How to Plan a Flower Bed


Flower gardens are lovely to behold. Few people see the brilliant, waving blossoms and think about the amount of labor, planning and time involved in their creation. Thorough planning is required to find the best suited plants and coax them toward their showiest blooms. Weather, pests, disease and curious pets are just a few things that can sabotage your hard work. But first you must successfully navigate the early stages of planning and planting. Your choices here set the stage for the performance to come.

Step 1

Select your garden space. Evaluate the amount of sun, shade and cover that may affect flowers in the space. The conditions may limit the variety of choices for planting as, for example, some flowers cannot tolerate full sun while others cannot tolerate shade.

Step 2

Decide how much maintenance you want to invest in your garden space. Deep digging, tilling and other steps in preparing the soil take time, effort and investment. You may want to limit the size of your garden for the first year and expand it after you have more experience.

Step 3

Choose whether you would like one coordinated burst of color or continuous flowering, which would require a variety of plants to take over at different points in the season. Investigate and chart the germination and bloom periods of the plants that interest you.

Step 4

Choose whether you would like to work with seed, bulbs or started plants. You may find far more varieties of seed for sale than plants, but seed does not always grow well. You may have to start seed indoors, and then harden off and transplant seedlings. Germination times differ, so even the best planned space may fail to blossom and grow at the same rate, potentially leaving holes in your presentation.

Step 5

Plan your flower garden early. Bulbs may have limited shipping dates. Seeds may need to be started early, and some varieties may require cold treatment, soaking or scoring before planting. Some plants do not flower until their second season. Special handling may delay your planting time or affect your results.

Step 6

Visit a local greenhouse to see what flowers are available in your area. When you make your selections, choose plants that are healthy, but not yet in bloom. This will give them time to establish themselves in your space and you will have a extended opportunity to enjoy the flowers. Plants that are blooming when you buy them may be near the end of their period of flowering.


  • Virginia Cooperative Extension--Planning the Flower Border
  • Cass County Extension--Flower Bed Planning
  • Iowa State University Extension--Planning a Butterfly Garden

Who Can Help

  • Shade Perennial Garden Plants and Ideas
Keywords: flower garden planning, flower choices, germination times

About this Author

Alice Moon has been a freelance writer for one year, writing on the Internet for over 10 years. Moon holds a B.S. in political science (Asian studies minor). She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, DC. She traveled through Asia as part of a delegation from her university to its sister universities overseas.