Flower gardening begins before you pick out your first flowers, with the design and layout of your flower beds. Flower beds can be simple plots of land set aside for growing blooms, or complex structures raised to different levels to get a complex landscaping effect. They can be neatly arrayed to give your garden a traditional, formal look, or wildly scattered around your yard to give a sense of wildness. The arrangement and design of your flower beds will help give shape to the rest of your garden.
If you have a substantial grade to your landscape, consider creating a series of cascading flower beds up a hillside. Use small rock retaining walls to separate your hill into a series of steps with narrow beds. Use climbing vines at the base of each wall to bridge the gap between the separate beds to create a continuous hill of rise of flowers. To add more height to your hill and create the impression of flowers cascading into the distance, use bright, large flowers near the bottom and smaller, paler ones near the top.
Flower bed edging can give a distinctive shape and look to your flower beds. Dig a trench between your flower bed and your yard and fill it with attractive pebbles or crushed oyster shells to create a dropped lawn edge border. For a nearly invisible border, install black plastic flexible edging at ground level to prevent nearby grass from spreading into your flower bed. If you prefer a more decorative look, use a textured edge such as a small white picket fence or miniature stone wall to mark off your flower garden.
Unusual Raised Flower Beds
Raised flower beds are essentially boxes filled with dirt a foot or so above the ground level. They are used to improve drainage, reduce soil compaction, to allow the gardener to more fully control the soil composition, and to create an artistic effect. Use creative materials to create your raised flower beds for an artistic effect. Use decorative stones, adobe bricks or any other attractive materials on hand to create your own raised bed. Alternately, repurpose an antique bathtub or a wooden bed frame to build a flower bed above the ground.