Starting a flower bed always requires a little bit of thinking and planning. There are a few basic rules to follow if you want your bed to look beautiful.
Best news: no need to be a landscaper to succeed! If you follow our advice, creating a flowerbed will be something you’ll quickly master!
1. Draw the bed before digging everything up
It’ll really help a lot when planning things out: space, volume, colors…
An hour spent sketching the plants out will save a day’s heavy work out in the sun, and you’ll feel more at peace knowing what you’re doing.
2. Select plants based on your natural environment
The first rule, and possibly the most important one to make a flower bed, is to select plants based on their future growing environment. They’ll thrive all the more for this. The criteria you should consider are the following:
- climate (harsh winter or mild one, dry summer or wet summer);
- the soil type in your garden;
- the slope;
- exposure (full sun, part sun/part shade, full shade).
Also: climate-adjusted plants
3. Play with colors in the growing bed
When you glance at a garden, the first thing you notice are its colors: green lawn, tree leaves, different spots of colored flowers, mulch and walkways etc.
Thanks to the colors of all these elements, you can imagine three types defining set-ups: monochromatic (or camaïeu, as the artistic term goes), harmony and contrast.
Camaïeu, a single color stands out
For instance, if you select “red”, you can find plants that have colors ranging from scarlet to blood red to carmine to vermilion to imperial red…
- Quickstart: red in the garden
The goal is completely different in this case, since harmony makes it possible to rely on different colors.
For example, if “red” is still the basis, you might complement that main hue with plants that are orange or violet. In case you prefer “blue”, then pair it with various shades of green, for instance.
This time, you have to find the perfect opposite of the color you chose:
- blue is the opposite of orange;
- green the opposite of red;
- yellow the one of violet;
To help you in choosing your colors, you can rely on the chromatic circle.
4. Stage different heights
However, just like in an extended family photo, stay logical: tall in the back, short in front!
This concept is also used when setting up a mixed border between your garden and the neighbor’s.
5. Different shapes of plants in the flower bed
We tend to only think of the garden bed as a flower bed. But flowers only last a short while! They aren’t eternal, just like us – though we do get more seasons than they do.
When flowers have faded away, you must rely on something else to still make your garden bed look great. Vary the shape and bearing of your plants and shrubs: bushy, erect, creeping, etc. This will bring movement and vitality to your flower bed.
6. Imagine your flower bed in every season
Who doesn’t think a garden in winter looks drab and sad? Think again! When making the most of what nature provides, it’s actually quite easy to have a very beautiful garden even in Winter:
- grasses that bear beige-colored seed pods;
- red-bark dogwood, yellow-branched willow, etc.;
- evergreen shrubs which bear leaves in flaming colors, such as Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’ for instance.
For the remaining seasons, simply imagine how your plants will evolve as the year rolls on:
- bright green leaves in Spring and fire-red ones in Fall;
- Spring blooming, Summer flowers, Fall blooms;
7. Have fun with texture
Fuzzy leaves of the Stachys, coarse leaves of leatherleaf viburnum, smooth, shiny or mat, plants come up with more imagination than we might ever, all for the pleasure of combining them into stunning shrub and flower beds that, for sure, won’t look boring.
- Garner more inspiration for this in our sensory garden posts
Smart tip about making a flowerbed
Walk around the neighborhood and chat with owners of beautiful flower beds. They’ll be more than happy to share what they’re proud of and what they would have done better!