Flower gardens can be beautiful outdoor spaces filled with vibrant color. By carefully planning and planting seasonal blooms as well as long-lived perennials, your flower garden is sure to thrive with proper care and preparation.
Most flowers require sunny locations with rich soil. Begin by clearing away grass and weeds, adding plenty of compost, and breaking up large clods of dirt to get ready for planting.
1. Know Your Soil
Flowers thrive in loose, loamy soil that drains well. If your garden soil is clay or sandy, consider amending it with compost to improve drainage and add organic matter – then conduct a soil test to determine which nutrients your soil requires.
Plants also have different moisture needs; some require only an inch or so of rain each week, while others can suffer from root rot if their environment becomes too damp.
Make sure your flower bed is within easy reach of a water source for convenient watering between rainstorms. Also, combine perennials and annuals for four-season appeal; these blooming types provide bloom time, color variation, shape variation and size, plus foliage that persists even after flowers have died off to provide visual interest throughout the year.
2. Know Your Plants
Selecting plants for your flower garden begins with selecting flowers that meet both your style and bloom time preferences, paying special attention to seed catalog descriptions or plant tags. Select perennial bloomers (peonies, dahlias and hollyhocks) and annuals such as cleome, impatiens or zinnias).
Include shrubs that provide structure and four-season interest, like roses or easy repeat-blooming shrubs. Make sure that evergreens provide shelter and nesting sites for birds as well as fruiting species for fall and winter color.
Consider adding tall annuals such as climbing nasturtiums or zinnias for height in your garden and to fill gaps between perennial plants. Remember to strategically repeat colors and shapes throughout the bed for an aesthetically pleasing design.
3. Know Your Space
Location for a flower garden depends on several factors, including sunlight availability and available space. Take a stroll around your property to identify an optimal spot, noting what plants already grow there and their exposure to light; additionally, be mindful of any underground utilities or pipes before beginning digging!
If you have an area in mind for which you would like to make changes, sketch it first before heading out to a plant nursery. This will keep your ideas organized and help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or underwhelmed by all of the options. Make a list of specific plants needed, like tall flowers for back gardens and shorter varieties for front yards.
4. Know Your Design
Repetition is key when designing an effective flower garden. Contrary to many yards with random plantings, an intentional garden will feature similar colors, shapes or plant species throughout its space – creating visual cohesion and making the space appear cohesive and pleasing to look at.
A thoughtfully-designed flower bed includes an assortment of foliage colors and textures to add depth and visual interest. From sword-like gladioli blooms to delicate lacy bleeding heart foliage, foliage plays an essential part in shaping the overall appearance of your yard.
Before heading out to a nursery, it is a wise idea to plan out your ideal flower bed in advance. Doing this will prevent being overwhelmed by all of the options available to you and will ensure a more fulfilling shopping experience. Adding flower beds will enhance curb appeal, add color, and provide essential pollinator habitats – three things your landscape could benefit from adding.
5. Know Your Budget
Perennial flowers are an economical solution when it comes to flower gardens, usually coming back year after year and costing less than annuals. Seeds or purchases from garden centers or big box stores may help save you money on this endeavor.
Make sure your flowerbed receives ample sunlight when selecting its location. Most flowers need at least six hours of direct sun per day to thrive and the amount may differ depending on what plants you’re growing.
Piet Oudolf, a world-renowned Dutch garden designer, suggests to create a natural-looking flower garden, considering shapes rather than colors for inspiration when selecting plants with various bloom times and textures. He further advises adding height contrast, bloom times and textures for additional visual interest and keeping things interesting throughout the seasons.