Friday, September 25, 2009

Flower Bed Design Ideas

Color is a critical element of planning a distinctive flowerbed.

A flowerbed gives free range to your imagination. Choose colors, textures, scents and plot size to suit your fancy. But push the envelope a bit by planting flowerbeds in unexpected places, using props for added interest, making a statement with curated plants and building surprises right into the plots so that even the smallest garden is packed with delightful discoveries. Does this Spark an idea?

Full-Front Curb Appeal

The front entryway or a spot in the yard are ideal locations for a flowerbed. A winding paver trail leading to a small porch is an invitation to plant pansies. Back them with mid-size annuals and overhanging, climbing, sprawling rose bushes. Planters edging the porch steps and a hanging basket or two flanking the entrance pull the garden right into the house. A boring square of front lawn becomes the green velvet border of a circle of flowers set like a small sculpture in the yard. Floribunda roses provide height at the center of the circle and bloom all summer. Blue petunias, blue lobelia and yellow marigolds surround the rose bush with a primary color perimeter. Or stick with white petunias and daisies, blue lobelia and crimson roses like the Europeana for a red, white and blue patriotic summer flowerbed.

Monochromatic Palette

Borrow a leaf from a world famous British estate garden, and create a flower bed of all one color. At Sissinghurst in Kent, England, the white room is a garden set apart by border shrubs and hedges and planted all in white with silvery foliage. Keep your one-color design contemporary with geometric blocks of the same flowers and varied heights to keep things visually interesting. A low green boxwood hedge runs perpendicular to the back fence on two sides and is open in the front. Its deep green foliage encloses spring triangles of yellow tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. Those are replaced by summer carpets of buttercups and black-eyed Susans bordering beds of golden day lilies, trellises of creamy heritage roses and giant sunflowers and honeysuckle vines along the fence. By early fall, the spring beds are bright with mums and marigolds, and, if you've tucked a pumpkin vine in somewhere, you have orange globes, like fallen harvest moons, to end the season.

Country Cottage Chaos

Even the overspilling exuberance of cottage wildflowers, pots, planters and ornamental grasses needs a few defining principles. Recycle interesting and offbeat containers, like a huge metal pasta pot with drainage holes drilled in the bottom filled with geraniums or a weather worn wrought iron bistro chair as a trellis for climbing vines. Tuck your found planters into flowerbeds bisected by meandering paths of pavers overgrown by groundcover and lined with coneflowers, meadow buttercup, daisies, cowslip, dandelions, primroses, chamomile, marigolds and poppies. Cover a tiny gazebo or a doubled archway with two or three kinds of roses that bloom consecutively. A doubled arch may be just wide enough for a small bench. Make each flowerbed at least twice as wide as the tallest plant for balance. Plan early, mid-season and late bloomers to avoid bare spots. Plant some sweet scented blooms in amidst the showstoppers. Plant for crowded plots, but remember that seedlings will fill out as they grow. Install some solar lights in and around the flowerbeds so you can enjoy the garden after dark.

Tags: blue lobelia, right into