All the Flower Garden Design Tips You'll Ever Need

Gearing up to start a garden? Let these garden design tips serve as guidelines to planting a beautiful, individual landscape masterpiece.

When it comes to flower garden design, the aesthetics come down to the personal preference of the gardener. Soil preparation and plant selection must be precise, and are dictated by specific measurements and timelines. Yet, the structure and layout of a garden rests on the design principles that relate specifically to gardening. It's the gardener's job to choose which philosophies or concepts are right for their situation before determining what garden design looks best. Use the following tips as guidelines on your journey to planting a beautiful, unique garden. 




Wide vs Narrow

As lofty or modest your garden design ideas may be one thing is certain: the size of your yard will determine the width and length of your garden. A common rule of thumb when planting perennials dictates that gardens should be 6 to 8 feet wide to accommodate the various heights and types of plants necessary to maintain diversity and a continuous bloom. A wide garden in a narrow space can take over the entire area, creating a wild, naturalistic feel. Any of these options, controlled or free, can make a beautiful piece of landscaping. 


Bed of flowers in english garden


Defining Your Flower Bed

Separate the flower bed from the rest of your landscaping. This can be accomplished with a wall, a bordering of rocks, and chance in ground height, or differences in the style or pattern of the grass. Many tend to prefer using sweeping curves to delineate the garden patches of their yard, but straight lines can also be effective if you are drawn to a more contemporary, geometric look. Defining the contours of your garden area is crucial to keeping your landscape neat and organized. This subtle hint can be the difference between a trampled flower bed and a colorful, thriving garden. 




Clumps and Drifts

Clumps and drifts describe the two primary ways plants are arranged in a garden. Clumps are circular groups of three or more plants, while drifts are more elongated and contain seven or more plants. Planting masses of blooms from the same or similar plants is more aesthetically pleasing than alternates. In general, flowers look better in groups of three or more, and better in clumps of odd numbers than even. Varying colors by the same principles works well also. The exceptions to this rule are large, distinct plants that have a dramatic effect on their own. Think of species and colors of flowers like different paint colors. Designing a garden is like finger-painting on a big, green grassy canvas.  




Flower Bed Height

Most gardens arrange plants in beds with the tallest plants in the back and the smallest plants in the front. When arranged like this, a garden can showcase each plant to its full potential. However, depending on the color and shape of the plants, leaving bright colors behind darker shades can create a dynamic layering effect. Visibility is the primary principle to follow when it comes to flower bed height. Ask yourself, "does the topography allow all flowers and colors to be seen?" 





When planning your garden design, research the recommended spacing for each plant. Flowers are typically spaced quite close to each other, while shrubs and trees require more space. It is wise to arrange these larger plants based on their maximum spread to allow them room to grow. If the plant stops growing, it is easy to plant an extra row of smaller plants to fill in the empty space. 




Focal Point

The finest gardens are like paintings. Visually, they operate in much the same way as a work of art. When looking at the layout as a whole, the eye needs a central location to anchor the design. This could be a man-made object, such as an arbor or birdbath, but if you want to keep it natural, you have plenty of options as well. Try a unique shrub or tall tree if you're garden is large in scale. If it's a small patch, a clump of flowers can give the perfect finish to a array of greens and colors. Another element to note is that, if you garden is large or long, there may be room for more than one focal point. 


Arbor in garden


Gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Adding or enhancing a flowerbed can be one of the easiest, most effective ways to make your home more attractive, so be creative! Using these tips, you can design a flower garden that will be all the envy of your neighbors.

Images used with permission, courtesy of and

Next: Indoor Gardening Tips that Are Easy to Follow