How to Make Flower Beds


Green is gorgeous; green without color is boring. Flowers, such as snow drops, crocus and pansies start blooming in very early spring, sometimes before the snow has melted and continue right through fall with asters and chrysanthemums. Creating a flower bed is all in the preparation and selecting the right flowers. Take your time making the bed and you'll be rewarded with glowing nonstop color.

Step 1

Outline the shape of the flower bed with a hose. Adjust it until the shape is what you want. Flower beds with curves look more natural than straight lines. Flower beds should be at least 3 feet wide. If the bed is up against a hedge, allow for at least a foot between the hedge and the back of the flower bed.

Step 2

Dig the flower bed. Double digging gives the best results. Dig a trench a foot wide starting at the front of the bed. When that trench is finished, start another, using the dirt from the second trench to fill the first trench, working toward the back of the bed. Add a 6-inch layer of compost, peat moss, organic matter or well-rotted steer manure over the entire bed. Add fertilizer per package directions. Dig the bed again, working in the added amendments. Smooth the bed with the rake.

Step 3

Edge the bed with bricks, stones, wooden logs or posts. Edging gives the bed a finished look and makes it easier to keep the lawn out of the flower bed and vice versa.

Step 4

Select appropriate flowers based on how much sun the flower bed receives and what grows well in that area. Some flowers--such as zinnias, clarkia and roses--will not bloom well, if at all, without six to eight hours of direct sunlight. Others--such as impatiens, begonias and hosta--do much better in shady areas.

Step 5

Consider colors and blooming time when selecting flowers. Annuals bloom all season long, while most perennials bloom from four to six weeks. Use both annuals and perennials so the flower bed always has something in bloom.

Step 6

Plant flowers with the tallest ones in the back of the bed, medium ones in the middle and the shortest in the front. If the bed is an island bed, plant the tallest plants in the center, surrounded by the medium flowers and ringed by the shortest flowers. Plant tall flowers 18 inches apart, medium flowers 12 inches apart and short flowers 6 inches apart.

Tips and Warnings

  • Handle fertilizer with gloves; the chemicals can be irritating.

Things You'll Need

  • Hose
  • Soil amendments
  • Fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Bricks or other edging material
  • Flowers


  • "Backyard Blueprints"; David Stevens; 2002
  • "At Home in the Garden"; Becke Davis; 2001

Who Can Help

  • Backyard Landscape Ideas: Build a flower bed
Keywords: planting flower beds, building bed for flowers, growing flower beds

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.