pots to prevent them from cracking by first dipping them for 30 seconds in a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part PVA glue, then leaving them to dry.

This quiz will match you with your dream garden

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Plant a windowsill garden
Whether your garden is tiny (or non-existent) or you simply want to merge your indoor and outdoor spaces, putting a line of plants in terracotta pots on a windowsill is a great go-to trick.

Choose a selection of tall and trailing plants – throw in the odd faux one for an easy life, if you like – and dot a painted pot or two into the mix to up the interest; this jade green one is a foliage-friendly choice.

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Design a Mediterranean courtyard
Super-sized terracotta planters filled with architectural plants are guaranteed smart focal features in a garden of any size. Up their impact by lining the edge of a patio or either side of a path with multiples of matching pots.

Tell us…
Where do you have terracotta in or outside your home? And which of these ideas do you like best? Share tips or photos in the Comments section.

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