Want to surround your outdoor space with colorful blooms? Who doesn't? Building a flower garden is one way to enhance the beauty of your garden space. And planning should start before the spring season comes around! The beauty of building a flower garden is that you do not have to dedicate a huge expanse of space for it. You can start a flower garden with a window box, a flower bed, or a few planters.
But before you buy a cartful of flowering plants for the garden, there are certain factors that you need to consider to ensure the success of the project. Are you ready to build your first flower garden? Consider these key gardening tips:
Know Your Site
Check the site where you are planning to build your flower garden. Does it offer the ideal conditions for growing flowering plants? Does it provide the perfect light, moisture, and air conditions for your garden?
Location is everything when it comes to building any type of garden. Most flowering plants love the sun so choose a location that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight. Remember, the longer the sun exposure, the denser and more colorful the blooms! South facing spots are the best places to build a flower garden. This is especially true if you are planning to grow perennials. South facing locations get at least 6 hours of sunlight. For shade-loving flowering plants, you can grow these in the deck, patio, or any north-facing spot in your garden.
Check the Soil
Get a soil test done to make sure it has the right pH for flowering plants. Flowering plants are quite fickle. A pH of 6.5 is best for most home gardens, but some plants prefer acidic or alkaline soil. The ideal soil pH will depend on the plants that you want to grow in your flower garden.
If the soil is too acidic or alkaline, amend the soil before planting. To ensure the survival of the plants, opt for native plants. These plant varieties have adjusted to the local climate, which minimizes the risk of die-offs.
If you are using raised beds in the garden, choose a well-draining potting mix that retains moisture well. Don’t forget to add organic compost to enrich the soil. Raised beds are useful if the soil condition in your garden is less than ideal.
Monitor the Local Climate
Apart from checking the soil condition, you have to check your local area’s average first and last frost dates. This will ensure the survival of the flowering plants in the colder months. Checking the average first and last frost dates will also determine your seed starting dates as well as the plant varieties that are suitable for your garden.
Generally, you want to begin sowing your seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date. This will give your plants the best chances of survival. If the outdoor conditions aren’t ideal for seed starting, do your sowing indoors and use heated lamps to insulate your seedlings.
Promote Proper Drainage
Perennial plants hate standing water so prioritize on proper drainage too. Ideally, you want to set your flower garden near a water source so you don’t have to water your flowers by hand. Installing an irrigation system does a great job of regulating the water level in a garden full of perennials and this could affect your choice of plants to grow.
What Plant Varieties to Grow?
After choosing the best spot for your flower garden, amending the soil, and planning your setup, it’s time to choose what kinds of plants you’d like to grow. When planning which flower varieties to grow, consider three things: the color of the flowers, the height of the plants, and the spacing. Tall plants and bushy shrubs must be set at the back so they do not cast a shadow over the smaller plants.
The smallest plants must be planted near the front. If you want to add height and structure to the garden, try adding ornamental grasses like Muhly and Fireworks Pennisetum. You can use small shrubs like distylium, nandina, loropetalum, and ligustrum to frame a flower bed and add lushness to your flower garden. For container gardens or window boxes, layer the elements with the tallest at the back, the middle with colorful elements and then finally, trailing plants on the front.
Flowering plants bloom at different times so keep the colors, textures, and forms in mind when planning your garden setup. It is always a good idea to plant low-maintenance perennial and annual plants that do not crave too much water. This way, your flower garden will look blooming all season long, not just in spring or summer time. Plant the kind of varieties that work for the local climate. Then, add and subtract the plants to create the ideal selection of plant varieties that can survive your garden’s micro climate.
Start with few colors and stick to a color palette, at least initially. Keep the color palette simple then build your garden on the existing plants as you go along. As the fall season sets in, you can start planting bulbs for spring flowers. At some point, you can add crops like herbs and loose-leaf veggies to your garden. Don’t be shy about asking your local nursery employee for gardening tips as well as the best plants to add to your flowering garden.
Perennial Plants for Northern Gardens
Northern gardens require hardy plants that could withstand extreme heat and drought. These plants should have the ability to survive cold climates and shady environments. Daylilies, astible, moonbeam, Heuchera, May Night, and Phlox subulata are just a few of the many flower varieties that will do well in northern gardens. These plants will produce colorful flowers and they do not require much upkeep to grow.
Perennial Plants for Southern Gardens
Plants for southern gardens must be able to tolerate high heat and humidity. These plants must be resilient enough to withstand cooler climates so the flowers bloom until frost. Asiatic lilies, Coreopsis, Gaura, Dianthus, and Salvia are just a few of the many perennial plants that will do well in southern gardens. These plants could tolerate shady growing environments and they produce vivid-hued blossoms.
Perennial Plants for Western Gardens
Plants that low the full sun, particularly tropical plants and houseplants, will do splendidly in western gardens. These plants are incredibly tolerant to drought, extreme heat, and humidity so caring and maintaining these plants is easy. Calla lilies, Salvia, lavender, Lantana, Gazania, Desert marigold, and Asiatic lilies are some of the best flowering plants to add to western gardens. These plants enhance lushness and movement to a flowering garden. They are relatively easy to care for and they can tolerate harsh weather conditions.
Designing Your Flower Garden
When it comes to designing your garden setup, start with a good shape. Choose plants with great basic shapes, such as spires, buttons, globes, etc. and then put these different shapes together. Go for combinations that are vibrant, dynamic, and eye-catching. If the initial setup does not work, fine-tune the shape some more until you are satisfied. You can also try planting similarly shaped flowers to create a cohesive garden design that pleases the eye.
To create a serene, calming setting, design your garden with strategic repetition. This concept promotes continuity, making the garden setting look uniform, cohesive, and tidy. It’s also important to layer your blooming plants to create a garden with a naturally lush look.
The height of the plants, the foliage colors and textures are also important elements to consider when planning your garden design. Don’t be afraid to play with different colors and textures to create a dynamic outdoor space. Mixing plant heights, colors, and sizes add movement and a meadow-like look to the garden.
A flower garden enhances the look and ambiance of your outdoor space. But to achieve the perfect design, you have to plan your garden in steps. Just keep these gardening tips in mind before building your flowering garden! Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get the freshest gardening tips straight to your inbox.