Maybe you've seen a riotous garden filled with blooming red and yellow tulips in the spring. The sheer number of flowers required to create this stunning display may seem daunting to the beginner gardener. Garden design begins with deciding both the level of formality for the planting space and the amount of maintenance time available. Flower planting patterns can be balanced or asymmetrical, depending on the space and preference of the gardener.
Basic Planting Design
Planting flowers in any pattern relies on a basic premise. Each plant should be viewed from every angle possible for viewers to enjoy the beautiful vision of the flower. In general, gardeners plant flowers with the tallest at the back of a rectangular garden and build forward with successively smaller plants. For round or square center gardens, choose a tall center flower and build outward to the border. This planting pattern allows a good view of every plant in the garden.
Formal gardens reflect an organized placement of each plant. This type of garden features symmetrical plantings placed uniformly throughout the garden. Formal gardens focus on balance, working outward from the center. Formal planting patterns usually include an evergreen shrub or particularly stunning plant placed as a focal point in the garden. The gardener then builds outward from this point, aligning plants equally on both sides. Patterns can be staggered, instead of in rows, but the formal planting always includes balance, color unity and symmetry like a reflection in a mirror.
Informal planting patterns involve placement of plants to suit the whim of a gardener and to enhance a structure. Gardeners may choose a single focal point and build outward from that point. The major difference between formal and informal planting patterns lies in the balance between plants. Informal planting patterns might have focal points but these gardens don't focus on symmetry to balance each side of a flower bed. Gardeners often create informal planting patterns in wildflower and free-form gardens to create a garden by alternating types of plants to achieve continual bloom.
Asymmetry in a flower-planting pattern can be used to enhance the exterior of a home. Asymmetrical planting patterns can be used to direct the eye of a visitor to the home's front entrance with a subtle suggestion to encourage movement. Asymmetry involves ditching the idea of balance in a garden and planting flowers in different patterns. Planting flowers in clumps of three focuses on different colors to soften the visual effect of the garden. Asymmetrical gardens typically can be viewed from only one side. Asymmetrical planting patterns highlight an exterior home feature or focal point, such as a tree, gazebo or garden bench.
Blankets of Flowers
Landscapers plant a wealth of flowers, such as tulips, pansies or impatiens, on commercial properties to enhance the often stark areas of concrete buildings and sidewalks. These patterned flower gardens usually contain one to two types of flowers. In a home garden, the effect can simply overpower other landscape features on the property. Soften blankets of flowers planted in a pattern by repeating this feature in the landscape. This type of extreme symmetry in planting pattern looks best in formal gardens.