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Published on December 19, 2022

Pro Tips

How to Design a Beautiful Flower Garden

Discover everything you need to know about how to design a backyard garden of gorgeous flowers. Learn the difference between annuals and perennials, which flowers are most suitable for your climate, and how to plant the flowers you’ve chosen with these helpful tips and tricks.

Get Ready for Garden Parties

You don’t have to be a green thumb to grow beautiful flowers. Our Garden Centre Specialists are here to help you plan your backyard garden, and our Garden Centre has all of your gardening tools and essentials. Shop online for flowers, soil, fertilizer, mulch, tools, and everything else you need to complete your garden design.

Prepare Your Garden Plan

  1. Plan the size and shape of your planting beds to best fit the landscaping. 
  2. Use sunlight and water requirements to select the right plants. Plant size and maturity should also be taken into account. Check the plant tag to find this information.
  3. Draw your plan using our Flower Bed Planner.
  4. For rectangular planting beds near walls or fences, place taller plants in the back. For round or oval planting beds, place the plants in the centre.
  5. If you have existing plants, assess their health and their current position. Remove plants as necessary.
  6. Carry out a soil test and make any recommended amendments according to the results.
  7. Create an outline of the planting beds using a garden hose, wooden stakes, or surveyor’s flags.
  8. Prepare the new soil for the planting bed, using a tiller to work up large areas.
  9. Before you plant, consult your plan to ensure the correct spacing measurements. Orient the best side outward for the most visually pleasing design.
Read on to discover even more helpful tips!

Choose the Right Location

It’s a good idea to decide on your flower garden location before buying your flowers. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Backyard Size. The size of your garden bed will rely, in part, on your available backyard space. Make sure you also note which areas are level and sunny.
  • Flower Bed Size. The size of your garden bed will also rely on your gardening experience. For those new to gardening, 100 sq. ft. is a good starting size.

Choose Your Flower Types

Annuals vs. Perennials
  • Annuals live only for a season and need to be replanted every spring.
  • Perennials go dormant in the winter but regrow season after season.

Full Sun vs. Shade
When choosing your flowers, consider their sun requirements and pick the location accordingly.
  • Full Sun: An area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day.
  • Partial Sun: An area that provides a balance of sun and shade, receiving 3 to 6 hours of sunlight a day.
  • Shade: An area that receives less than 3 hours of sunlight a day.

The flowers you choose to plant should ultimately come down to your personal taste and preferences, but here are a few questions to ask yourself first:
  • What is your plant hardiness zone?
  • Is your soil light and sandy, clay and heavy, or organic?
  • Is your soil well drained or consistently moist?
  • Is your flower bed location sunny, shaded, or semi-shaded?
  • Are your chosen plants resistant to pests and disease?
  • How easy will your plants be to maintain?

Some low-maintenance plants great for beginners include:
  • Begonia (annuals, prefer shade)
  • Pansies (annuals, prefer partial sun)
  • Geraniums (annuals, prefer full sun)
  • Daffodil (perennials, prefer full or partial sun)
  • Tulip (perennials, prefer partial sun)
  • Iris (perennials, prefer full sun)
  • Lily (perennials, prefer partial sun)

Yellow rudbeckias
Pink rose bush
Close up of a yucca plant

Pro Tip

Keep in mind that each plant has its own particularities. Some might be invasive and will need to be carefully maintained, while others, like spring-blooming perennials, lose their foliage during the growing season.

Colourful flower bed

Finalize Your Garden Design

Now it’s time to have some fun! Use your new flower garden to highlight your home’s good side. For example, trees and shrubs can frame your home and highlight your front door. Similarly, garden beds of different shapes, sizes, layers, and heights can enhance your curb appeal. Think about whether any garden decor will make a good addition as well.

A successful garden design is also one where the plants enhance and complement each other.

Here are a few of our best tips:
  • Keep your flower combinations varied, both according to foliage and flowering.
  • Think about the overall visual balance of your garden. An easy trick is to place larger plants in the back and smaller ones in the front.
  • Create a harmonious flower bed by choosing flowers of different colours, foliage, and forms, including creeping, trailing, and upright plants.
  • The larger your flower bed, the more plants of the same species you can use. This will help the flower bed pop from a distance.
  • If you stagger the blooming periods of the plants in your flower bed, you’ll have beautiful blooms through spring, summer, and fall.
  • To help prevent the growth of weeds, arrange the plants according to almost how wide as they will be at maturity (minus about 15%).

Pro Tip

If you change your mind about your flower bed design, don’t hesitate to move your perennials around.

Draw Your Design

Visualizing your design on paper can help ensure that everything is where you want it. Use our handy planning sheets to draw everything out.

Choose the Right Time to Plant

The best time to plant depends on whether you are planting annuals or perennials. Perennials should go in the ground after the last spring frost, while annuals should be planted in the summer.
Wheelbarrow with soil in front of a flower bed

Get Your Soil Ready

Prep the Flower Bed

Use a flat shovel to remove existing grass from the flower bed or apply an herbicide. If you do use a shovel, then dig 4” to 5” past the perimeter of the flower bed. Clear away debris, loosen the ground, and work organic soil into it.

Add the Soil

When choosing soil for your garden bed, pick a product that has been pre-mixed or blended for perennials or flowers. While adding it to your flower bed, add a granular or liquid fertilizer to the soil as well.

Pick Up Your Garden Design Essentials


Mulch helps to keep the soil moist, prevent weed growth, and control the soil temperature. Before adding mulch, give the soil a good watering!

Garden Tools

Before you begin, make sure you have all of your essential gardening tools on hand, including rakes, hoes, spades, and trowels.

Garden Edging

Landscape edging will add the final touch to your garden design and give it a clean and tidy look. Choose from materials like brick, stone, and rubber to suit your style.
Person watering a flower garden

Keep Your Flower Beds Beautiful

While a good spring cleaning is important, make sure to keep going throughout the summer and fall seasons. Check out our guide to learn more.

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