The basic principle for selecting gardening containers is “bigger is best.” Selecting the right set of containers for a garden space should not be based upon the container being “pretty” or “decorative,” but should be practical and for long lasting use over several years. A good set of containers will last a lifetime.
There are a lot of arguments over the merits of clay versus plastic pots. For general vegetable growing plastic containers work well, especially for the larger plants (tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, courgettes). Clay pots work well for smaller plants (basil, peppers and flowers).
Trays and troughs for growing salad and small plants come in a range of colours and sizes. Unfortunately the current fashion is for “pretty” over functional and many trays lack depth. Finding good deep trays of decent size is not easy but well worth the effort to get good results.
For balconies and patios (and some indoor growing) there is a new positive trend towards fabric containers. These are ideal for city gardeners where storage space is limited. The design of these bags ensures they keep their shape and do not dry out too easily. The future may be fabric containers.
For several years now there has been a trend towards growing potatoes and other root crops in bags. The potato growing system is surprisingly successful and avoids a lot of the disease problems a soil based crop can encounter.
There is a sort of magic to a mixed collection of pots and containers in a garden. Many gardeners assemble their collection of pots over many years. In general terms, selecting larger containers carefully and avoiding too many odd looking modern ones is best.