Category Archives: Flower Gardening & Landscaping

Flower Garden Layout: Design and Ideas

Flower Garden LayouFlowers are essential components of a garden. They are considered as the centerpiece of any garden. In fact, a yard with a lawn, trees, and fountain, looks incomplete until one incorporates flowering plants to its borders and beds. While flowers look great in any kind of landscape design, proper planning enhances the aesthetic value of the yard. So, instead of growing them randomly like flowers in the wild, why not plan the garden layout first and design it neatly?

How to Plan a Flower Garden

Laying a flower garden requires some forethought, your creativity, and basic gardening skills. But, you don’t need a degree in landscape designing to proceed with the same. While planning a flower garden layout, certain criteria should be considered like location, yard space, adding flower beds, finalizing flowering plants, and design tips. Consider these aspects and you will be glad with the after results. And to make your project simpler, make a rough sketch of the layout including the plant placement and color pattern.

Decide on the Location
The actual garden layout and the flower varieties to be planted depend on where the area is located. A sunny yard with fertile and well-drained soil is excellent for maintaining a garden. While any piece of land can be made into a beautiful flower garden with some effort, it is better to grow flowers in a suitable area. If possible, try to avoid a shady and damp location. For a shaded garden, the flower options are limited. In fact, colorful blooms look more vibrant in a sunlit garden.

Garden layout plan

It’s All about Space
Layout of a flower garden largely depends on how big is the area. So, yard space and total area of the flower beds should be considered first. Later, you can decide the plant types and their position in the garden, based on their height, flowering time, and color. Also, you can think of adding trellis, stone paths, and alike garden components. What about including a garden pond with colorful fish and water lilies? Depending upon your personal preferences, finalize the color scheme and flower cultivars.

Designs for Flower Beds
The flower beds should be wide enough (about 5-7 feet) so that you can have better planting options. Each bed can be demarcated from the other by straight or curved lines (as per your choice). A formal garden looks elegant with straight lines. But, if you want something out of the box, select five types of varied colored flowers that bloom at the same time. Plant them in a five-petalled flower shape, with each flower variety representing a petal. Believe me, this pattern looks awesome in a home garden.

Choose Flowering Plants
Once you complete preparing the layout of the garden, you can proceed to the next step of selecting flowering plants. You can consider growing all types, including annuals, biennials, perennials, and climbing vines. While selecting native flower species, make sure you consider the amount of care for each plant type along with the desired traits of the blooms. Like for instance, exotic plants surely add a unique touch to the yard. But, most of the species call for special care and are not suited for novice gardeners.

Why Choose Annual Flowers?
Annuals complete their life cycle in one season, i.e., they grow, flower, bear seeds, and die in the same season. They are most preferred for planting in bedding schemes, rather than growing at the borders. You can create a different flower bed in each season by planting annuals. Another advantage of selecting annual flowers is that they are available in a wide range of colors. Some of the best choices are geraniums, spider flowers, Brazilian verbena, and daisies. You can design a color scheme by planting different annual flowers in the same bed. While doing so, make sure that the plants in one flower bed bloom at the same time. Annual flowers also serve as great space fillers before the perennials start blooming.

Biennial and Perennial Plants
Biennials develop their leaves in the first season and bloom in the next season. Then they shed their seeds and die. They are best planted at the borders and the hedges along with perennials. The most preferred biennials for flower gardens are foxgloves and hollyhocks. Perennial flowers are long-living plants, which bloom for a short duration (about 3-4 weeks) in each season. You can select perennials that flower at different times, so as to make the flower garden look lively. This way, there will be blooms in the garden throughout the year, irrespective of the season.

Bulbous Plants and Vines
Other flowering plants include bulbs and climbing vines. Bulbs are very easy to grow and maintain in the garden. They flower in one season, remain dormant for a while, and again flower in the next season. Some of the stunning bulbous plants are tulips, daffodils, amaryllis, and snowdrops. If there are trellises, you can give a different look to your garden by growing climbing vines. Flowering vines like morning glory and hyacinth bean can be planted based on the color scheme of the surrounding area.

Garden with a Lawn
This idea is for a large sized garden, where you have sufficient room to incorporate a green patch. For lawns, ornamental grasses are maintained for enjoying greenery in all seasons. Once planted, they continue to grow for many years, provided that proper care tips are adopted. In short, a lawn requires less maintenance than a flower bed. For people who have limited time for garden care, a lawn garden adorned with ground cover and flower beds is a perfect option. You can also include evergreen shrubs on the lawn boundary.

In addition to these factors, you may consider using containers and/or raised beds in the center of the lawn or in the borders. Fill the empty space with potted plants and your garden will definitely look complete. If interested, try experimenting theme-based flower garden design ideas. You can focus on a particular theme, like a butterfly garden, rose garden, summer garden, and proceed accordingly.

Flower Garden Designing Tips

When you think of a garden, one of the first images to come to mind is usually that of flowers. It’s hard to imagine a garden without flowers, although gardens without blooms do exist. If you intend to plant a flower garden, it is essential to have a design plan and preferably a long-term planting plan as well. After all you don’t want a garden that looks bereft after all the blooms are gone, do you? That is what will happen if you plant haphazardly. So, don’t be the person who buys flowering plants on a whim and then wanders about wondering where to dig the hole for the plant to go in. Be the person who knows exactly in which hole which plant is going to go in.

So first things first. Evaluate the site where you’re going to plant your flower garden and make a note of the following –

How much amount of sun does the site get?
Is the site over-exposed to windy conditions?
Is it close to a road?
Are there any buildings nearby?
Are there any electricity/telephone poles or wires nearby?
Are there any drain pipes?
Is the site accessible to pets or wildlife?
What kind of soil does the site have?
What is the soil pH?
Is there any natural water resource close by?
What kind of water supply is available?
Consider the shape of your garden – is it long and thin or rectangular?
Does it have different levels?
Is it an enclosed courtyard garden?
Is it a banked garden, a seaside location, split level, square, or a corner site?

Then consider what kind of garden you would like. If you don’t have a clue, study different landscaping and flower garden designs. Visit botanical parks or other people’s gardens to see how the flower gardening design plan there works or doesn’t work. Look at magazines and websites for inspiration and visit local gardening centers and flower shows. Talk to other gardeners and ask for tips. Designs vary in different cultures and climates, so that is another aspect to consider. Japanese gardens, for example, have a more quiet, restrained feel to them than English country gardens, which again differ from the English formal gardens.

Take into consideration the house around which the garden is being planned. What is its architectural style? Your garden design should complement it, not clash. If you have a sprawling area around an old, traditional mansion, for example, you may consider a formal garden design with all the flower beds laid out in exact symmetrical order, or you could introduce a new asymmetrical concept with a wild profusion of flowers. Your personal choice of design is as important, so also the reality of whether you want a high- or low-maintenance garden.

-Start with identification. Make a list of flowering plants you want in your garden. Note how tall the plants will eventually become and their overall spread. Referring to these notes, draw up your garden plan. You can plant in order of height, or put the tall plants in the middle.
-Plant in a straight line or in a sweeping curve. Straight lines and curves seem to give a more coherent look than zigzag lines. But, keep in mind, there can always be exceptions to this rule
-Plant in groups of twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, or more. This will give you a mass of blooms and you can get the ‘riot of colors’ effect.
-Plant groups of flowering plants of one color, but of different tints and tones.
-Plant according to adjacent color progression.
-Plant in a complementary color scheme.
-Plant flowering plants with harmonizing colors together.
-Plant in a complete, unbridled mix of colors.
-Intersperse single, stand alone plants between clumps of coordinating plants.
-Use an evergreen hedge as a backdrop for radiant blooms.
-Add a focal point like a statue, bird bath, a bench, or an arbor. If you have a large garden, you can add more than one focal point.

Incorporate a winding path between flowering beds, and use taller plants or a flowering creeper on a trellis to create an interesting ‘I don’t know where this leads’ effect. If you have a pond, create a water garden with lilies and lotuses. Line the pond with rocks so it looks more natural.

Fall Flower Garden

Whether its winter or summer, spring or autumn, a garden always blooms if cared for. However, to make your garden evergreen, implementing creative gardening ideas is essential. Usually, novices, make the mistake of not planting fall flowers. Thus, by winter time, the garden gets covered with layers of snow, which makes it look dull and white. And who doesn’t like to see a cozy, heart-warming and well pruned garden on a Christmas eve?

Asters
The arresting beauty of Asters, will make your garden come alive in the winter. Native of New England and New York, Asters are found in pink and deep purple. Plant them early in June, along the border of your cobbled pathway, to get the authentic picturesque look. They grow about 3-4 feet tall and survive well in moist soil. A good breed of asters will thrive well in the fall season. Plant them with supports so that they do not get too droopy.

Joe Pye Weed
This one is my favorite. You can make the best fall garden with Joe Pye Weed. The botanical name of this plant is Eupatorium. This plant thrives in moist soil and will grow well if you plant it by early summer. The deep pink color of these flowers is a great eye catcher! You can alternate, the pathway border with a purple Aster and a pink Joe Pye Weed, which will make your garden look brilliant!

Helenium
‘They flash upon that inward eye,
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.’

Couldn’t help quoting these lines. Helenium are total show stoppers! These daisy look-alikes, with their brilliance of yellow, will make your garden come alive. You should be aware of the various fall flowers in order to prepare the garden, and know when to plant these. If you plant them early in summer, these plants will develop a healthy cycle.

Some Gardening Tips

Weed Control
If you think weed only grew in monsoon, you are clearly wrong. Chickweed grows abundantly in winters. Remove these weeds to prevent them from growing all over your garden. You can also use some herbicide in case the problem persists for a long time.

Compost Pit
Withering of flowers and shedding of leaves is a characteristic of plants and trees in winter. Don’t burn these leaves or throw them away. Make a compost pit and put these leaves in the pit. This will give you some good manure by summer, which can be used for composting the plant so that healthy fall flowers spring up by the next fall.

There are plenty of perennials that one can choose from. However, your flowers will only bloom if you look after them, so make sure you keep your garden clean, to avoid infestation by rodents.

Container Flower Gardening

Apartment style constructions have replaced sprawling yards that most older constructions flaunted. This is just one of the many prices we are paying for modernization and industrialization. Nevertheless, the green thumb has always used ingenuity to pursue the hobby that adds quality to the environment and reduces pollutant exposure. Container gardening, as the name amply suggests, refers to the growing of plants in discarded or special pots. This type of gardening allows you to beautify the window boxes, balcony, or lobby areas of the home with flowering plants or herbs. You can also grow a number of fruits and vegetables in containers.

Indoor Gardening

Container gardening refers exclusively to the growing of flowering plants in containers. You could use chipped china, glass, or metal bottles, and even cheese or canned-food tins for the indulgence. You can grow alyssums, marigolds, begonias, coleus, browallias, geraniums, impatiens, and latanas in containers. Indoor flower gardening gives you the liberty to spruce up the living room and other guest-centric areas of the home, such as the lobby and guest-room, when and as required. The pots, being small, can be moved around easily. This feature also aids special sunlight, moisture, and water requirements of certain flowering plants.

There are a number of online and offline resources dedicated to the art of indoor gardening that supply you with beakers of various sizes and special garden tools. The holders, either bought or generated from the kitchen, could be sorted to suit a pre-planned theme. You could pick from a color scheme or a size theme and accordingly assimilate the containers into a stand or tray. Investing in such holders designed for container gardening helps a lot when many plants are to be relocated. The suppliers of gardening equipment also make available special soils that are engineered for indoor gardening.

Among the many varieties of flowering plants popularly chosen for container gardening are:

Periwinkles
Pansies
Nasturtiums
Petunias
Snapdragons
Thunbergias
Salvias
Zinnias
Sanvitalias

The art of container gardening involves the identification of:

A suitable area in the home that can accommodate one or many of the containers set aside for the garden.
Plastic, metallic, or ceramic pots.
Planting mediums that drain rapidly, but only after retaining sufficient root moisture.
Soil-less mixes that keep the flowering plant free from soil-borne diseases and most essentially, weeds.
A stand or tray to ensure daily relocation of the plants for their vital supply of direct sunlight.
Fertilizers designed with plant boosters, to ensure that your plants get their supply of essential nutrients and trace elements.

It is not at all difficult to pursue, considering the myriad online resources that offer you dedicated guidelines every step of the way. Flowering plants add to the aesthetics of the patio, deck, or even threshold, while solving your problem of not being able to get enough of nature. This type of gardening helps you overcome lack of space and time for elaborate gardening procedures. The mobility of the container garden helps you re-sculpt the home environ, and satisfy your craving for the great outdoors. The art takes up little or no time and investment, with the limited area involved and most of the essentials being churned out from the kitchen!