Planting a flower garden is one of the most pleasing ways to spruce up the curb appeal and outdoor design around your home. Flower gardens can be small enough to brighten up a bare corner, run the length of your yard as a border, or accent and soften the front line of your home.
Annual flowers grow and bloom for one season only, and they're an excellent way to experiment with different flower garden colors and designs around your home. Planting different annuals each year also allows you to have changing looks--much like you might rearrange furniture inside to change the look of a room.
Purchase annuals as starter plants from your local garden center or discount store. Most seedlings become available in early spring, and often they already have a flower or two in bloom so you can see and select the colors of your choice. These partially bloomed flowers will give you an instant flower garden once put into the ground, and they'll continue to grow and produce more blooms for a fuller, more finished look throughout the season.
Select annuals that compliment each other in color as well as bloom time, so you'll get the longest results. Flowers that bloom in April and May can be planted with those that bloom June through August, for example, so you'll always have something blooming from spring through fall.
Perennial flowers tend to live and bloom for two or more years, and some even live for over 10 years. Perennials are excellent to put into flower gardens that you want established for several years or more, and they provide the added benefit of being able to produce more plants for you to put into other garden beds around your home without any additional expense.
Many perennial flowers spend the first year of their life growing, and may not produce any colorful flowers during that time. A nice compromise to getting instant color as well as long lasting flower gardens is to plant a mixture of annuals and perennials in the same flower bed.
When planting a new flower bed--regardless of whether you're planting annuals, perennials or a mixture of the two--arrange the planting so that the tallest flowers will grow at the back of the bed, and stagger downwards according to height as you move forward.
Climbing vines, such as morning glory, can go at the very back of the garden bed, since they'll climb about 6 feet up when growing. Four O'clocks often grow to mature heights of 18 inches, so they could be the next row of flowers planted. Grape hyacinth grows to about 10 inches high, so that would fit well in front of the Four O'clocks. Keep adding flowers at shorter heights as you move to the front of the flower garden, ending with a nice low-growing ground cover or trailing flower for the border.
Room to Grow
Try to resist the urge to plant your flowers too closely together. The temptation is to plant your small seedlings and starter plants closely so the garden bed doesn't look too bare, but this causes problems when the flowers try to grow larger because they don't have the space. Putting extra space between your seedlings when planting will allow the flowers to flourish, and they'll fill in all that extra space within a few short weeks.