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Budget-Friendly Winter Outdoor Planters

Looking for budget-friendly winter outdoor planters inspiration? Learn how to design these simple outdoor planters for winter. And the best part? It costs little to nothing.

Out of all the season, winter container gardening is my favorite.


Because I can design beautiful containers with little to no budget just by walking out to the yard and taking some cuttings.

Want to learn how to create your own?

Designing winter outdoor planters requires minimal investment when you use what you have on hand. Not to mention, winter container gardens look pretty for months and are pretty low maintenance to care for.

If you don’t have a variety of evergreens on your property to cut from, it’s just as easy to supplement with greens from the local nursery.

This year, I decided to forego an elaborate planting with a rustic, no-budget concept by using what I had on hand in my landscape.

And I’m pretty happy with the result!

Whether you have a green or black thumb, you can achieve the same look.

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Budget-Friendly Winter Outdoor Planters

Gather Supplies for Your Winter Outdoor Planters

First, determine what type of containers you want to use. Then look around your landscape for wintry plants, shrubs and trees.

What types of evergreen shrubs or trees do you have in your yard?

I typically use cuttings from boxwood, andromeda, rhododendron, and other evergreen trees because that’s what I have in my yard.

If you don’t have many evergreen options in your yard, ask a neighbor or friend to cut some from their landscapes.

If none is available, greens can be purchased from your local nursery before the holidays.

When choosing the greens for your containers, consider the thriller, filler and spiller technique for container garden design.

Since evergreen plants and shrubs are all, well…green, look for cuttings that are different shades of green, with different shaped or sized leaves and varying textures.

One of my rhododendrums after it snowed. I love how the big ovular shape leaves break up the greens in the containers. These make great filler plants.

How I Designed My Winter Outdoor Planters:

For my front porch urns, I used cuts from our Christmas tree as both the thriller and spiller.

The cuts were pretty large and since I was planting in urns, I wanted to create a conical shape to enhance the urn’s architecture.

Budget-Friendly Winter Outdoor Planters
A young boxwood plant from my yard. The smaller leaves and branches make great filler by adding more texture and depth.

For the filler, I used cuttings from boxwood, andromeda and rhododendrum shrubs.

Since I love the large shape of rhododendrum leaves, I also used them as some spiller in the lower front of each urn to soften the top edge of the urn.

Pieris Japonica, aka Andromeda, after a dusting of snow. These plants also make great filler by adding a yellow/greenish hue with medium sized leaves and provide more natural color when cut with these beautiful red buds.

To break up the varying shades and textures of the greens and add more interest, I incorporated dried flower heads from my garden.

Sedum ‘autumn joy’ is perfect for this.

I have a lot of it in my yard and they have these gorgeous large flat reddish-brown looking seed heads.

Could you use something else if you don’t have these?


You could even go to the craft store or local nursery and pick up some berry twigs, pinecones or something else that strikes your fancy to add pops of color and texture.

Sedum “Autumn Joy” seed head in winter.

Time to Take Cuttings for the Winter Container Garden

After determining what shrubs and trees you are using, grab a good set of pruners and make sure they are clean before you use them.

I run a Clorox Wipe over them to clean and disinfect them before making cuts to avoid spreading disease and promote good plant hygiene.

After cleaning the pruners, make your cuts.

Clean the pruners off between plants.

Gather your cuttings, potting soil, containers and gloves (if you use them).

Add Fresh Soil to Containers

If you do not have potting soil in your containers, add fresh soil.

Then start stuffing it with the thriller, filler and spiller planting technique.

And I want to note that I use the thriller, filler and spiller planting technique for both garden planters and centerpieces.

While working, it’s important to stop and step back a few times to look at each container for symmetry and fullness.

Often times, I go back into the landscape and cut more so I can stuff them as much as I can until they look nice and full.

Close up of my urn so you can see how rustic and simple it looks with cuttings from the yard.

Winter Outdoor Planter Care

After designing your winter container garden, water it.

If your container is not under a protected area like a front porch or awning, the outdoor elements should take care of them all winter long.

If your containers are under a protected area, you have two options: water them every now and again, or leave them be and let them dry out when they dry out.

I typically go with the latter.

My outdoor planters for winter fall under my roof line and usually look pretty good until about mid-February.

I pull them away from the roofline during inclement weather or water them when I remember which will help them last longer.

But to be honest, I tend to forget so I pretty much just leave them be.

And that’s it!

You are on your way to planting your own winter outdoor planters.

Want More Winter Decorating Ideas?

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Buget-Friendly DIY Outdoor Planters for Winter

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