When summer starts to roll around to autumn, some gardens and landscapes nearly start all over, as worn-out summer annuals are composted and new seasonal selections take their place.

Containers often take on whole new looks, as annuals such as petunias or million bells are removed to make room for mums and other fall staples. But have you ever tried mixing things up and including perennials in container gardens?

I think this important group of plants should be an ingredient in every container recipe.

The problem is that many gardeners have a strict rule about mixing annuals and perennials in containers: Never the twain shall meet. But if you base all your buying decisions on whether a plant will come back the next year, you miss out on some beautiful options.

Perennials can add a whole new dimension to your container gardens if you follow the thriller, filler and spiller formula. For filler plants, choose colorful leaves and strong forms. Consider plants that look good without any flowers, such as coral bells and corkscrew rushes. Their possible blooms are an added bonus.

For your thriller plants, try adding height or color with flowers. Most perennials do not bloom as long as annuals do, so it is important to swap out plants as they fade.

Here’s a trade secret that many landscape professionals use to keep high visibility areas looking good: Plant the entire pot of your chosen flowering perennial into your combination planter. When the perennial begins to fade, remove it from the buried pot and replace it with a new plant.

Grasses make good thriller plants because their vertical lines add interest. Tricolor Pennisetum, with its green, pink and white variegations, makes a great container choice. Or choose the Mississippi Medallion winner Gulf Coast muhly grass for its blue-green leaves and soft-pink blooms above the foliage.

So far, I’ve given examples using only perennials in containers, but you can also combine perennials and annuals in the same container for the best of both worlds.