Urns and pots can be used for so much more than planting; by supersizing them, you can use them as elegant focal points, says garden designer Jan Blok


An oversized pot can be a cost-savvy alternative to sculpture. “Scale is crucial. Small pots will get lost in the landscape, so it’s better to go with a large container that’ll make a real statement,” advises Jan. “Position these focal pots under an archway, at the end of a walkway or on a plinth in the centre of an entrance. For night-time enjoyment, install lighting at ground level. Pots light up beautifully at night, their shape and form shown off against the dark backdrop of plants or walls.”


Use a pair of identical pots to highlight the entrance to a stairway, path or doorway. “Choose pots or urns that will be in proportion to their surroundings. Go for clean lines and more classically shaped pots as they don’t date,” suggests Jan. Twin pots can also increase the impact of a view by framing it or create a layered effect when placed on either side of a bench.

Identical pots


Give a pathway more prominence by flanking it with urns. Here, Jan lined up identical pots and placed them on plinths for more impact, creating a formal avenue. “To create an impressive statement, use matching pots and plant them, or the areas around them, with the same plant material,” says Jan. “If your budget doesn’t allow for oversized pots, use an assortment of smaller containers grouped as part of a collection; these can be built up over time. Simply choose one style and pot colour and stick with it.”


Pathway with urns


Enhance a stand-alone focal pot by using it as a water feature. This idea looks best when the pot is raised in the centre of a body of water. This type of water feature is one of the easiest to install yourself – simply buy a precast fibreglass pond, which can be positioned below ground level if you prefer, and place a metal grid over it. Then stand your pot on the grid and cover the grid with pebbles. Jan says that glazed water jars work very well as the glazing is easy to wipe clean and it protects the clay underneath from water exposure.

A stand-alone focal pot