Photo: Nancy Andrews
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Out of the Stone Age

Planters should complement surrounding architecture in style, proportion, and material. Effective alternatives to the slightly-too-small concrete planter that tops this cut-granite column include a massive, molded terra-cotta pot (to play off the structure's red-brick lintels) or a shallow, wide, black-painted cast-iron urn (to match the wrought-iron fencing and the building's Victorian Romanesque architecture). New fiberglass pots made of composite materials that imitate stone or clay are also worth considering. Durable and lightweight, many of these modern mimics are surprisingly handsome, moisture retentive, and a lot easier to hoist overhead when filled with plants and potting soil than the weighty originals.
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