Courtyard Container Planting

By Kate Riley March 21, 2016

With spring in the air I wanted to share a special little spot in my backyard where I enjoy morning coffee or evening wine, it’s our courtyard just off the kitchen. I was invited by the Sunset Western Garden Collection to spruce up a section of my yard and this space was the perfect place.

courtyard containers

 outdoor fireplace plantings

Just like with the fall planting bed project, I selected a medley of plants on the Sunset Western Garden Collection website, they arrived on my porch and I took them out of their boxes and gave them a drink.

  sunset plants boxes

 jubilation gardenia box

Rather than buying expensive new planters I turned to a cheaper method. One of the easiest ways to make plastic containers look classier is good ol’ spray paint. Make sure you get one that works on plastic, some do some don’t.

 spray paint for plastic

To make inexpensive brown plastic planters and blue buckets work with my fern green and black palette I spray painted them with Rustoleum paint + primer.

 contrast plants

Often overlooked are dark leafed plants but I’m loving the ‘Purple Pixie’ Lorolpetalum as a contrast to the abundance of green leaves in the ‘Mountain Snow’ Pieris that is about to bloom in the black pot.

 sunset plants painted containers


On the fireplace ledge sits ‘Soft Caress’ Mahonia in the black containers and ‘Lemon Lime’ Nandina in the painted green buckets, the medley is lush to look at during the day. (On the rare occasion we light the fire at night I move them to the ground.)

 spray painted planters

Around the corner are containers of budding ‘Jubilation’ Gardenia and fragrant ‘Chef’s Choice’ Rosemary.

 rosemary gardenia

I made a few easy envelope pillow covers with outdoor fabrics found at Joanns, they are HGTV Hazy Days Citron and Tropix Vroome Fresco Night. The rug is the Alise Garden Stripe from Overstock.


  chair courtyard 

 pillows chairs bench

The loveseat and sofa I’ve had for eight or so years, they used to sit in the cabana on the upper patio but I moved the set the courtyard next to the fireplace, and the dining table to the upper patio next to the BBQ which makes more sense for entertaining.

 courtyard sitting 

 chairs pillows

I like to use a bench as a coffee table in this sitting area so I can set down a drink or prop my feet up. The slatted wood bench is from West Elm but it’s five years old and was looking weathered and shabby so I lightly sanded it and gave it two coats of Minwax stain in Ebony to refresh it for the season.

 ebony minwax stain

 black stained bench

 loveseat planters black bench


This spot is my absolute favorite place to enjoy a glass of local wine at the end of the day!

 glass of chardonnay 

 courtyard planters bench

Many thanks to the Sunset Western Garden Collection for supplying the plants and sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.



  1. Beautiful plants and patio! I just wanted to let you know that I went to the website and I don’t see a shipping option. Am I missing something?

  2. Kate, so beautiful and so inviting. Spray painting plastic pots is such a good idea are easier to move around than clay pots. Did you prime them first?

    Your blog is my very favorite. Can’t wait to see what you do to your Las Vegas house.

    Happy Easter. Rita

  3. Absolutely gorgeous! Dreamy dreamy. I love green & this space is so inviting!

  4. I love your court yard and have had the pleasure of enjoying wine there! I was interested in the plants from Sunset – they look amazing…and yes paint is one of my favorite things to use to make things look new and timeless!!

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