How to Build a Rose Garden


Roses have been a favorite flower for gardeners down through the ages. The rose may have first been cultivated in China nearly 5000 years ago. It is native to Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. One of the most popular flowers of all time, it is grown for the beauty of its blossom and fragrance. While some varieties are finicky and a challenge to grow, many roses will thrive in your rose garden with just a little extra attention.

Step 1

Decide where you build your rose garden. Roses need at least six hours of direct sun to bloom. Eight hours is better. In a hot climate, afternoon shade is appreciated. Roses like their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade. Roses prefer to be irrigated from the ground and not get their leaves wet which can lead to problems such as mildew.

Step 2

Clear away any weeds and double dig the soil. Dig a trench about one foot deep along the edge of the planned rose garden, piling the soil next to the trench. Dig another trench next to the first putting the soil from the second trench into the first trench. Continue until the entire rose garden has been double dug. Add aged manure, peat moss and compost over the top of the bed. Dig it in thoroughly. Rake smooth. Water to settle the soil.

Step 3

Select the appropriate roses. Roses can be grown in nearly every climate. Some are more tolerant of heat. Others can handle the cold better. Select roses that do well in your area. Roses come in various levels of fragrance. Old roses (developed before 1867) usually have a stronger scent than modern roses. Modern roses (developed after 1867) have a wider variety of colors and color combinations.

Step 4

Plant taller varieties of roses in the back of the bed and shorter roses in the front. Start at the back of the rose garden. Roses should be spaced three feet apart as most bushes grow at least three feet wide. Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the container of the rose plant. Add rose fertilizer to the hole per package directions. Fill the hole with some of the removed soil. Mix well with the fertilizer then water. Remove the rose from its container and place in the hole. The soil line on the rose bush should be at the soil line of the hole. Adjust by adding or removing soil. Fill the hole with the remaining soil. Continue planting the roses moving forward to the front edge of the rose garden.

Step 5

Finish the rose bed. After the bed has been completely planted rake smooth around each rose plant, mulch the bed at least two inches deep with bark, shredded leaves or processed mulch to conserve water and keep down weeds. Most roses have bare "ankles" and look better with some sort of edging flower; miniature roses as an edging continue the theme of a rose garden. Annual flowers can be planted. Petunias, marigolds and alyssum work especially well.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant the rose deeper than the juncture of the rose graft to the stock. There will usually be a bulge on the stem where that occurs. Wear gloves when roses have thorns.

Things You'll Need

  • Roses
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Soil amendments
  • Mulch
  • Flowers


  • Modern Roses
  • "Beautiful American Rose Gardens;" Mary Tonetti Dorra and Richard Felber; 1999)

Who Can Help

  • Organic rose gardening
Keywords: build a rose garden, plant roses, rose gardening

About this Author

Katie Rosehill's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in personal finance, weddings and gardening.