I love incorporating fresh flower bed ideas in my yard. I’ve built a pollinator palace in my front yard garden, added a raised bed among perennials, dug in herbs in a border planting, carefully positioned garden art among the flowers, and more. Neighborhood walks, garden tours, both local and international, and of course social media are all great sources of inspiration. When figuring out your garden, there are so many options: symmetry vs that wild cottage garden look, a riot of color vs a more classic, monochromatic palette, low maintenance vs a garden that needs lots of attention, etc. Today I’m sharing a variety of flower bed ideas that I’ve tucked away for future gardens that I’ll create—or existing ones I’d like to overhaul.
Narrow down flower bed ideas and map out a plan
Before you get started, it’s important to make sure the garden’s conditions are conducive to your master plan and creativity. That means building healthy soil that will help the plants you choose to thrive. Or, it means choosing plants based on the soil conditions. For example, if your garden is being built on a part of the property that does not drain well, you’ll want to consider plants that don’t mind wet feet. In this case, a rain garden plan may be helpful.
The outdoor space at the very front of my property is very dry. I’ve been working to amend the soil, but my plant choices for that area are drought and heat tolerant. The plants closest to the road are salt tolerant.
On lush, leafy, tree-lined streets, you may be dealing with shade—or tree roots! That latter challenge may impact how you plant the annual flowers and perennials you choose.
One other thing to always be mindful of is the location of any underground lines or cables. It’s always a good idea to make use of your local “call before you dig” program before you start moving any great quantities of dirt around. Now let’s dig in to these flower bed ideas!
Work with a slope
Building a new garden on a slope can be a challenge. You want to make sure all your efforts aren’t washed away after the first significant rainfall! Tiering your garden with patio stone or rocks can create flat levels in which you can plant.
Turn your whole backyard into a flower bed
Backyards are generally edged with flower gardens, keeping a vast expanse of grass in the middle. But what if you did the opposite? As in make the majority of your backyard the garden, with grass pathways in between. This is something to consider as more information about the benefits of rewilding start to make their way into gardening articles and designs.
Create a private nook among your flower beds
What a shame if you create a garden, but don’t establish a seating area where you can enjoy its various vantage points! Position a flower bed, so that you can nestle a bench among the flowers or build a larger seating area as part of the planting plan.
Choose bold flowers and foliage
In some gardens you can just tell there is a painterly green thumb behind the planting scheme. Think about bold pops of color when planning your garden and perusing the garden center. Coleus and heuchera, for example, come in a fabulous range of leaf patterns and colors.
Light up your flower beds at night
Add solar lights to your gardens so you can admire them when relaxing outside on a hot summer night and when you’re entertaining.
Add texture to your planting
One big tip that I’ve taken away from gardens in the U.K. is the use of texture when choosing plants. Fennel is often used for that light, fluffy look. That aesthetic can be achieved with flowers, too—think astilbe and goatsbeard.
Create a carpet of plants
Depending on the angle of your flower garden, you may have an opportunity to really play with groundcovers to create a mosaic design. This is similar to the idea of a groundcover quilt, which I mention in my article about front yard garden ideas.
Grow a mix of food and flowers
Consider the ornamental qualities of edible plants, like kale and various herbs. In my front yard garden, I have a border of lemon thyme. The lovely, variegated leaves are ornamental, but available to my herb scissors when I’m cooking dishes throughout the year. I’ve also snuck a small raised bed into that same perennial garden, where I can take advantage of the sun and grow tomatoes, peppers, basil, or whichever patio varieties of plants I choose.
Add shelter for pollinators
One of my favorite things in my front yard garden isn’t a plant, it’s my pollinator palace. There is so much inspiration out there now to fashion your DIY project. Or, you can easily find one at the garden center.
Plant your boulevard
Whether you call it a hellstrip, a boulevard, or a verge, depending on your street, that empty space is just begging to be planted. Check with your town or municipality’s bylaws to make sure you’re permitted to plant in that space. You also don’t want to block any sight lines that would impeded your view of traffic when backing out of a parking spot. And see the aforementioned “call before you dig” tip.
Keep an orderly edge
Whether you use old bricks to create a mowing border, or you’re out in the garden each spring with an edger, a neat and tidy garden border allows the plants to shine.
Make do with large trees
One of the most common questions I get when giving talks about my book, Gardening Your Front Yard, involves how to plant around the base of a big old tree. In most cases, the ground may be very hard to work with because of the roots. In other instances, if the tree is a black walnut, for example, you’re looking for juglone-tolerant plants, if you can even dig into the soil to plant. Clever potscaping with a variety of planters can solve the issue. This would also work around an old tree stump that can’t be removed.
Create a special garden for spring flower bulbs
Tulips, daffodils, fritillaries, snowdrops, and other spring flower bulbs are harbingers of spring. They’re always very welcome after a long, grey winter. Create a flower bulb “mix” by choosing several bulb varieties or go for the impact of a single variety. Plan for continuous blooms by checking the packages for flowering times.
More garden design ideas
- Rain garden benefits and tips: Plan a garden to divert, capture, and filter rainwater
- Front yard vegetable garden ideas: Grow a mix of food and flowers
- Pollinator garden design: How to get started attracting bees, butterflies, and birds
- Landscape borders: Eye-catching edging ideas to separate your garden areas