There's no best way to approach the designing and planting of a new flower bed, with most of it being a matter of personal preference, says Cornell University. Despite this, several basic planning, selecting and management strategies can help you successfully populate a new flower bed in a manner that's aesthetically pleasing and encourages the quick establishment of your flowers.
Choose a gardening site. Most annual and perennial flowers require full sun, according to Purdue University. For the best results, reserve shady areas for plants with interesting foliage and keep the sunny areas of your yard for flowers.
Prepare the garden site. Measure out the shape and size of your flower bed--6- to 8-foot-wide beds are ideal, according to Cornell University, but 2- to 3-foot-wide beds can suffice in small backyards--and remove all surface vegetation in the area. Us a spade to breakup the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, then stir in a couple inches of compost to improve drainage.
Fertilize the flower bed with 2 lbs. of 5-10-5 all-purpose fertilizer for every 100 square feet of bedding space, according to Purdue University.
Select the flower species you wish to grow. You can mix both annual and perennial species. For the most interesting and well-filled appearance, select different species of varying heights and choose plants with blossoms of complimentary colors. Complimentary colors are the hues that lie opposite each other on a color wheel. Your regional cooperative extension office (see Resources) can provide you with suggestions for what flowers grow well in your area.
Buy the plants from a garden store or nursery. You may wish to start your flowers from seed or from transplanted seedlings. If via seed, buy seed packets for the species you chose in Step 4. If buying transplants, only select plants that appear vigorous, have no wilted or yellow foliage, and are free of insects.
Plant the flowers in your flower bed. Bury and space the seeds or transplants according to the spacing requirements listed on the seed packet or on the small information tab placed in the seedling's pot. Arrange the plants so that they're staggered from tallest-to-shortest with the shortest specimens closest to the viewer. For example, if the bed will be viewed from all sides, plant the tallest plants in the center of the bed. For easiest maintenance, keep the annuals along the bed's borders for easy access when you need to dig out the dying plants.
Water the newly planted flower bed thoroughly after planting, using enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Continue watering every other day or as needed for your plant species. Once the seeds or transplants are 4 to 6 inches tall, spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch on the flower bed to help conserve soil moisture and keep out weeds.