Monday, July 16, 2012

Five Simple Steps to Designing Beautiful Flower Beds

For those of us who have no training in design, creating a cohesive, beautiful and long blooming flower bed can be a challenge.  I should know!  As a very left brain thinker, design is not my forte!  But over the years I've found a few simple steps that are easy to remember and implement.

5 Simple Steps to Designing Beautiful Flower Beds:

1.  Color Scheme - Choose a color scheme that appeals to you.  Pinks/purples/whites; yellows/reds/blues, etc.  Or if you are like me and want all colors, choose sections of your garden for different color schemes.  Unify the entire garden by repeating a neutral color plant throughout, such as the white Shasta daisy in the photo.

2.  Plant Heights - Gardens are more interesting if they include plants with different heights, so include small trees, shrubs, flowering perennials and annuals, and ground covers.  The flower bed in the photo above includes rose and lilac (shrubs), shasta daisies (perennial), zinnias and cosmos (annuals), dahlia (bulb) and verbena (perennial ground cover).

3.  Interplanting - Plant bulbs and annuals in clumps or swaths (at least 3 plants, more if there is room) in between the shrubs and perennials.  This provides the opportunity to always have something seasonal in bloom.  When the warm season annuals (such as zinnias) are finished, pull them out and replant cool season annuals (such as snapdragons).  This saves work since only a small portion of the bed needs to be replanted each season.

4.  Successive Bloom Time - Choose plants that bloom throughout the year so there is always color.  The flower bed in the photo is showing its summer bloomers.  In the spring, there are daffodils, freesia and Dutch iris bulbs (dormant underground in summer), as well as lilac and the first bloom of the roses and Shasta daisies. In late summer and fall, rudbeckia will appear, while the roses and verbena will bloom until cold weather.  Also in the fall, cool season annuals such as stock, snapdragon, pansies will replace the warm season annuals for color all winter here in zone 9.

5.  Garden Accessories - Add a bench, birdhouse, bird bath, obelisk or other garden ornament to add even more interest to your bed, whether it's in full bloom or taking a rest!

Happy Gardening!


  1. Love this post! Now all I need is a yard :)

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  3. Can you tell me how I can find and hire a Master Gardener? I've been going through "gardeners" like lousy husbands. None of them seem to know what they're doing. Should I just become a Master Gardener myself?

    1. Master Gardeners are usually volunteers trained by their local University cooperative extensions. Although some may do consulting as landscape professionals, I don't know of any listings of contact info for individual Master Gardeners. You can contact your local University extension office for info on how to become a Master Gardener.

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