How to Build a Good Rose Garden


Roses are a symbolic plant cultivated for thousands of years. They are a beautiful addition to any landscape. There are many species--around 150 of them--to choose from. Roses can be a time-consuming hobby because of their planting and maintenance needs but it's a hobby that is very rewarding. To build a good rose garden, it is essential to take into account the planting space, nutrients and sunlight exposure. Without attention to these three factors, rose bushes will not thrive.

Step 1

Measure your yard and make a map of the landscape. Take dimensions with a measuring tape. Mark them on a piece of grid paper with a pencil, in case of corrections.

Step 2

Start with the baseline on one edge of your property. Mark unmovable objects like buildings, sidewalks and trees. Measure the distance from each object to the side of your yard and the front of your yard. Also write down the approximate diameter of the tree canopies because they will create shaded areas.

Step 3

Watch the sun. You need to know where it hits and for how long. Roses need five hours of direct sunlight daily--as a minimum. Mark the sunlight patterns on your map.

Step 4

Write down whether the sun hits in the morning or afternoon. There is a difference because morning sun is more gentle and the sun in the afternoon can be harsh. You must plant the roses where the sun hits.

Step 5

Consider making raised planting beds for the roses. This will improve drainage for the plants, as well as create more defined planting areas. The beds also stop unwanted plants and weeds from interfering with the growth of the rose bushes.

Step 6

Add curves to the sides of your rose garden. Square angles can be boring, so add visual interest by making the garden have shape.

Step 7

Amend the soil if needed to create the perfect base for roses. A highly fertile soil with a lot of organic material is best. Apply 2 to 4 inches of organic matter to the current soil. For each bushel you add, apply 1/2 lb. of superphosphate. The desired soil pH is 6.0 to 7.0.

Step 8

Check the water drainage. Dig into the ground 1 foot. Pour water into the hole and see how fast it drains out. If it takes less than 15 minutes, it's perfect. If it takes longer, add organic material to improve the drainage.

Step 9

Till the soil to thoroughly mix the organic matter into the local soil.

Step 10

Plant roses 24 inches apart for best results. Dig holes that are deep enough and wide enough for the roots. Place the rose plant in the hole and fill it 2/3 of the way up with soil. Water it and let the water drain. Fill the rest of the hole up with soil and once again water it to help it settle. The bud union should be 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid poorly drained soils because it can kill roses. Do not add too much sand to heavy clay soil. It will eventually turn to a concrete-like substance on the bottom of the soil, trapping water. Do not add too much organic material to improve the local soil. Organic material turns the pH more acidic, which could affect the roses' growth. You would then have to add limestone to bring the acidity back down to alkaline territory.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Grid paper
  • Loamy soil
  • Organic material
  • Superphosphate
  • Tiller
  • Rose plants
  • Water
  • Shovel


  • Rose-rose: A Little Planning Goes A Long Way
  • Rose Magazine: Preparing Rose Garden Soil
  • University of Illinois Extension: Our Rose Garden
  • University of Illinois Extension: Planting
Keywords: good rose garden, plan rose garden, build rose garden

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.