The best investment you can make is in a well made planter that suits your needs. In order to make that determination, you need to know a little about what is out there. After all, not only do you have local options, but you also have Online options.
So, let's get started. First, pick out your plants, and learn a little about their needs. Are you going to need to bring them in, during the winter? If you are, a two hundred pound cement planter is not going to be ideal, unless the Hulk lives nearby. Will your plant of choice need drainage? Most plants do. Will your plant need sun, shade, or a little of both? How much soil will you need, to grow a healthy plant? There are other possibilities, but these are the most influential, for our purposes.
When you have decided on a good size, you will need to think about the material. The material will have bearing on the weight of the planter. As I said before, if you are going to need to move the planter inside for the winter, or relocate it for a different season, you will want to choose a planter that is lightweight. Here, we have several options, which I will go over, one by one.
Terra-cotta planters have a very classic beauty, whether painted, and glazed, or left natural. The natural terra-cotta planters just remind me of my Grandmother's garden. They give an old world feel, to anyone's patio. As for painted, or glazed, there are some very artistic designs, if you look for them. You will need to bring them in, when it gets cold. They are a natural pot, and will give way, to cracking, in the winter. However, many people feel that their benefits supersede their drawbacks. For instance, terra-cotta is an earth-based medium which allows air and water to pass freely; this promotes healthy roots. You will need to water regularly. For the highest quality terra-cotta, look for an even toned, reddish brown hue, and thick walls.
For terra-cotta lovers, who are not interested in the maintenance of terra-cotta, lets look at the resin. Resin, or Polyethylene, is a very lightweight and durable plastic. It can be left outdoors year round, in any climate zone, and the good ones will have UV inhibitors, and come with a ten year, or more warranty. Resin will fully retain water, unless drilled, for drainage. Resin can come in just about any shape, size, or color. It can have the look of just about any other material, including stone, terra-cotta, and more. There is a stigma about plastic planters, but if you see a high-end resin planter bursting with plumage, you will instantly forget your inhibitions.
They say, Nothing like the real thing, but they have never seen fiberglass. Fiberglass offers resistance to weathering and sharp detail. Fiberglass, when compared to its concrete counterparts, is lightweight, and offers impeccable textures. It can give the look, and feeling of cast stone, terra-cotta, or metal. It utilizes fiberglass strands, which lend strength to the material, allowing clearer details, and textures. The only real downside to fiberglass is that they are a little vulnerable to flaking or chipping, when met with a blow.
Metal planters can give you a very streamline, and modern look. At the same time, if you choose a rusted finish, you can get a completely different feel. They are generally offered in a wide variety of styles, and finishes. They are usually made from sheet metal, and are lightweight, making them easy to move. One thing to bear in mind: rusting. It's going to happen. Like any metal outdoor decor, if you seal it every couple of years, with a clear coating, it will last much longer. Some manufacturers are now coating metal pots with a UV resistant sealant that reflects the sun's rays and protects the metal from rust.
If you are looking for old world class, look no further. Cast stone offers weather resistance, durability, and sheer beauty. They are a little heavier than some of the other options that we discussed, but still lighter than what you will find in a concrete statuary outlet. They can limit you in the color department, but they are typically offered in a range of earth tones, that will compliment any patio.
Now you should feel armed with some useful information, that may make your decision making process a little more productive. There are still more planter options, not discussed here. Don't be afraid to share your experiences with us!