Published on December 19, 2022
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.
Prepare Your Garden Plan
- Plan the size and shape of your planting beds to best fit the landscaping.
- 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.
- Draw your plan using our Flower Bed Planner.
- 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.
- If you have existing plants, assess their health and their current position. Remove plants as necessary.
- Carry out a soil test and make any recommended amendments according to the results.
- Create an outline of the planting beds using a garden hose, wooden stakes, or surveyor’s flags.
- Prepare the new soil for the planting bed, using a tiller to work up large areas.
- Before you plant, consult your plan to ensure the correct spacing measurements. Orient the best side outward for the most visually pleasing design.
Choose the Right Location
- 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 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)
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.
Finalize Your Garden Design
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%).
If you change your mind about your flower bed design, don’t hesitate to move your perennials around.
Choose the Right Time to Plant
Get Your Soil Ready
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.