Terra Cotta pots are affordable. You can get small pots for under a dollar at Michael's craft store. They're also inexpensive at Home Depot.
To help them avoid looking cheap, use buttermilk to coat the pot. This will create a patina look.
When using Terra Cotta pots, it's crucial that you get a ceramic bit on your drill to create a hole for drainage. A regular bit will explode your pot. Go to the hardware store and tell them what you're doing so they can help assist.
A fun project is to hang geraniums from an old gate using terra cotta pots.
Omega Salvage in Berkeley is a great place to find old gates to use as backdrops.
Geraniums are great plants, they're so hardy.
You can buy geraniums at your local nursery.
Another fun project is making a bird bath for your garden out of terra cotta pots.
You'll need two terra cotta pots saucers. Then you're going to need four terra cotta pots, all the same size.
The key to making this project work is that you have got to have the right adhesive. Buy premium construction adhesive, at your local hardware store.
Turn over the pots and apply adhesive to the bottom.
Combine the pots and saucers.
Once you're finished you can fill with river rocks and water.