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Help needed with large planters

Hello all, 

This is my first post (hopefully in the correct category) and I am a complete novice so please go easy on me!!

We are planning to build two raised planters 45cm wide, 4.3 metres long and 60cm/40cm deep.

One of these will run along a wall and sit on a timber deck, the plan is to plant something that will offer an evergreen shielding and can be maintained at around 120cm. The wall is south facing and gets a fair amount of sun. We were thinking of putting some bamboo in there but are concerned as it gets a bit of bad press.

In the second bed faces in the same direction, we were thinking of putting some grasses and heather but are a bit concerned about a lack of colour.

If anyone can help with some ideas or warnings about what we intend to do it would be much appreciated 

Thanks in advance 




  • MontysGalMontysGal Posts: 70
    I’m far from an expert myself, but if you’re worried about the bamboo running riots in your new planters, you could sink large pots into the bed and plant them in those so that the roots are contained and they can’t roam to where you don’t want them. There are also clumping varieties which don’t spread so much too. 
  • NoviceleeNovicelee Posts: 10
    Thanks MontysGal, I’ll look into the clumping varieties.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,668
    Is the planter on the decking going to have a base ? You might need to consider that any watering of bamboo (which needs a lot of water) might rot the decking underneath.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • ElferElfer Posts: 329
    Or provide some form of drainage away from the decking.
  • NoviceleeNovicelee Posts: 10
    Thanks guys, I should have said I intend to drill holes when the planters are in position slide some conduit through and layer some stone over to aid drainage, does this sound about right?
  • ElferElfer Posts: 329
    Daphne eternal fragrance
    Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve'
    Ceanothus Concha (with a frame)

    These will add a bit of colour and are mostly evergreen.

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,614
    Can we have pictures,I have 3 bamboos in pots the potted 2 years ago,they do need a huge amount of water,and I find they fill the allotted space very quickly. What about Stipa giant oat grass
  • NoviceleeNovicelee Posts: 10
    Thanks elfer I’ll look into those.
    Nanny beach, I haven’t made them just yet, waiting on a timber delivery. I can post a picture of where they will be positioned if that helps?
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,326
    45cm is not really wide enough, long term, for even the smallest clumping bamboos and you will struggle to maintain them at 120cm, they look rather inelegant chopped back. I would suggest a combination of grasses, airy Verbena Bonariensis and a tall agastache like Black Adder. These will hit your height range pretty well, provide screening but not be too blocky and dense. I don’t know a lot about grasses but Calamagrostis Karl Foerster was recently recommended to me, but others would be best placed to advise on them. You could add the odd pop of colour and contrast or have some trailing plants over the edges.

    How much coverage will you want in winter though? If you want it to be evergreen, the above suggestions won’t work!

    You will certainly have to consider drainage on your wooden deck, perhaps drill a couple of ‘seep’ holes (where will the water drain to tho?) near the bottom and add a layer of gravel in the base. If the planters are also of wood, line the sides and base with black plastic to protect it, punctured for drainage where appropriate.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,614
    Definitely,they give a nice effect similar to bamboo a lot cheaper,a decent size bamboo will set you back £100 each. If you are going for a bamboo or grass look,I think heather would look out of place.  Daphne's don't like full sun.
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