If your outdoor living area seems a bit sterile, think about creation of definite areas through the use of living dividers. Tall plants in pots make lovely screens, defining sitting areas, providing privacy, blocking the view of trash cans, etc. And they don’t have to be expensive evergreens like you see in magazines. You can make a very effective “hedge” out of annuals like tithonia, old-fashioned tall cosmos, or cleome, or out of rampant vines such as passionflower, grown on individual trellises.
Since the plants will be tall, bushy, and prone to catch the wind, it is important to provide both root room and anchorage (i.e. large containers with wide bases). Plastic pots are usually ok; the soil should weigh enough to keep them steady, but if the location is very windy, it’s wise to go for the extra heft that terra cotta provides.
Balcony plantings are a special case, since they need to be both lightweight and secure. Use plastic pots, lots of perlite in the soil mix, and if they are in a place where they might fall (or blow) over the edge, bungee cords or other strong ties will make sure they stay in place.
No matter how beautiful the pots are, a tide line of large containers with large plants coming out of their tops will look stiff unless it is broken up a bit. Be sure to include some trailing plants at the pot edges, and place a few smaller pots at the feet of the big ones to add variety (this is a great place to put vacationing houseplants!).