This Simple DIY Gives Your Basic Terracotta Planter a Rustic Aged Finish That Feels so Mediterranean

Instead of overspending on vintage terracotta pots, this trick helps you get the look for less

A gravel garden with a row of ribbed terracotta pots displaying plants
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Terracotta planters are the perfect accompaniment to a bland and boring patio. Introducing a couple of ceramic pots bursting with bright blooms creates a sense of serenity, but most gardeners would agree that they tend to look better with age. The neat appearance of a fresh orange planter doesn't have quite the same effect as a rustic equivalent with an aged patina, but buying vintage isn't always easy (or cheap).

Lucky for us, we found an inexpensive DIY that transforms any generic terracotta pot into a charming planter with visual appeal. So if you're interested in container gardening but looking for something that brings in a bit of character instead of a plain terracotta planter, this DIY couldn't have come at a better time. All you need are a couple of supplies that are easily fetched at any household store and before you know it you'll have a set of stylish aged pots to rehome your favorite blooms.

How to give your terracotta planters and aged look

lavender in a terracotta pot

(Image credit: alamy)

In a recent Instagram video, courtesy of home DIY creator Sarahli Wilcox (, she takes her basic terracotta planters and gives them an aged finish for added personality. In the caption of her reel, Sarahli mentions that terracotta pots age beautifully over time as they collect a calcium build-up along with a green moss haze.

However, she goes on to mention that it usually takes a couple of years to achieve this trending planter style and while you can buy vintage pots with the patina look, she points out that they're likely expensive and might even be slightly difficult to source. Incidentally, she found a homegrown solution to her problem whereby she didn't have to spend as much and she could DIY her pots to get the rustic finish she so adores.

You may have already heard about the trick to age terracotta pots with yogurt, but Sarahli uses a solution of garden lime and water for hers, and it makes the perfect coating to adopt the patina look. After brushing the solution onto the terracotta pot, she leaves it to dry completely before sanding the surface down and rubbing some freshly cut leaves on the pot for a mossy effect. Finally, she treats the planters with a clear protective matt spray to lock the solution in. After letting the final coat dry down, the pots will have an instant-aged finish and are ready to be arranged on your patio for a stunning display.

terracotta urn with palm

(Image credit: Torsten Popp/Alamy Stock Photo)

Landscape designer Katherine Aul Cervoni tells us that she's a big fan of the aged terracotta finish as it softens the shape and brings a beautiful earthiness to it. 'Mossy, aged terracotta feels more charming, and depending on the style of the pot and your space, it can feel more cottage or even more grand and antique,' she says.

'This DIY trick is such a simple way to make your pots feel more unique right away and since they'll continue to age, the planters will wind up looking even better over time,' Katherine adds. She especially loves Sarahli's use of natural materials like leaves to add texture to the limewash, telling us that it's key to making the planters look truly natural with just the right wabi-sabi balance. We think they look especially effective when paired with Mediterranean garden plants for a warm, patio feel.

When it comes to styling, Keith Williams, co-founder of Nievera Williams, points out that aged-terracotta planters are a great way to add an earthy warmth that complements the green tones in an outdoor garden. He explains that these planters add texture while also creating a chic, dynamic space in any backyard. 'You can style terracotta planters with a mix of vibrant flowering vines and softer-hued plants, placing them along garden paths to create visual interest as they guide you through to a backyard oasis,' he says.

If you've got some spare terracotta planters around and you're looking to spruce up your space, might we suggest DIYing this trend for the perfect finishing touch to your modern garden? Not only will it make for a fun activity, but it'll also bring an added charm to your gardenscape.

A post shared by Sarahli Wilcox

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News Writer

Amiya is the News Writer at Livingetc. She recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London and has lent her words to beauty, fashion and health sections of lifestyle publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Health. Her experience as a research analyst has equipped her with an eye for emerging trends. When she’s off the clock, she can be found reading, listening to music or overanalysing her latest Co-Star update.