While garden centers show off concrete and ceramic planters and wooden boxes that can serve as homes for your flowers and plants, there are far more creative vessels in which to place your garden and landscape blooms. Here are some of the top trends in artsy homes for your plants:
--Wheelbarrows. Ideally aged and weathered ones, perhaps those found for a few dollars at a flea market or yard sale, filled with treated soil. Your plants might even benefit from the iron of the wheelbarrow's metal. If you'd like to grow edibles in your wheelbarrow, you might place already potted herbs and items such as jalapeno pepper plants in your wheelbarrow, and then fill it up with soil to make a natural, earthy presentation.
--Wagons. Don't use a valuable heirloom Radio Flyer for this garden project, since antique wagons can fetch a fine price at yard sales. An aged, metal wagon -- again, from the flea market -- makes a playful display vehicle for your potted mini plants and flowers.
--Birdbaths. A thin layer of soil may be enough for wildflowers to grow, or you can place small potted plants on top of the ceramic or metal birdbath for a custom cluster of colorful garden pieces.
--Tin buckets. Flea markets have these in plentiful supply. Old tin buckets may have once been the receptacles for the milkman's deliveries or they might have once held firewood. Now they can hold your plants and flowers and add a metallic accent to your garden.
--Watering cans. For smaller bunches of flowers or herbs, a wide-mouthed metal watering can -- perhaps last season's watering can that lost a bit of its vibrant color from prolonged sun exposure -- is an ideal garden-themed vessel.
--Rubber boots. Last season's colorful or patterned gardening boots can be transferred from your garage out into your garden as a whimsical, bright holder for a single potted plant. And if you have several pairs of these, you might place one floral-filled boot on the side of each step leading down from your deck into your backyard. Use large boots for parents and small boots for kids, and each member of the family can plant his or her own.
--Rubber clogs. Small plants can be placed in these colorful shoes as well after you've nail-gunned the shoes artistically into the sides of a wood shed or onto a wood garden post.
--Terrarium bowls. Or old fishbowls. The glass may be stained or clouded, which makes them perfect for being filled with soil and then with flowers, herbs or green plants.
--Tricycle basket. An old tricycle gets new life when you wheel it out under a tree or into your landscaping by your garage door or on the side of your walkway, and fill the handlebar basket with potted flowers or green plants.
--Vintage suitcase. An inexpensive flea-market find, old suitcases can be perched on a stone wall and filled with an array of colorful seasonal blooms. Since the suitcases were so budget-friendly, you won't mind if they get wet outdoors.
--Desk with open drawers. Set this one on your covered or screened-in porch, with those open drawers holding cascading green plants and potted flowers. Add in small metal d?cor pieces to add an extra element of texture and color.
--Bench with the seat removed. An old unusable garden bench can have its seat removed and replaced by planter boxes filled with seasonal flowers, herbs or even climbing plants that grow up the back of the bench.
--Wooden pallets. These are a top trend in garden design, with some gardeners making furniture out of them. If you're not up for making couches, you can flip yours upside down and fill them with soil and wildflower seeds.
--Teapots and teacups. These tiny accents add a pop of color on a d?cor table or on an outdoor display shelf, and they can hold a small potted flower, cactus, succulent, mini ivy or ferns.
Look through the storage space in your garage and basement, and you might find the perfect tin boxes or other containers that can find new life outside in the sun, holding your pretty floral plantings and adding a touch of creativity, artistry and whimsy to your garden and lawn style.