10 Beautiful Flower Bed Ideas

perennial border garden
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10 Beautiful Flower Bed Ideas

Everyone Loves a Flower Garden. Here Are Ideas for Creating Yours.

Flowers are the jewels in your landscape. They can draw visitors into the yard. They provide curb appeal in your front yard. Flowers near your main entrance say “Welcome.” Unless you are moving into a newly built home, your foundation planting is already complete. That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon or even replaced. Extend the garden beyond the end of the house. Plant a tree that will give a vertical element with height to a single-story home. If your home is two-story, keep your plantings at the corner lower to extend the horizontal visual impact and anchor your home in the landscape.

If your foundation planting is complete, you may be ready to add some flower beds throughout your yard. There are a few things to consider. The first is how big your property is and how much of it needs to be lawn. If your family enjoys playing yard games outside, and it is rare for the badminton or volleyball net to be put away, you want to keep that area of the lawn open. Perhaps you have young children and a playset is a necessity. What other structures are in your backyard? Is there a garden shed? Do you have a patio or deck? Are there driveways or sidewalks that need to be accommodated?

Once you have the hardscape accounted for, you need to evaluate your topography. Is your yard level or sloped? Are there areas that really bake in the sun, or areas that don’t drain well and frequently have standing water? What about existing trees and shrubs? Are you keeping them or removing them? Do you want to keep them but relocate them to a different area? Lastly, you need to evaluate your yard for exposure to the sun. What area of your yard will need shade-loving plants and where do you have lots of sun?

There are lots of different types of flower beds that will add to the beauty of your yard, so let’s talk about what each has to offer.

1. Perennial Beds

Perennials are plants that come back every year. They are more expensive than annuals, but because they last for years, the cost is worth it.

Originally, perennial beds were usually beds on either side of a walkway. The walkway led to a feature in the garden like a gazebo or a large fountain or sculpture. Sometimes, the walk led to a different level of the property where a different type of garden was located.

The most effective perennial bed has plants that are of different heights. The tallest flowers are in the back, often against a wall, then a medium height layer and at the front are the shortest flowers. In order to accommodate the various heights, each border is at least 10 feet deep.

Not too many of us can have that in an average backyard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have perennials. Many of the taller perennials have been bred to include a shorter variety option. One example is the delphinium. These flowers were originally four to six feet tall and required staking to keep the flower upright and prevent breakage. Today, there are varieties of delphiniums that grow three to four feet tall and usually don’t require staking and fit nicely in an average size garden. When you plant your perennials, let the plant heights overlap a little. You don’t want it to look like steps. Allow some of the tall plants to grow into the medium height areas and some of the mediums to spread into the short height area, and vice versa for a more pleasing look. Also be aware that most perennials have a limited bloom time. Place your plants so when one is at the end of its blooming, its neighbor is ready to start.

2. Shade Gardens

Just because your garden is shady doesn’t mean you can’t have flowers. The time for flowers in the shade garden is in the spring before the trees leaf out. That works out great because the perennials aren’t blooming yet and it’s too cool to plant the annuals.

Hostas are the best plants for shade gardens, and while they do bloom, they are grown more for the fabulous variety of leaves, size and color. Hostas are also one of the latest plants to start growing in spring, giving plenty of time and room for the flowering plants to shine.

Flowering plants that do well in shade include astilbe, which has a fern-like leaf and feathery blooms in pinks, white and lavender. Bluebells do well in shade, and as the name indicates, they have beautiful blue flowers. Columbine also is a great choice for the shade. Trilliums and Jack in the Pulpit are wildflowers that are protected in the wild. However, there are companies that are licensed to grow these plants in a sustainable way, so they are now available for you to add to your woodland. Don’t forget some of the spring bulbs. As long as the plants have time in the sun for the leaves to provide energy to the plant’s bulb, they will be fine in a shade garden. For pops of color in your shade garden throughout the summer, plant some impatiens or begonias.

3. Annual Flower Garden

This is a flower garden that will contain flowers that are planted in spring and only last one season. The advantage of this type of garden is that the flower plant will bloom for the entire season. Most of the flower seeds can be directly sown in the garden as soon as the soil is warm enough. Plant this type of garden by height, similar to the perennial bed. Another way to plant is to use color to grow a hot garden or a cool garden. A hot garden has plants that flower in reds, oranges and yellows. A cool garden has flowers that are white, blues and lavenders.

4. Moon Gardens

A moon garden is planted with only white flowers. Use plants with variegated leaves, which means they are edged or striped or spotted with white. This type garden is especially effective next to a swimming pool where the lights reflect off the white of the flowers and leaves during evening swims. The same effect can also be achieved with low lighting in the garden bed.

Moon Gardens

4. Moon Gardens. A moon garden is planted with only white flowers. Use plants with variegated leaves, which means they are edged or striped or spotted with white. This type garden is especially effective next to a swimming pool where the lights reflect off the white of the flowers and leaves during evening swims. The same effect can also be achieved with low lighting in the garden bed.

Cutting Garden

5. Cutting Garden. If you love to have fresh-cut flowers in your home, you might want to grow a cutting garden. Instead of randomly cutting flowers from the beds in your yard, you grow flowers specifically for cutting.

This garden is usually located in an out of the way spot because the plants may not always look great. They may be lopsided after you cut the flowers off one side, or they may have no flowers for a while after you cut the blooms. If you have a raised bed vegetable garden, consider dedicating one raised bed for a cutting garden. Try to use only organic flowers in your cutting garden so it can be returned to vegetables another year. While you are in the vegetable garden, look at your leafy vegetables for the greenery in your bouquets. Lacinato Kale has unique leaves with savoy texture. A couple of broccoli or cabbage leaves would give a nice grey-green background color.

6. Herb Garden

Herbs are so versatile and provide advantages wherever they are planted. Lavender seeds planted in the garden will grow into a plant with beautiful flowers and scent. Plant thyme right next to the walkway so the scent is released when someone brushes against it or steps on it. Herbs are perfect for planting around a fountain in the flower garden.

Your herb garden can also be a scent garden. Use scented geraniums and lemon balm, mint (in a pot only or it will invade your entire garden) and oregano. Just pinch the leaves between your fingers to release the scent.

7. Butterfly Garden

Butterfly gardens are not always the most attractive gardens, so you may want to tuck it away in a more hidden part of your garden. The key to a successful butterfly garden is to provide the butterfly you are trying to attract with the plants it needs in all stages of its life. In the caterpillar stage, this often is a not so attractive wild plant.

A good example of this is the Monarch butterfly. The only plant the Monarch in the caterpillar stage can eat is milkweed. This means the Monarch will only lay her eggs on the milkweed plant. This is basically a roadside weed and not exactly attractive, but if you want to attract more Monarch butterflies to your yard, you will have to grow milkweed. Each variety of butterfly has its own requirements for certain plants at different stages. In the case of the Monarch, it is very specific to that one plant. Other butterflies may have more than one plant that will work.

Research what types of butterflies are found in your area and determine what plants are needed by the type of butterfly you want to attract. Flowers that attract butterflies have a large flower head so the butterflies have a good size landing pad to sit on while they drink the nectar.

Don’t forget to provide water in your butterfly garden. Butterflies prefer puddles of water. Sink a shallow bowl into the ground so the top edge is at ground level. Fill the bowl with sand and then fill with water. The butterflies will drink the water between the grains of sand.

8. Cottage Garden

A cottage garden is a riot of flowers of every type and color. It is a mix of perennials and annuals, herbs and even a small bush or two. This is a much less formal type of flower garden with no rules. If you like a flower, then find a spot and stick it in! This garden is often planted with lots of old favorites like your grandmother would have grown.

9. Terraced Gardens

If you have to garden on a sloping terrain, you may want to consider terracing. Once you start to dig on a slope, there will surely be soil erosion every time there is a good rain. Along with the soil that is sliding down the hill will be your newly planted flowers. The best solution is to terrace the hillside.

Terracing can be done with stone or wood. Depending on the steepness, you may be looking at what amounts to a wall for each terrace, or it may just be the height of a couple of landscape posts. This may need the help of a professional to build the terraces, but once completed, they should last for a very long time. The beds end up being level and can be planted however you prefer.

10. Rose Garden

Many gardeners are afraid of roses as they have a reputation of being difficult for even the experienced gardener. Don’t let fear stop you! There are many different varieties of roses, and some require a lot of attention and diligent care. However, there are just as many varieties that are developed for the novice rose gardener. There are miniature rose bushes, shrub rose bushes, climbing roses, grandifloras and tea roses. The tea roses are the type of rose you get in a bouquet from the florist. There are even more varieties than this.

Start with a couple of bushes and see what works in your area. If you see a beautiful rose in a neighbor’s yard, ask them about it. Visit your local botanical garden to see the different varieties available, as well as colors. Also, if the scent is important to you, be aware that some roses have almost no scent, while some are exceptional at providing the lovely rose scent.

Whatever type of garden you choose to plant, remember this is only a guide to the traditional types of gardens. There are no rules in your yard. It is your garden. Plant what makes you happy!