The Easiest Front Porch Planters Ever

How to put together the easiest front porch planters ever. A super simple idea to dress up your front door area. These fern planters will transform your porch from drab to amazing!

(Originally published in 2017, this post has been continually updated with new ideas and inspiration, and more tips.)

black front porch planters and blue front door 2022

Today I’m sharing how to make show-stopping, impressive planters in just a few minutes. These are truly the easiest front porch planters ever. Adding greenery and live plants to your front porch entryway is a welcoming way to greet your guests, and you will make a great first impression!

Over the years, I have featured many different planters on our Sutton Place front porch. From olive buckets, to galvanized washtubs, to classic tall planters, there have been many different looks. In the image below you can see how I took basic 16 inch square black planters to the next level by simply adding ferns.

mayne black planters with ferns 2022

What Can I Put In My Front Porch Planter?

Although you can put perennials in planters, the most common plants to use are annuals. Make sure to consider if your space gets full sun, part sun, or full shade, and then choose accordingly. Good suggestions for colorful annuals are:

  • Geraniums
  • Pansies
  • Sweet potato vine
  • Coleus
  • Marigolds
  • Petunias
  • Impatiens
  • Ivy

When I first got these square planters, I had visions of filling them with colorful blooms. Instead, I decided to fill them with healthy and beautiful ferns. The process is so simple and fast that literally anyone can do this.

easiest porch planters 2022

Where to Get Outdoor Planters + Garden Containers

Lowe’s had rows and rows of healthy ferns for a reasonable price, and a great selection of pots and planters in all sizes. Pots and planters are also readily available at places like Walmart, Home Depot, Michaels, other craft stores, and big box stores. Another fast and efficient way to find planters is to shop online.

An Easy Front Porch Planter Idea

One trick for repurposing flower pots you already have is to give them a makeover by applying a fresh coat of spray paint. No matter what you started out with, painting mismatched pots a uniform color will give you the look of a carefully curated collection of planters!

How to Assemble the Fern Planters

What makes this porch planter idea so easy is the fact that the ferns can be left in their original containers. There is no need to remove them from their containers, and repot them in your planters. With this method you don’t need potting soil, which saves time and money.

fern planter assembly 2022

Depending on how tall your planters are, the ferns may set inside at the correct height. However, the chances of this happening are very slim. If you need to raise the ferns up so they are the perfect height, simply put packing material in the bottom of your planters. The list below details the different materials you can use to raise the fern containers.

  • Packing peanuts (put the packing peanuts in a mesh bag, the kind that oranges or potatoes come in, before adding dirt.)
  • Packing pillows.
  • Plastic grocery sacks.
  • Plastic water bottles, soda bottles, or milk jugs.
  • A plastic container or empty pot turned upside down.
  • A pool noodle from the Dollar Store (easily cut with scissors to your desired size.)
black front porch planter with fern 2022

Not including the time it took to shop for the ferns, these planters took less than ten minutes to assemble. You can use this method with any sort of front porch planter, even large, inexpensive terra cotta pots. The trick is making sure that the original container (the one the plant came in) fits inside your decorative planter. 

Symmetrical Home Decor: Flanking Your Entrance With Ferns

As a lover of symmetry, I always use matching planters that flank our front door. But if you like to mix things up a bit, grouping smaller pots together is a wonderful way to add interest. It’s also fun to add an outdoor lantern or garden statue.

front porch planters 2017

Fun Facts About Ferns

Ferns are very forgiving and super easy to maintain. They can be neglected for days, but once watered, their foliage bounces right back. Of course, regular watering is best! It’s also helpful to use a water-soluble fertilizer once a month. A few readers mentioned in the comment section that it’s a good idea to spritz the fern fronds with cool water one or two times a week.

A covered porch is the perfect home for ferns, as they thrive in shade. The most popular fern for porches is the beautiful and cascading Boston fern. Ferns are also the perfect thing to use in a hanging planter. The fronds fall over the sides of the plant pots, and they look so lovely blowing softly in the wind. Ferns also look beautiful in tall planters. They have just the right amount of height and visual weight, yet they don’t make a tall planter look top-heavy.

black planters filled with ferns on front porch 2022

Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

Where to get the front porch planters

The black square planters in the images above are made by Mayne, and they sell out very quickly. There are different styles and colors, but they will all give your home a timeless and classic look. Mayne planters are great for a gardener with a busy lifestyle, because they are also self-watering. The square planters featured in this post are called Cape Cod planters. They are available on many retail sites, so shop around for the best price. Here are a few helpful links:

Other shopping sources:

ferns in white planters

How Do I Choose A Planter For My Front Door?

The simplest way to choose planters is to follow your heart, and buy what you love. If you choose to purchase more expensive planters, and want to keep them around for a while, you can change the look and feel of your space by varying the plants.

fern in white planter

I like to change my porch planters, and I move them from the front to the back, and vice versa. As I said at the beginning, this post was originally published in 2017. Two years later, in 2019, I recreated the same fern planters, but used white metal pots instead of the black planters.

summer planters and layered hello doormats

After that, in 2020, I purchased yet another set of porch planters, so I could change the look and feel of our front porch. These planters (pictured above) are very lightweight, and look like galvanized metal. I planted sweet potato vine, impatiens, and ivy, and by late summer, they were overflowing and beautiful.

sweet potato vine planters on porch

When spring of 2021 rolled around, I decided to move the faux galvanized planters to our back patio so I could use them for herbs. I had a difficult time deciding on what to put on the front porch, and in the end, I painted two ugly pots to match our front door. Once again, I used ferns, and as you can see in the image below, the green popped right off the blue pots.

fern in navy blue planter1

The summer I painted the navy blue pots turned out to be our last summer at the Sutton Place house. When we moved to our current home, I placed white Polywood planters on our new front porch. (They were used on our back patio on Sutton Place.) I wanted to add charm and curb appeal to our plain porch, so I chose to fill the white planters with ferns. It instantly made me feel like I was home!

front door painted Sherwin Williams Distance with fern planters

I will continue to update this post as new inspiration becomes available. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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63 Comments

  1. Great post about your front porch ferns but a couple of (semi related) follow up questions:

    1. Can you explain more about the washable layering rugs in your Amazon store? e.g. the buffalo plaid, etc. What do you use to layer them? I love the look and the fact that they can be used outside but puzzled about their use.
    2. In the photo of the ferns in the white planters, can you share more info about the greenery wreath on the front door?

    Thanks for all your inspiration!

    1. Hi Mary! I layer the larger washable rug under a regular coir doormat. The bottom rug usually measures about 2 x 3 ft. and the doormats measure about 18 x 30 in. So the sizing is perfect. Unfortunately, the door wreath is no longer available. I did find something similar, and provided a link in a Shop + Source section towards the end of the post. Thank you!

  2. Ann,
    I’ve always loved your front porch (in this house and your former house). I get great ideas from your blog and those contributions of the other talented women.
    Thank you.
    Karen B.

  3. I just bought both of the planters you show. First the aluminum looking planters for the back porch then the black Mayne Cape Cod planters for my front porch I love them both but especially the black Cape Cods. Bonus that they have a water reservoir. Thanks for the recommendations

  4. I’m looking for some tall planters to put on porch stairs – I’m old enough to need an occasional steadying spot but I don’t want to install a hand rail yet since it would involve drilling into the house brick. So, once I find the correct pots, I like the ideas to use some bricks to weigh the pots down and then add the pool noodles to make up the space for the inserts. Ferns do well down in OK and then I’ll find something for the colder months.

    About bringing plants that have been outside for the summer – be sure to check the plant, soil and pot, including the water saucer. One year, I had a few black widow spiders visit the ferns – I’ve learned what areas to always wear gloves and use a small rake to check leaves, stones, etc. And, another year, I found a small garden snake inside my house after I brought a pot. I think it was curled up in the water saucer.

    I have a couple of inexpensive plastic planters that I refresh with spray paint. This year, I plan to use them for veggies – patio (compact) versions of tomatoes, cucumbers and micro greens. A few packet of seeds may help with the produce bill.

  5. Pool Noodles make excellent filler too. You can usually find then at the Dollar Store. Easily cut to length with regular scissors!

  6. This is genius! Thanks so much for sharing. I love the look!

  7. Good morning. I’m a fairly new follower of your blog and what I love about it is the simplicity of it all! Your writing makes me feel like you are my next door neighbor that I can just run over to visit or help with a project or you run over to help me with a project. :) Your honesty about what you’re encountering as you plan for projects is refreshing. One of my first things to try from here was the Mother’s Day Banners! Beautiful and so easy. Sent 7 of them out to the younger nieces and nephews for them to place for their Moms. They loved them! My own Mother has been gone for 2 years now and I miss her every day – wanting to talk to her one more time. So, thank you for what you are sharing – it’s wonderful.

  8. Janet Johnston says:

    Where did you purchase your pots? They are exactly what I have been looking for but can’t find! Thanks.

  9. Hi! I just joined and am going through some of your older posts. I noticed the pots on your front porch that were filled with tiny blue flowers. Can you tell me what they are? (It was the picture for your “Easy Porch Planters”. Thx! Loving your site!!

    1. Hi Delphine…the little blue flowers are lobelia. They do really well in the spring and early summer, but when the hot temps appear, they tend to fade and dry up. They are pretty though!

  10. Love the look of your ferns and the containers. Do Boston ferns do well outside thoug? I had them once and the leaves kept dropping. There is another species of ferns, are they much better for outside?

  11. Kathryn Olson says:

    I simply lo-o-ove the look of the planter and the fern….what an easy way to dress up a front porch! My problem is that I’ve had problems keeping ferns healthy so I’ve stayed away from buying them. I’ve always been told ferns are a shade-only plant so putting them on a sunny front porch possibly wouldn’t be a good idea. And I’ve been told ferns need “misting” quite often. I guess I’d better do a little more research before I buy my planter. Lol!

    1. Hi Kathryn…ferns do need shade that’s true. I really don’t do anything to my ferns but water them!

  12. ♥️ Your ideas for the front entrance hope I can find ferns like this .

  13. Donna Wyatt says:

    We use plastic water bottles in the bottom of our large planters. It makes the planters easier to move and does not require so much point soil to fill the container.

  14. Love it. Ferns are such a simple way to dress up an area. They look awesome in the black container. Thanks so much for your great recipes too. I recently made your strawberry walnut bread. Awesome. I would never have thought to roast the walnuts.

  15. Sue Marsjanik says:

    What size are your black square pots, as I see they come in different sizes?

    1. Hi Sue! My pots are the 16-inch squares. My porch is pretty small but if you have a bigger space, you could definitely size up. Thank you!

  16. My planters are empty at the moment…..LOVE this idea. I will keep my eye out for some ferns.

  17. I love my gardens. But I can’t keep up anymore & I have also found hanging baskets are a lifesaver! I just set them in my pot & like you raise them if necessary. (I have used floral foam blocks.). By removing the hanger it looks like they were pottted just for that container! And I use ferns too.

  18. Donna Vaughn says:

    Love the planters! Would you share the paint color on your door, please? Thanks!

  19. I love them! I can’t wait to get a few. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Norma Williams says:

    I think your porch planters look great and I am going to try them on my back porch. I also will try to get some of the youth at the church I attend to build 3 for the courtyard at the church. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Charlotte says:

    I love it! Looks great! I had ferns hanging on my porch at our old place and birds built nest after nest in them, even building a nest ON TOP OF another. It was heartbreaking. We had to keep removing the nests because one year we found a few abandoned nests with abandoned baby birds in them–it was heartbreaking :( Someone I used to work with told me that in the future I should grab a few plastic snakes from the Dollar Tree and weave them into the fern towards the bottom of the plant–I did and it seemed to work. I don’t know if you deal with nest problems or not but thought I’d pass that tip along!!

  22. Beautiful and so simple!

  23. WOW I love your new planters and ferns. Have always loved the ease and beauty of ferns; your black planters really make a statement at the front door. Very nice.

  24. Thanks for this. I have been shopping for tall planters and came across some that are hollow like this. I wasn’t sure how to plant them, thinking that filling it up with that much dirt would make them too heavy to move if I need to rearrange. I’m going to give it a try.

  25. Great idea, ferns are so beautiful, I just love your cheerful porch!

  26. So simple and beautiful!
    When I need to fill the bottom of a large planter, I go to the recycling and get aluminum cans. Takes up lots of space and leaves air space for drainage.

  27. The planters are beautiful, I had a white one in my back yard for years on my patio filled with a fern in summer and coleus in fall. Never planted them in, used smashed water bottles, cans, or milk cartons until it was time to change the plants then I just recycled the used bottles or cartons and started fresh for next year. No mess incontainer and could move it any where ????

  28. I love the planters! I was going to make some just like those, but when I saw that these were plastic I was sold, no painting! Thank you for sharing, mine are coming tomorrow, can’t wait.

  29. They look great! A word of caution if using packing peanuts…put them in a plastic bag first. Otherwise you will have a nightmare to deal with…especially if you plant directly in the soil of the pot. You know how I know this too! Have a great weekend! ;)

  30. Nancy McIntosh says:

    P.S. Sometimes I’ve used an empty planter or pot turned upside down inside a container to give it height to sit a hanging basket or other container on.

  31. Nancy McIntosh says:

    What a great idea! So simple and easy, yet the ferns are so beautiful. Sometimes simple is better! Love them accented by the black planters. I always look forward to your posts – feel like we are friends.

  32. Certainly turned put pretty and very easy, but won’t that make a nasty wet mess on the inside of the container when you water?
    I think bricks or a cement block would be better, plus give more stability in a windy area. Just my thoughts……

    1. Bricks would certainly work but are way too heavy for me…my thought was to keep it light-weight. Great idea though!

  33. I am still so in love with your olive buckets, but I know the need to want to change things up every now and then. I love the simple, classic look of the black planters contrasted with the bright green ferns. They look as if they were made for each other. I have yet to see any ferns that are as glorious and bountiful as yours, I’m taking a Lowe’s trip tomorrow.
    These planters and ferns make such a wonderful yet simple presence on your porch!

  34. Hi Ann, I love your olive buckets but I also just love your new black Containers! Your rug just pops with your new ferns. I live in a Chicago suburb and for the last five years or so I’ve used the ferns just as you did. They always look great and are easy. FYI: I’ve never had the need to transplant them. They always do great in the original pot but I do fertilize them weekly. HAPPY EASTER!!

  35. Frances Rixon says:

    I buy eight of these every year and simply put pot in all my antique outside urns….easy peasy and they grow beautifully!

  36. Karen K from Buffalo says:

    Can’t wait until the ferns are available in our area. I had them for two years & I loved them!! The only problem I had in September was what to do with them as they had grown too big. The span of them was almost 3 feet & I didn’t have room for the two of them in the house. But I will get them again & enjoy them this spring & summer. Love the contrast with the black planters also!

  37. Ann, you have done it gain, impress, impress, I just love Boston ferns too, they are so hardy and even withstood a few cold snaps in my hometown of Pearland, Texas. We are between Houston and Clear Lake (NASA). Also, I really love your doormat the colors are gorgeous. As always, I love your blog.
    Have a happy and blessed Easter and don’t eat too many chocolate bunnies.

  38. They look lovely.Always had ferns living in New Jersey.Now
    that we live in Florida,I have them here and they stay all
    year and grow very big.I think it adds a bit of the south to
    the front porch.

  39. Jacque Avant says:

    I love this very simple and economic idea. So very easy. Thank you.

  40. Cheryl Brandt says:

    Love the looks of your porch. Simple is simply lovely! I always use Boston ferns-they do so well on the north side, which is what I need. I heard these tips several years ago, and I’m convinced that it is how I keep mine so pretty for so long into the hot summer. 1. Never fertilize. 2. Mist with water every few days. They seem to thrive on the moisture (but not wetness) among the fronds. There will always be fronds that brown out, but I just clip them off close to the crown, and new, fresh ones will appear! I love your blog, and while I’m not usually a “comment-er”, rest assured that I read and enjoy every post!

  41. Louise Wozniak says:

    The planters look great! Simple and perfect!

  42. I always think that ferns look so elegant. The black pots also help in that regard. They look very nice flanking your door.

  43. Hi Ann, Thanks for the great idea! They look lovely. I have similar planter boxes and use a gladware container turned upside down to give the pots some height. I use the same ones year after year.
    Another tip I have is to slice up pool noodles and put them in the bottom of large pots then plant on top of them. They provide good drainage and the pots aren’t so heavy. These are reuseable too.

    Happy Easter!

  44. Sandi Weiler says:

    Great minds run the same. I do this on my porch. My neighbors just think we are so smart!!!!
    I did this at my church entrance also. and put a wooden bench between… Everyone just oos and awes how how quick and pretty it is.

    Thanks for always inspiring us, Ann.. and don”t fret too much on your latest project. It’s going to be great!!!

    Sandi from the South

  45. Joan Clanton says:

    I put a mixing bowl under mine (garage sale!) and fertilized them every week (pour fertilizer into the bowl ) to keep it growing and looking great all summer and by fall they were huge! our winters are below zero in New York state, and I felt so badly about throwing them out, so brought them into my heated 4 season porch to over winter. last week I started fertilizing them again and hope to get them back out in their planters by memorial day– I read that ferns don’t like temperatures below 55.

  46. I love the simplicity of the planters and the way they accent but not overpower the floral rug. Just beautiful.

  47. I’ve used ferns on my porch several times. I’ve always loved the softness and the lush green color. Your porch is always so pretty. Love your doormat too.

  48. Kathy Young says:

    Love your page and all the ideas….will you over winter the ferns after season?

  49. I love those planters. I was going out today to buy the big terra cotta planters for the front porch but I like the higher look of yours. Have to re-think what I,ll be doing now. Choices,Choices. Oh my Ann. You sure make my brain work.lol Love all your ideas and such. Anyway, thanks for showing us how to update a front porch with not much cost. Love your site.

  50. Barbara Lloyd says:

    This is going to be my front porch.our house is brick & my husband had been planning to make a railing on the side. I have used ferns before because they look so lush in a pot or box.

  51. I just ordered this gorgeous planter! I have a small conifer type tree in a planter on my front porch but this one is so much better!! Thank you for always sharing such great ideas and styles.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your posts on the house renovations!
    Patti

  52. Love the handsome planters, looks great with the nice size ferns.