How to Build a Flower Garden


Building a flower garden is a great way to brighten up the landscape. A flower garden can be as small as a few containers holding potting soil and flowers, or so large it extends the full length of a house or walkway. Flower gardens may be built to benefit hummingbird and butterfly populations or to produce long-stemmed flowers for cutting. You can create a successful flower garden by following a few simple rules.

Step 1

Locate a well-drained place in the garden that receives as much sun as possible during the spring and summer. Most flowering plants grow and flower best with at least six hours of direct sun each day. Building your flower garden in the shade limits your choices of blooming plants. A flower garden can be any size you wish. A general rule is no wider than 8 feet if accessible from both sides, or 4 feet if accessible from one side, so you can reach in to perform maintenance without stepping on the plants or soil. It can be any length you wish.

Step 2

Contact your local county extension office to find information on performing a soil test to find out what amendments should be added to your soil for a successful flower garden. Your extension office will also have list of flowering plants that grow well in your area. A soil test is an easy procedure that will save you money because you will not be adding unneeded amendments to your soil.

Step 3

Choose the plants you like that are adapted to grow in your location by first finding out your USDA horticultural zone. Most plant descriptions tell you the USDA Horticultural Zones for which each is suited. Also, choose plants that grow under the conditions you are providing. For example, if you are planning a low-maintenance garden that requires little water, choose plants that thrive under those conditions.

Step 4

With a shovel and hoe, clear the garden of all weeds and grasses that will compete with your flowering plants. Loosen the soil to a depth of 6 inches with a shovel. Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of well-rotted compost over the area along with the recommended amendments from your soil test. Work the compost and amendments into the top 3 to 4 inches of soil and rake the area smooth.

Step 5

Add plants at the recommended spacing so plants are not crowded. Place plants in the ground at the same level they were planted in their containers. Place the taller growing plants in the back of a garden, if seen from one side, and in the middle of the garden if seen from all sides. The smaller plants should be placed toward the front or sides of the garden to create a flowing or tapered effect. Water the garden thoroughly after it is planted, and then as often as needed, depending on the type of plants you are growing.

Things You'll Need

  • Flowering plants
  • Compost
  • Recommended soil amendments
  • Mulch
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Hoe


  • UW Extension: Establishing a Perennial Garden
  • UMN: Creating a Butterfly Garden
  • Extension: Flowers: Annual, Biennial, and Perennial Life Cycles

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Plant Hardiness Zone Map
  • USDA: Extension Office Locations
Keywords: planting flower beds, growing flowers, building flower beds

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.