Tips for Successful Flower Garden Design

The best flower garden designs incorporate several types of blooms, including long-living perennials, short-term but beautiful annuals, seasonal bulbs, ornamental grasses, and vines. Before you begin your flower garden design, know how different garden plant types perform in the garden, what they can offer for color and texture, and their limitations.

Choose Your Flower Garden Design Style

Whether dictated by your home's architectural style or your personal preferences, your garden's style can also help you set parameters for size and design. Different flower garden design styles lend themselves to different types of plants. For example, a contemporary-leaning landscape may be more rigorous in material selection and flowerbed shape, while a cottage-style garden encourages exuberance and a mix-and-match approach.

Determine the Garden's Shape and Size

Flowers can be arranged in beds of almost any shape and size, from expansive rectangles to petite corner beds. To get an idea of how your flower garden will fit into the rest of your landscape, use a garden hose to define the edges. Walk around the bed; see if you can access "plants" in the middle or need to include a path, and look at the proposed garden bed from every viewpoint. Another tip: Don't start too large. You can always begin with a small plot and expand it as needed.

Select Flowers

Once you've decided on your flower garden's design, shape, and size, it's time to put your plant research into action. Consider focal points, flower sizes, year-round interest, bloom time, and color combinations.

Supply a Focal Point

Every garden bed, no matter how big or small, needs a focal point. Focal points give the eye a place to start before moving on to the rest of the flowerbed. That may mean anchoring your large bed with boxwood shrubs on the corners and a flowering shrub in the middle, or planting a mass of a single flower type in the center of a skinny border.

Evaluate Plant Height

You'll also have to consider height before making plant selections. For example, if your garden is a border along the house, the tallest plants will need to go in the back but shouldn't be so tall that they block windows or doors. If your flower garden design is an island, the tallest plants should go in the center. Some shorter plants also suffer when shaded by taller plants, so take individual flowers' needs into consideration.

Review Bloom Times

Video: More Garden Design Tips


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Ideas for your garden

I'm a garden designer and these are some of my Mediterranean favorite plants:
-Lavender 'Goodwin Creek Gray' Blooms nearly year round
-Salvia 'Whirly Blue' or 'Pozo Blue' or 'Allen Chickering' A CA native with very fragrant leaves and striking early summer blooms
-Achillea millefolium 'Island Pink Yarrow' Another CA native with tiny fernlike leaves and pink/white flower heads. Spreads slowly for a very lush look
-Pink hedge roses 'Simplicity' is an easy (disease resistent) one that you can deadhead from time to time(or not) and looks striking mixed with the lavender. Mine bloomed into December
-Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' I use this as a groundcover around my patio, with roses behind it
-Citrus-no Mediterranean garden is complete without a Lemon...

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