6 Easy Steps to Building a New Flower Bed

The most elaborately designed flower bed won’t look good if the plants are not appropriate for their planting site. Building a new flower bed starts with an aesthetically pleasing bed shape, then adding flowers that are appropriate for the planting site in terms of soil, sun, water, and growth requirements.

Use these steps for building a new flower bed so that your investment of sweat, elbow grease, and money will pay off for the years to come.

Locate where the sunray hits.A flower bed with enough sunlight.

A flower bed with enough sunlight.Decide on the location where the new flower bed will be created and observe how the sunlight hits throughout the day.

When possible, observe the potential site location for a full year to discover how the sun and shade hit the area during all four seasons of the year.

See whether or not the location is in full sun, partial sun or full shade, and which months and times of day provide such.

By checking out how the sun and shade hit the location year around, you can determine the best locations for flowers and have something in your new flower bed providing color 12 months a year.

Design using a garden hose.

Design the shape and size of the new flower bed by using a garden hose and try to work with the contours of the landscape. Stretch out the garden hose to form the perimeter of the flower bed shape and size. The flexible garden hose is easy to move around to form curves or circles as desired, and the basic flower bed design can be visualized before any digging takes place. Need a new hose? Here are plenty of great options.

Straight edges are a classic design, but there’s no right or wrong shape. Create the size and shape you want and bear in mind that when done correctly, a flower bed will add curb appeal and value to your home.

Gardening Know How says you can also use a “spray paint or flour to mark out and shape the bed.” According to Mavis Butterfield of One Hundred Dollars a Month

The advantages of outlining a new flower {or garden} bed with a hose is that it is bendy. It allows you to make rounded edges easily and totally visualize the space. Best of all, you can change it if you don’t like it. Cheap and effective. Just the way I like it.

Draw a sketch.

With the location chosen and the shape and size defined by a water hose, draw a sketch of the flower bed. This is important, as it allows you to play around with ideas, like the size and shape of the flower bed. It will also make it easier when choosing plants, as these should always be compatible to the area.”

Source: Gardening Know How

A rough outline that is close to scale size is all that’s needed so the right plants can be chosen and planted in the right places. This will give you a means of ‘planting’ flowers on paper until you get them in just the right spot. It’s much easy to erase pencil marks on paper than to dig up and transplant flowers after planting.

Regardless of the size and shape you have designed for your flower bed, always place the tallest plants in the back as a backdrop and work your way forward with shorter plants.

Mark on the sketch where short plants are desired and where the taller flowers will be appropriate. Mark off spaces on the sketch where any vines, shrubs or trees may be desired. Make note of how the sunlight hits each section of the new flower bed. If any non-growing garden additions will be placed in the flower bed like a garden bench, bird bath, rocks, etc., include them in the flower bed sketch too.

Find the focal point.

Focal point of a flower bed.Focal point of a flower bed.Your new flower bed needs one focal point to build around. That focal point could be a flowering tree, rose bush or a water feature. Whatever you find the most attractive should be given center stage in your flower bed.

In the words of the Kelly Roberson of Better Homes and Gardens:

Every garden bed, no matter how big or small, needs a focal point. Focal points give the eye a place to start before moving on to the rest of the flowerbed. That may mean anchoring your large bed with boxwood shrubs on the corners and a flowering shrub in the middle, or planting a mass of a single flower type in the center of a skinny border.”

Visit the local garden center.

Take the flower bed sketch and pay a visit to the local garden center to check out the wide array of flowers. Read the plant labels to determine the growing habits of each plant, plus the sun, soil and climate requirements of each. Consider the mature height, width, bloom time, hardiness, soil, sun, and water needs when making plant choices for the new flower bed.

A new flower bed.

The observations you made regarding sun and shade will allow you to select plants that have similar needs and group them together within your flower bed.

Shade-lovers, like hostas and lady fern can be tucked under a tree or tall shrub.

Drought-tolerant marigolds and Shasta daisies can take the full sun all day, a hydrangea is a good choice for an area with moist soil and peonies and tulips will give a burst of fragrant color in the early spring.

Keep your climate in mind when making plant choices too. While that tropical hibiscus is beautiful when in full bloom, it will not survive in a cold climate. Flowers that need a cold winter to re-charge their underground rhizomes and bulbs won’t do well in tropical climates either.

Plant and enjoy.

A new flower bed. All that remains to be done is the labor part of creating new flower beds. Till the soil in the flower bed, amending the soil with compost, plant the flowers and enjoy their beauty.

Don’t worry if some of the flowers or plants don’t look exactly as planned in the flower bed as this can always be adjusted.

A flower bed is always a work in progress, the right plants in the right places is the starting point.