Flower Garden Design and Landscaping

A flower garden design can be in an area by itself where it becomes a focal point of the landscape. It can also be incorporated into beds with shrubs and landscape trees. Either way, you can easily attain all season color by knowing which perennials bloom when.

There are many different types of flowers to use for color.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens - Richmond, Va.


  • There are many ways to design gardens and add color. In addition, there are many types of plants to incorporate into your landscape.
  • Perennial flowers, annuals, roses, herbs and even flowering shrubs can all be part of the design. They all have their own attributes that make them special to create a well rounded flower garden design.
  • One thing you do want to do though is have color throughout all the seasons. By having a general idea of which plants flower when, this is easy to do.


Types of Plants

What Is a Perennial

Perennials are plants that return every year. They die down in the winter. Come Spring, the dead foliage must be removed and new growth will begin; the plant you had last year will reappear, usually larger and more established. Perennials can also be cut down in the Fall, if you prefer.

Note: Most perennials don't care when you remove the foliage in preparation for spring growth. However, there are a few that are fussy! One example is Butterfly Bush. Cut this down in the spring.

Most perennials do not bloom all season long. Most perennials flower only for a particular period of time, some longer than others.

Here are some perennials for your flower garden design that will bloom most of the season. These are the ones that you get the most out of with a long season of bloom and enjoyment.

  • Scabiosa
  • Stella D'oro Daylily
  • Catmint Plant - one of my favorites
  • Butterfly Bush - Shrub/Perennial

And here are some very easy to grow flowers if you like low maintenance perennials.

Perennials add color, variety and interest to garden. A perennial garden design can be a completely separate garden. You might have an area that would be perfect for this. Perhaps it is a view out your kitchen window. Maybe it is an area that you pass by often.

As long the bed is deep enough, the perennial garden design can be quite elaborate, with lots of color, textures and varying heights. Please visit my page perennial garden design for more information.

An English garden design is another type of flower garden. It usually has an abundance of perennials, but it has a specific structure. This is a garden which mixes formality and informality. The shapes and lines are geometric while the flowers themselves are very loose.

For example, you might create a bed at the edge of a lawn area. The bed might have a long, straight edge (rather than curves), yet the plants would be designed in an informal way.

A cottage garden design can be a lot of fun and can also be very casual. It's a "helter skelter' flower garden that anyone can be successful with! One of the keys to its success is to create the garden so that it is very lush. Use lots of perennials.

Hydrangea and Liriope in a flower garden.

Limelight Hydrangea and Liriope in a shade garden.

You can also add in some old fashioned flowering shrubs. Shrub roses work well and if you have some afternoon shade, you can include some Hydrangea. 'Endless Summer' is a pretty dependable Hydrangea in that it blooms on both old and new wood. 'Annabelle' Hydrangea will also add to the cottage garden look with its big white flowers.


Roses in Flower Gardens

Rose gardens can also be part of your landscape. Rose garden designs can be beautiful, but challenging. Here is a very easy rose to grow.The majority of roses need quite a bit of care to do well and look their best. Be prepared to invest the time and care for them to be successful. However, there are some easy to grow roses available. Two that I love and have grown myself are Fairy Rose and Carefree Roses.

As with any flower garden design, you might choose to have a rose garden comprised only of roses. You can also incorporate roses in with the rest of your flower garden design among other types of plants. This will make the garden interesting by providing another type of flowering plant. Some roses flower repeatedly throughout the season.

Here are some roses that are repeat bloomers, are easy to care for, and blend will with other plants in your flower garden design.

  • Fairy Rose
  • Knockout Rose
  • Carefree Delight
  • Carefree Wonder
  • Carpet Rose

And here is a great site on rose gardens.

Annual Flower Types

Annuals are flowers that live for one season only and then die. You might ask, "Why bother?" There is a very good reason to have some annuals in your flower garden design.

Annuals will bloom continuously all season long! They will add glorious color to the garden. However, they do need some care for them to perform at their best.

Many annual flowers need to be dead headed. Dead heading is where the spent, or finished flower, is removed from the plant. This is necessary for annuals to keep flowering at their best. In addition, they need to be fertilized frequently and regularly. Depending on the fertilizer you choose, this may be anywhere from once a week to once a month.


Most Fragrant Flowers

What is a garden without some fragrant flowers? Plant these flowers where you will appreciate their scent, such as along your walkways, next to the patio, or in a special sitting area. Here are a few to consider:

  • Lavender - I like the variety 'Hidcote'
  • Roses - many varieties
  • Lilac
  • Korean Spice Virburnum - shrub
  • Herbs - Basil, Mint
  • Honeysuckle - shrub
  • Mockorange - shrub

Flowering Herb Gardens

Yes, herbs actually do flower, although this is not the main reason for including them in our gardens. It is mostly for cooking and fragrances. In addition, many of them are drought tolerant so are perfect for certain areas. Most herbs are disease and insect resistant and take little care. Some are annuals while others are perennials.

Consider the herb Thyme. There are many varieties of this herb. There is Lemon Thyme, Wooly Thyme and Creeping Thyme, to name a few. Thyme will do extremely well in hot, dry areas. It is fragrant and can be used in many recipes. It is generally low growing and does flower. Here are some plants to consider either for an herb garden or to mix into your flower garden:

  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Chives


If you have a very wet area on your property, consider a rain garden design. You can create a great flower garden with flowers and other plants that are wet site tolerant. This is a wonderful solutions to a this type of problem area.



Whichever type of flower garden design you choose, there are few things to remember as you get started.
  1. Keep the color simple. You can stay with shades of one color. You can also use colors that go well together, such as pinks and purples. (Add some white in also.)
  2. Think about the textures of the plants too. A plant next to another that has a different texture or form will make each other stand out more.
  3. Heights should be another consideration in your flower garden design. Place the taller plants in the back of the garden and the lower ones in the front. But also place a taller type here and there to avoid boredom.
  4. If your garden has the room, try to repeat color and/or plant varieties here and there. As your eye meanders through the flower garden, this repetition will create a cohesive, pleasing flow.

Most important, have fun with these gardens!

Designing Front Yards
For more information on using flowers in your design, take a look at my ebook on creating great front yards...lots of information on planting design.







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