How to plant a flower bed

Deciding Where to Plant Your Flower Bed

There are not too many rules when it comes to where a flower bed will do best. You’ll have more plants to choose from in a sunnier spot, but you can find perennial flowers for both shady and sunny locations.

Wherever you choose to put your flower bed, you’ll want to make sure your soil has a fresh layer of compost and manure to give your new plants the best possible start.

If you’re planting new flowers in an existing, overgrown flowerbed, you’ll have to weed and remove the unwanted perennials before you dig in and add new ones. You want to give the new perennials the least amount of competition possible so they can establish good roots and get the nutrients they need. Weeds are greedy when it comes to soil nutrients!

Starting completely from scratch? Rototill the area in question, add soil, and get started, or lay cardboard over the area with a thick layer of soil over top. The cardboard method works best if you do it in the fall and plant in the spring, but it can be done in spring with a spring planting, as well.

1.Prepare the site

(Image credit: Future)

Choose a sunny spot and dig it over to remove all weeds and their roots. Pull a rake over the surface of the soil until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  

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For Best Results, add Mulch

Beginner gardeners often make a flower bed with high hopes in the spring, then are crushed to discover by summer that everything is a weedy-mess-struggle-garden. Save yourself a ton of work and surround your perennials with a healthy amount of mulch.

Yes, it’s more work and it costs extra money, but it’s so worth it to be able to actually enjoy your summer and your flowers, instead of spending it weeding or feeling guilty about not weeding.

4. Herbs

(Image credit: Future / Tim Young)

You don’t need a vast space to create a beautiful herb garden. Herbs grow well in containers, dedicated beds or as an integral part of a herbaceous border planting. The idea is to grow herbs you use and enjoy.
 

Herbs suit both informal and formal garden ideas. Formal herb gardens are based on patterns and geometric shapes, whereas informal ones are a free-for-all, with species and colors all mixed together.

Despite the spontaneity of informal herb plantings, the best are carefully planned, even if only to ensure that the fully grown height and spread of neighboring plants is compatible. 

In a formal scheme, we advise beds of around 4ft (1.2m) in width, so that the herbs are accessible. Any wider and it’s worth adding stepping stones to improve access.

Mix Annuals and Perennials

Anchoring the flower bed with perennials helps form the structure of your garden. Since they return year after year, perennials also reduce the chore of planting every spring. Still, you may want to incorporate some annuals to enjoy a little diversity every summer.

Visualize the Future

When researching your flower options, be sure to note different plant sizes at maturity, a vital consideration when determining the proper distance between them. The key is to anticipate what your garden will look like down the road, even if that means it looks sparse when you plant it initially. After all, a few months from now, your flowers will grow much fuller, taller, and more colorful, and you don’t want to overcrowd them.

Tip 2: Colour Choice in Flower Bed Design

Colour is one of the most important parts of all garden design. It can change the mood of a garden from one of excitement to calm, drama to tranquillity. One of the major hurdles that new gardeners face is falling into the trap of ‘Pick & Mix’ planting. When in the midst of eager excitement you end up with every colour under the sun.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a riot of colour in a garden, but it must be controlled or have some thought behind it. If you don’t pay much attention to colour then your garden can soon become an awkward mix of clashing colours or unsettling combinations.

Colour is one of the most powerful design tools we
Colour is one of the most powerful design tools we have. So give it some thought to get the ultimate impact!

There are two main colour combinations in garden planting (I’m really abbreviating here so I apologise to colourists everywhere):

  • Monochromatic (using shades of one colour hue)
  • Contrasting (picking colours that contrast or bounce off each other)
This is a monochromatic flower bed – all wit
This is a monochromatic flower bed – all within the purple hue on the colour wheel.

The main tip here is to make sure there’s some rhyme or reason to your colour choices. Clashing mish mashes of colour are harder to pull off than you think. By having a unified colour scheme it will help bring a real sense of intent to your garden borders!

Yellow & Purple causes a contrast in this bord
Yellow & Purple causes a contrast in this border, they make each other brighter when combined

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