How to Design a Small Perennial Garden


Having limited space in a small perennial garden allows the gardener to focus on the details of the space while picking only his favorite perennial flowers. Pruning and other maintenance are simple and require less effort, making small gardens ideal for anyone who has a busy schedule. Planting perennials in containers allows you to fully control the the perennial's growing environment while creating a small-size focal point.

Step 1

Research the perennial flowers' ideal growing environment, including soil type and light requirements, to help decide where and if they are suited in your flower garden. Observe the garden area daily to determine the amount of sunlight and shade the garden receives. Design a framework for the perennials to help narrow the list of flowers and plants.

Step 2

Draw up a blueprint to refer to as you begin planting. Blueprints enable you to make quick and hassle-free changes in your design as you work your way through your process. Blueprints also prevent unnecessary digging in case of a last-minute change.

Step 3

Begin at the back of the perennial bed and work your way forward to create a balanced bed. Start by planting perennials that begin their blooming period in early spring. This will ensure colorful blooms throughout the growing season.

Step 4

Plant bulbs like daffodil and iris in the middle and front of the bed to add color and texture to the space. Anemone will emerge in the early spring and create bold color and variety in a small garden bed.

Step 5

Fill in hard-to-reach spaces with small perennials like crocus and hyacinth. Add them to containers that can be easily moved throughout the space.

Step 6

Experiment with containers and pots. Containers can be easily moved around to their ideal growing areas, allowing the gardener to easily change out plants.

Step 7

Plant a focal point. Scale it down to fit the size of your space so you don't overwhelm your garden or encroach on other plants. Dwarfed maple trees can utilize a small space while creating a vibrant focal point.

Things You'll Need

  • Perennial plants


  • North Carolina State University: Perennial Flowers
  • University of Illinois Extension: Spring Flowering Bulbs
Keywords: perennial garden, garden design, garden bulbs

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.