Your front door is your home’s chance to make a first impression; this summer, greet your guests with a splashy container garden. Denver Dirty Girls—Sheila Schultz and Laurel Startzel, a mother-daughter garden design duo with more than 25 combined years of experience—shows us how.

Pick the Right Pot
Make sure your container has at least one drainage hole to regulate water intake, and find a ceramic
pot that is high-fired (frost-proof). “Otherwise, your pot will crack within a year or two,” Schultz says.

Mind Care Instructions
Pick a collection of plants that have the same water and sunlight needs, Startzel says, to increase
the chances of your whole pot lasting the entire season.

Know the Formula
All great container gardens have three elements: thriller, spiller, and filler. “The ‘thriller’ is the one that catches your attention when you walk through the nursery. The ‘spiller’ trails over the pot. And the ‘filler’ fills in all the empty spaces,” says Schultz.

Go for Variety
“Look for color echoes,” Schultz says. “If you have a green agave with red trim, use the red trim and play it off on a flower.” Remember this concept when combining textures as well.



1) Nick’s Garden and Farm Center
2001 S. Chambers Road, Aurora, 303-696-6657,

2) Tagawa Gardens
7711 S. Parker Road, Centennial, 303-690-4722,

3) Paulino Gardens
6300 N. Broadway, 303-429-8062,