How to Design a Front Porch With Pots & Plants

Updated February 21, 2017

A front porch decorated with beautiful hanging baskets or containers overflowing with plants will greatly increase your home's kerbside appeal. In fact, if the home is up for sale, a porch with pots and plants may positively influence buyers as an inviting porch makes visitors want to come inside. Creating a well-planned porch will require mostly your imagination and a few ideas from gardening books and magazines. For additional practical ideas, look at many porches in the neighbourhood. When planting, always ensure that your selected plants will work with the area's climate and day-to-day weather.

Measure the porch space, including the length, width and spacing of all railings. Sketch several plant arrangements for hanging baskets if hanging plants will be appropriate for the space. However, don't overpower the porch with too many baskets. Arrange to hang just four to six baskets across the front, for example. Refer to gardening magazines for climbing or hanging plants that will work in your particular climate.

Select materials for the hanging baskets. Buy pots in clay or wood, for example, for a more upscale look for the house. Keep in mind that natural materials look most appropriate with brick or stucco houses. Use plastic pots to hang plants on a side porch or back porch. Shop for pots that are large enough to allow for plenty of root growth. Buy extra potting soil to add to the new baskets and containers.

Create a design for the front door area. For example, buy a couple of large ceramic plants that will hold one evergreen tree each. Place these containers on each side of the front door. Create a topiary, which is a trimmed bush cut into a design, for each container if the house is extremely formal. These container plant styles work best on a porch with an open front and few railings.

Build shelves if the porch is informal. Construct shelves at one or both ends of the porch to hold a variety of plants. Use heavy containers, which may be weighed down with stones inside the soil, to keep the wind from shifting the plants. Make sure that you have the time to water and prune the amount of plants you purchase, since a grouping of plants will take a significant amount of time to maintain. Add shelves against the house's facade at a level no taller than the porch railings if many plants or types of plants will be incorporated into the design.

Add awnings or roll-down porch blinds that can be used in hot weather. Make sure that a porch in extreme sun or a hot climate uses shade to preserve its plants. However, don't use blinds on the front of the porch, unless it's a side porch or back porch. Keep the design work more formal for kerbside porches, even if the house itself is not overly formal. Consider adding some lattice work along the railings for informal porches to shade plants.


Talk with a greenhouse operator in your area to learn which plants that will grow easily outdoors. Buy cacti, for example, if the weather will accommodate these plants. Build a mixture of plants only on informal porches, since a formal porch should have larger plants that typically match and have precise spacing between them.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tools
  • Sketch pad
  • Gardening magazines
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.