Planning A New Flower Bed: Creative Ways To Design A Flower Garden

Two People Sitting In The Garden
planning bed
(Image credit: Zero Creatives)

One of the more fun aspects of gardening is planning a new flower bed. Turning a boring piece of ground into a springboard of lush foliage and beautiful blooms is a thrilling project for many of us. What better time to get started with flower garden planning than New Year’s Day? This allows plenty of time to tweak our planting scheme and chosen plants.

How to Plan a Flower Garden

First, you’ll want to choose the appropriate location in your landscape. Both sun and partial shade will work, but you’ll need to choose flowers that are suitable to the light conditions. The most versatile location is one with morning sun and afternoon shade, especially in southern regions.

The fun part is choosing which flowers to plant, but this can also be a challenge. Choose a limited number of colors and shades of those colors for best results.

You’ll likely want to use the layering technique when planting, according to height. If you’re planting your new bed against a fence or in front of a wall, plant the tallest in back and layer outward, getting gradually shorter. If the bed is surrounded by yard all around, plant the tallest blooms in the middle and layer outward on all sides.

Make a draft of your flower garden design and list of plants you might like to try. Soon after the New Year, flower catalogs will start coming in. This is the time to learn about new hybrids and updated versions of older favorites. You can decide what blooms you want in your garden, even if you purchase them somewhere else. Check the online nurseries too.

Putting Your Flower Garden Planning to Work

Will you choose straight lines that look formal or a circular design? If you’re partial to a curved and jutting design, lay out a long garden hose and use a spade to edge in your shape. The ground will need tilling before you plant, unless you choose the no-dig approach, so do this before or after you mark the space.

Either way, it is usually best to till and amend the soil and do most of the planting before you put in the border. Rich or amended soil is important for flowers to reach optimum bloom and beauty, although some flowers will perform well in poor soil. There are numerous materials to use as edging with various looks.

Most flowerbeds and borders look best with a background. This may be a fence, the wall of a building, or a row of shrubs. Add a background with a trellis planted with a flowering vine that coordinates with your other flowers. The ideas are never-ending so use your imagination.

It takes time to design a flower garden, so use the offseason for getting it all planned out. Then, by the time you’re ready to put it in, most of the work is already done.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.