Patios: Planning for pots

Gardening column
By: Kurt Voigt Special to The News Messenger
-A +A
One of the design aspects of Mediterranean-themed landscaping or any themed landscaping is placing large pots or urns on the patio for large plants or small trees. These large pots or planters in theme parks are becoming more popular to help break up the amount of concrete at the eye level, add more ?green? and is cooling to the eye. Theme parks such as Great America, Disneyland and even the Santa Cruz Boardwalk have been doing it for years. As elaborate landscape designs are using more and more concrete around pools, decks and large entertainment areas, the need and desire for pots is now at the residential homeowner level. Whether you?re placing a pot on concrete, sand or gravel, the process is the same, with the exception of concrete. Here are several suggestions or tips: If you are planning for a concrete patio, one of my old bosses once told me, ?Always throw in an extra sleeve for electrical, water or other usage because, once you pour, you can?t go back in and add it later. If you don?t need it, that?s fine but at least it?s there if you do.? Sleeves are pieces of large pipe you put in the ground before you pour the concrete so that you can run power, water or drainage when the concrete is done. I took it a step further and added a drain with a brass grate imbedded in the concrete and connected to a drainage system of pipes so that when you water your pots, the water doesn?t run down the patio and leave a stain. As you see in the picture, the drain is offset from the PVC pipe, so when you slide the pot over the pipe, the drain hole in the pot doesn?t line up over the drain. I siliconed around the pipe and, using a mason drill bit, drilled another hole over the drain grate. I put a coupler on the ½? PVC pipe, converted it to drip and now my pots are on their own valve on the timer and get their own watering schedule, which is more frequent than the landscape. It?s good to get all your pots on a valve so when you go on vacation or leave town, they get watered automatically. Irrigation timers are wonderful! There are no stains on my concrete and the pots get automatically watered. Just some foresight is needed to plan for the future needs in your landscape. It?s better to over design with regard to pipe for lighting and irrigation than not and later wished you had thrown that piece of pipe in the ground. It?s pennies spent now or dollars spent later to fix it. Kurt Voigt is a landscape designer/consultant. He can be reached at