Gardening in beds allows you to partition space, experiment with different collections of plants and add considerable visual interest to your landscape. Beds allow you to mix and amend your soil to accommodate the plants you want to grow. Keep in mind, physical space is the only limitation to the number of different garden beds you can add to your landscape.
Herb Garden Bed
Grow your own herbs to use in the kitchen and as ornamentals. Several herb varieties will attract butterflies and bees to add another dimension to your landscape. Locate your culinary herb garden bed where you can access it easily when you are ready to cook. Reward your senses of taste, sight and smell by incorporating common herbs, such as lavender (Lavendula angustifolia), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) as suggested by the Herb Society of America as common plants for beginner gardens.
For something completely different, take your inspiration from the Bonnefont Cloister Garden and fill your landscape with herbs used by Medieval artists or herbs associated with love and marriage in the Middle Ages. Or find another niche--for example, medicinal herbs, plants with common scents or herbs to make beverages.
Shade Garden Bed
Choose from the myriad of plants that perform well in a shady location. A raised bed provides plants and flowers some additional protection from the perils of competing with tree roots. According to the "Beginner's Guide to Gardening," some popular bedding plants for shade include sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and balsam (Impatiens balsamina). Sweet rocket grows 2 to 3 feet high and produces purple, pink or white flowers. It is fragrant in the evening. Balsam also has purple, white and pink flowers, and it typically tops out at 2 1/2 feet high.
Add pansies to define the border of this shade garden bed. You can find pansies in an assortment of colors. Pansies are low growers, reaching only 4 to 6 inches high. Take care to provide your shade bed with enough water because the same source of shade, a tree, awning or porch, may also block it from receiving rainwater.
Rock Garden Bed
Rock gardens work exceptionally well when arranged in tiers to show off a myriad of low-growing plants as well as some taller specimens. Many rock garden plants grow on slopes in their natural habitat. Recreating the look in your garden gives your bed a more natural look. The Colorado State University Extension program recommends using rocks of one geographical type. Use different sized stones and bury them at depths so that various amounts of stone are exposed to create greater interest. Position the rocks first and avoid stepping on plants or crushing them with the rocks. Dragonhead (Dracocephalum ruyschiana) grows 1 foot high with blue flowers and dark green foliage. Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala) bears white flowers and dark green, glossy foliage. Firewitch (Dianthus gratianopolitanus) has deep pink flowers and gray-green leaves. It grows to a height of 6 to 8 inches. Compact Rose Cranesbill (Geranium dalmaticum) has pink flowers and grows 4 to 6 inches tall and has a dense, spreading habit.