Welcome guests with flower beds that complement your home. Flower beds are a lovely way to showcase seasonal colors and textures. With creative flower bed ideas and a well-planned design, you can have year-round interest all around your home, from the front yard to the back yard and in between.
This guide will provide you with inspiration for colorful, simple flower bed ideas that will boost the curb appeal of your home and add joy to your landscape.
How to Choose the Best Flowers for Your Garden
The key to choosing the best blooms for your garden is to know your site and know your light before you shop. Light conditions range from full sun to partial shade and full shade.
Selecting the best flowers for your garden will depend on choosing the right plants for the growing conditions and purpose of your flower bed.
What are the light conditions of the area where you plan to plant your flowers? Plants are labeled with the best light conditions in order to thrive. You will need to purchase plants that match the light conditions of the flower bed. Light conditions are listed on plants as:
- Full sun: prefers six or more hours of direct sunshine a day
- Partial shade: can thrive in three to six hours of daily sunshine
- Shade: does well with less than three hours of sun per day
You will need to take into consideration the plant’s size when fully mature– both its diameter and height. Many new gardeners get excited and pack in their flower beds with their favorite plants only to see the plants get crowded out when they grow. The label on the plant will list the height and width of the mature plant, along with recommended spacing.
Best advice is to follow the planting guidelines, even though the bed will look sparse when the bed is first planted. Flowers need space to grow in order to thrive, and good air flow will prevent pest and disease problems.
When to Plant
Garden centers will have plenty of brightly colored flowers well before last frost date in spring. These plants were grown in a temperature-controlled greenhouse environment. Do not plant until the last frost date for your area. Learn more in Frost Date Calendar.
Most summer blooming plants will not survive a late spring frost. If you want early color, select early spring flowers such as pansies and primrose. Spring blooming bulbs typically need to be planted in the fall. However, you can find blooming bulbs to put in your garden in the spring for instant color.
Tip: Choose organic for your garden. Start with good quality soil for a healthy organic garden.
Keep the Color Scheme Simple
With so many beautiful blooms in rich, gorgeous colors, the temptation is great to bring home all your favorite flowers in all your favorite colors, but your flower bed will have more appeal if you choose a simple color palette and stick to it. Pick a few flower colors to highlight for a clean, vibrant effect. It can be as simple as yellow and purple, in fact, that's the best advice for selecting colors: look to the color wheel.
The same color wheel that helps you narrow down paint choices for your home can also help you create a color palette for your flower beds. The key is to remember that complementary colors blend well together, ex. purple and yellow, red and green, blue and orange. They're opposites on the color wheel and best friends when planted together in the garden.
Learn more about garden color schemes.
Line a Walkway
Plant flowers on either side of your front walkway. Show your hospitality with a trail of blooms that will lead visitors to your front door.
To keep a walkway looking inviting through most of the year, use a foundation of perennials and interplant with spring and summer bulbs and colorful types of annuals. For example, start with hostas that will emerge in spring and last up until first frost. Plant with annual pansies in spring and fall, and layer in daffodils and crocus to emerge in early spring. In summer, fill in with annuals like impatiens and vinca. If you have room, a small daylily variety like Stella d'oro will bring color on hot summer days.
Plant a Perennial Bed
Keep blooms going year after year with perennials. Perennial flowers and plants typically cost more per plant than annuals, but they offer beauty and growth for years. In addition to perennials flowers like coneflowers, black-eyed Susans and daylilies, plant perennial herbs, ornamental grasses and flowering shrubs for added height and texture. You can pop in annual flowers for extra color in-between bloom time.
Spacing is very important when working with perennials. Pay attention to the mature size noted on the plant tag. Always plant taller perennials in the back of the bed, and smaller plants in front. Some perennials, like hostas, will need to be divided every few years. Learn more about Dividing Perennials.
Use Native Plants
Native plants are simply the plants that grow and thrive in your local area. These are the plants that can handle the extremes of your climate, from sizzling hot summers to rain-soaked autumns to bone-chilling winters.
One advantage of using native plants in a flower garden bed is that they are low maintenance and typically need very little attention. Plants native to your area are bred by nature to thrive in your soil and environment. Plus, native plants provide vital habitat for pollinators like butterflies, bees, birds, and many other species of wildlife.
Make a Pollinator Haven
Plant for pollinators and spend your summer watching the party in your garden. Blooming flower beds bring butterflies, bees and other of your favorite pollinators to your yard.
There are so many beautiful flowering perennials and annuals, shrubs, herbs and trees that attract pollinating insects and birds. To attract pollinators to your garden, select flowers and herbs with yellow, red, orange or blue petals and a fresh, mild and flowery sweet scent.
Some popular pollinator favorites are zinnias, lantana, bee balm and both annual and perennial sunflowers. If you're a vegetable gardener, you'll appreciate the increase in yield in your veggie harvest when you plant flowers for pollinators. The pollinators and your plants will thank you with beautiful blooms and fruit all season long.
Don’t shy away from the tall flowers like hollyhocks, gladiolus and sunflowers. Tall plants add an architectural element to you flower beds. Because of their height, tall plants often need support or stakes to keep them upright.
Shrubs and ornamental grasses give architectural form to your garden, and they're often called the "bones" of your garden. Learn about Types of Ornamental Grass.
Use a Slope
A retaining wall on a slope is the perfect opportunity to add a hillside flower bed. Use spiller plants on the edges of the retainer wall for a romantic touch. Some spiller plants include: creeping thyme and creeping phlox. Creeping rosemary has a soft blue bloom in spring.
When gardening on a slope, pay extra attention to amending the soil and mulching the bed. Some slopes are too steep or inaccessible for weeding and you'll need very low maintenance plants. Get ideas for plants in Best Groundcover for Slopes.
Use the Trees
The base of a tree is a great spot for a small flower bed. Plant flowers around the base of a tree in a circle or oval. If you have an old tree stump you have yet to remove, hollow out the middle and plant some annual flowers. Add drip irrigation for trouble-free watering. The flowers will hide the stump until you are ready to have it removed.
Keep in mind that underneath a tree in summer is most likely a full shade situation and the plants will need to compete with the tree for water. Choose the right plants for the right place.
Underneath shade trees is a perfect spot for containers. Try shade-loving coleus for bright color in partial to deep shade all summer long.
Off to the Side
The front and back of the house aren’t the only spots for flower beds. Give the sides of your house some love, too. If the area gets too much shade, no problem. Plant shade-loving plants like hostas, azalea, hydrangeas, begonias and snapdragons.
Remember that more sun equals more blooms, so if your site gets daylong shade, you'll need to stick with foliage plants like ferns, hostas, heucheras and hellebores.
Create a Container Garden
Even the smallest patio can have a flower bed. Plant a colorful array of annuals in containers and group them for an instant flower garden. Pots and planters are mobile and customizable. They are perfect for annual flowers that will add fun pops of color to your porch or patio.
Plant combinations using the "thriller, filler, spiller" method are the easiest way to make your outdoor planter ideas come to life.
Anchor the planter with a vertical, architectural-style plant as the "thriller" element. Surround it with a medium-height plant as "filler" to fill in additional space and frame the plant. Lastly, choose softer plants that tumble out of the edge of the container towards the ground. This is the "spiller." Learn more container garden ideas.
How to Balance Flower Beds in Your Garden
Flower beds connect the landscape to your house, as well as add color and interest. They fill in the framework provided by your trees, shrubs and other architecture in your yard. Consider these steps to balance flower beds in your yard:
Pick a view. Place flower beds in areas where they can be easily viewed and appreciated. Make sure they look good from all sides.
Think about the size. Flower beds can be any length and width, but wider beds tend to me more attractive to the eye. Plant taller flowers towards the rear of your bed. Plant smaller flowers at the front of the flower bed. Medium height plants are wonderful fillers and are best located in the middle of your flower bed.
Watch the lines. Horizontal or vertical, curved or straight–each type of line will create a different impression in your flower bed and garden.
Strike a balance. Most designs are based on two types of balance–symmetrical and asymmetrical. A symmetrical balance will create a formal garden layout, while an asymmetrical balance is more informal.
Whether you need the right planters, seeds or potting soil, The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.