Island Garden Ideas

An island garden is not placed against a wall or a fence but is located in an open area of lawn. It can be viewed from all sides, so the placement of plants and accessories should be planned accordingly. An island garden can be any size or shape and can be located in sun or shade. Use an island garden to accent an entranceway or driveway, or to add interest to an expanse of lawn.

Roses and Arbor

A traditional style of island garden is set in the center of the lawn. It can be oval, oblong or rectangular. Plant a pink or red rose where it will grow over an arbor in the center of the island garden. Use tall ornamental grasses to anchor the ends of the bed. Fill the areas in between with dwarf spireas, Stoke's asters, Shasta daisies and pink daylilies. Edge the island with weathered bricks or buff-colored stones to complement the pink and purple flowers.

Woodland Garden

Another traditional style of island garden is planted around a new or existing tree. The area can be circular, oval or irregular. Put in shade-loving plants such as astilbes, columbines and ferns around the tree and along the center line of oval beds. Use hostas and shorter ferns in front of the astilbes and columbines and line the edge of the island with smaller hostas, hellebores and toad lilies. Use natural material for edging, such as wood or rock, that blends in with the woodland style of the garden.

Bog Garden

A low, damp area is an appropriate place for an island garden of moisture-loving plants. Plant large elephant ears and tall canna lilies in the center of the garden surrounded by astilbes, irises and ferns. Shorter canna lilies and elephant ears also can be planted around the outside area of the bog garden. Edge the island with local rocks or other natural material.

Sunny Garden

Plant an island garden in a bright, sunny area with ornamental grasses in shades of blue and gold. Use a mixture of dwarf golden conifers and Texas blue sage around the grasses. Add large rocks or sculptures as accent pieces in the garden and build a short (8 to 12 inches high) wall of blue and gray flagstones.

Wildlife Garden

Create an island garden with flowers that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other wildlife. Some attractive nectar and seed plants are butterfly bushes, coneflowers, dianthuses, penstemons, salvias and verbenas. Leave a small open area of damp soil where butterflies can rest and sip water. Add a birdbath and birdfeeder to help attract birds, and use wood or rough stone edging that birds can stand or sit on.

Keywords: island garden, garden design, bog garden, arbor

About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.