There are endless options when it comes to designing a flower garden. With so many flowers available in stores and online, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to plant. The best way to begin a flower garden is to take some time to sit down and draw a plan.
By Flower Type
Flowers are either bulbs or seeds. Lilies, tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils are all bulb flower types. Wildflowers are always from seed. Some seed varieties will need to be planted anew every year, while bulb varieties last many years. In cool climates, some bulb varieties need to be dug up every winter before the ground freezes. This is more work for the flower gardener but may be worth it for the flower choices. Other flower bulbs need a cold freeze to induce growing. In warmer climates, these bulbs must be chilled in a refrigerator or freezer.
Another way to design by flower type is to plant all the same flowers. For example, plant a bed entirely with lilies. With over 800 types of lilies to choose from, all with different colors and patterns, there's a lot of room for an intriguing garden design.
Design by Flower Color
Color is everything in the flower world. There are many shades of pink, blue, purple, red, yellow, white, and orange to brighten your flower bed. Think about a color scheme that expresses your individuality. Do you love all things purple? Or, do you want to do a patriotic design with all red, white, and blue flowers? Large arrangements of multi-colored flowers randomly arrayed about are also an option? Or how about muted colors with several bold flowers designed to pop with color?
Design by Flower Size
A garden that features flowers of the same height isn't as visually attractive as one with height and depth variations. Some flowers grow 2-3' tall, and others only grow a few inches tall. Small ground cover flowers like moss phlox are superior for filling empty spaces and drawing attention.
Flower buds and blooms also come in many shapes: buttons, daisies, globes, spires, and plumes, to name a few. A combination of these will also add depth and interest to the flower bed. When all the flowers have the same shape, the garden looks flat even with various colors.
Design by Flower Bloom
Most wildflowers take 45-60 days to bloom. Tulip bulbs may not bloom in the first year at all. Plant flowers with different bloom times for a more enjoyable and visually appealing garden. Diversity in bloom time is great for the visual appeal and pollinator insects.
Seeing mixed and colorful flowers blooming simultaneously is fantastic, but it also means they will likely all die simultaneously. Plan three successive blooms, if possible: spring, summer, and fall. The bees and butterflies love having food sources consistently, too.
Tips For Flower Garden Design
- Choose a focal point. Whether this is a flower, a shrub, or a wooden resting bench, the flower bed design should draw a person's eyes to the central point.
- Arrange the flower sizes from shortest to tallest so the small ones don't get obscured.
- Start small – 5-8 flower varieties are more than enough for a beginning garden. Then, each year, add new flowers to enhance it, make it fresh, and be innovative.
- Include flowers that bloom throughout the year, so your flower garden continuously has blooms.
- Have backups! Occasionally, the seeds or bulbs don't produce flowers as planned. Think about a few backup flower ideas so you don't have to scramble to replace any unsuccessful plants.
- Plant at least 3 of each type of flower. This is so they can be easily seen in the garden. Single plantings might look sparse or lacking in cohesiveness.
- Don't hesitate to incorporate other design elements into your garden besides flowers. For example, stonework, fountains, pottery, or wooden structures.
- If you have a large flower garden, don't forget to arrange a path through the middle or on the sides so you can access all your beautiful blooms.
- Consider the pollinators in your area. What flowers do the bees like? Plant for them too!
The number one tip for starting a flower garden is to have fun! Be creative without overwhelming yourself. It's ok to start small, and it doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, it most likely won't be perfect. Embrace the process and enjoy the experience. The to-die-for gorgeous gardens you see around town took years, if not decades, to build. Patience is rewarded with spectacular blooms and flower displays.