“Planting” Faux Plants Outside

March 6, 2023

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I guess I’m partially embarrassed and partially excited to tell you about the fake plants I “planted” in these pots right outside the dining room. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit a green thumb from either of my gardening expert parents, so I took matters into my own hands and went the faux route this spring.

36″ Pond Cypress Topiary | Podocarpus Double Ball Topiary | 18″ Boxwood Ball | 60″ Cedar Pine Tree

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Okay, I guess my thumb isn’t completely cursed because last summer, we planted a container garden of herbs, and they grew wonderfully. Some of the herbs grew quicker than Chris had need for, and some couldn’t keep up with the demand! In the Winter, Chris harvested the chives and thyme, but everything else went dormant, so admittedly, Chris said he’d rather get fresh herbs from our state Farmer’s market than be disappointed when he goes out to snip fresh basil, and it’s not there.

Alas, we nixed the container garden, and all the pots and planters have remained untouched since. So when Grandin Road was having their 30% off sale, I caved and bought some faux shrubs for the abandoned planters. I already have two of their cedar pines that I keep by the pool, and they look absolutely real after a full year of being outside, so I felt brave enough to add a few more by this wall.

We’ve spent a lot of money planting over 500 real plants and trees all over our yard over the last six months, and some have survived, and others have not (they get replaced for free) and it’s been so fun to watch our yard come together. As for this little corner, feels amazing to have a mature look that’s not going anywhere. Ideally a drip line to these pots would allow us to plant something like this here, but I’m going to save my gardening sheers for the rest of the yard. I love the way the taller heights break up this brick wall where the old built in grill was.

Oh and these faux shrubs are also a great option for by a front door!

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your gardening skills? Be honest. Would you ever go with something faux outside?

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Other posts about the backyard.

The start of our container garden, and all the best planters

Backyard vacation oasis

Our backyard exterior lighting

The pool installation

Our backyard plant plans

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What do you think?

  1. JC says:

    These look amazing! I take it they get plenty of rain on them too and still look good? We just moved to Southestern Ohio and everything seems to grow here, but I’d love two Cypress on either side of my door but it is west…ish facing. Hmmm, wondering what direction did you have your exposure. The sun definitely isn’t as intense her compared to the Southwest where we moved from, but I also don’t want to spend $500 for something that is only going to look good for one season. They would be partly under a 3 ft overhang. Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Colleen says:

    Love this!!! I joke that I can barely keep weeds alive! I’m all about faux plants in a container or hanging but prefer real in the ground.

  3. Minawattee Jeffery says:

    Faux will be the way to go in PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Where my balcony is very hot. However I will persevere with real plants when I am back home in Toronto, CA. Can’t beat.

  4. Morgan says:

    I’m curious, too, about how they hold up to weather in Raleigh (I’m also there). I know there are some faux plants designed to resist UV rays, etc. I have had the same problem with just “regular” faux plants, in that they don’t hold up to the relentless sun here in NC. I recently downsized to a townhouse where there is hot, hot, hot sun reflecting off of lots of concrete and siding on my back patio. Real plants in containers just get fried in the summer, and in the winter, with temps often pretty mild, I’d love to sit out there surrounded by some greenery. I’m in the market for a faux tree for privacy and some coverage of the utility boxes on the wall, and I’m hesitant about investing a lot in an expensive faux option unless I know it will last at least several years. FYI: I had some faux plants at my last house, which was more like Chris and Julia’s, and I do think an open space with lots of air and less reflective surfaces (wood, grass, etc.) helps.

    • Alma says:

      We have the same problem. Very hot and sunny entryway and all plants got fried. I put a nice faux ficus, sprayed it constantly with a sunguard spray that supposed to prevent things from fading, and nothing helped. 2 years after the leaves forgot they were once green, and now they have this very unnatural bluish color. Obviously this plant is going to the trash, which means landfill, and I feel pretty bad for buying it in the first place. I would NEVER EVER put a faux plant outside. They might look good in photos, but they don’t last, and to be honest – they look faux regardless, and the last thing I want is a plastic greenery outside. Inside is a different story.

  5. Judi Hume says:

    I’m so happy to see this post! I live in Dallas, Texas. When I retired, I downsized to a condo with a small, fenced patio. I have a green thumb and I’ve had pretty good luck with the perennials I’ve planted, but I was having no luck keeping anything alive in the pots on the plant hangers on my fence. The plants would just cook in the heat, and finally I switched to faux plants, something I never thought I’d do, but after two years they still look GREAT, and following my example, my daughter recently did the same thing in a tough spot outside her house, where nothing would grow. I’m happy to see influencers like you addressing this issue. Thank you!

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  7. Lindsey says:

    These look great!! I can’t tell from the pictures – do you use real dirt to ‘plant’ them? :)

  8. Liz says:

    I live in Florida, everything just grows here and I’m definitely a plant lady. That said, there are a few spots both inside and out where I struggled to keep things alive, and inside I definitely have some faux plants (including a very convincing fiddle leaf fig) and I love them. There’s appropriate spots to use both fake and real plants, for sure!

  9. Amanda says:

    Growing up, my mom always planted fake flowers by the mailbox and the neighbors were always so impressed with his long they lasted…. These look amazing.

  10. REK981 says:

    I am solid 6.7 on the gardening scale. I grew a vegetable garden for a decade until 2 summers in a row were cloudy, wet, and frustrating. I cannot keep a snake plant alive no matter how much I ignore it. But give me an orchid with 1 aerial root and I can make it bloom! LOL

  11. Karie says:

    I get a lot of joy from gardening and landscaping but am increasingly spending my time trying to deter the deer from eating all my plants. It’s time consuming and frustrating to have to put net around every single plant. Not to mention it’s pretty ugly. This year I am considering not planting flowers and removing hostas and going with more hardscaping like rocks, lighting and artificial juniper bushes. I guess the deer won.
    Thanks for providing good sources and sharing your experience.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I’m a gardener, so I don’t have faux plants outside. It’s all part of the learning process, learning what is best in each spot, and for you, that spot is best for faux!

    I would like to encourage you to think about trying herbs again this spring, summer & fall. Basil is pretty easy to grow in NC (my sister lives in Raleigh & only grows in containers). The farmer’s market is great, but nothing beats basil and chives right outside your door!

  13. Molly says:

    I had a fake plant outside on a covered portico area that clearly got some sun because it faded horribly. Might have been the quality of my purchase vs. Grandin Road, especially since the ones by your pool did well. I’d love to hear an update about these after a NC summer.

  14. Beth says:

    Absolutely! Looks beautiful and the no maintenance is wonderful. I have the topiary balls flanking my front door. :)

  15. Emily says:

    Could have fooled me! They look wonderful. I would definitely consider “planting” some on our front porch.

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