How to Design and Make Flower Beds


Flower gardens bring color and life to a home. In the front yard, a flower bed adds curb appeal and value to a home. In the backyard, a flower bed is a place where the home owner can retreat to find peace and commune with nature. Traditional classical flower beds follow straight lines and angles. Modern flower beds, however, are a matter of taste and preference. The homeowner is free to create a flower garden that appeals to her eye.

Step 1

Examine your property. Do this several times, at various hours of the day. Make note of how much sun exposure each area gets. Look for low-lying areas that may flood after heavy rains or snow thaws. To get an accurate idea of water drainage, wait for a heavy rain or water your yard heavily for most of the day, and see where the water accumulates. Most plants--other than those that are native to river beds and bogs--prefer soil that is well-drained. Soggy soil kills most garden flowering plants.

Step 2

Decide on an area of your yard where you want your flower bed located. Again, this should be done only after careful examination of your property.

Step 3

Use a paper and pencil to sketch your ideas for the flower bed. Start by roughly sketching your home's footprint, then add fence lines and any other items like air-conditioning units or gas meters. Draw the garden of your dreams. Don't let your garden be limited by convention. If you find curved lines and circles relaxing and pleasing, then by all means design your flower bed as such.

Step 4

Do some research as to what kinds of flowering plants you want in your flower bed. For flower beds that have a fence or wall as a backdrop, larger, full plants look better--and will not crowd out smaller plants--if placed at the back. For circular gardens (also called "island gardens"), tall plants are placed in the center, so that smaller plants can be seen. Tall flowering plants include bird of paradise, hibiscus, bougainvillea, and honeysuckle.

Step 5

Keep seasons in mind. If you want a flower bed that will produce blooms all year long, find plants that bloom during different times of the year. Poppies and begonias bloom during spring and summer. Chrysanthemum and lilies bloom during fall and winter. Putting plants of all different seasons in your flower bed gives you bursts of bloom throughout the year.

Step 6

Kill and remove the grass in the area if necessary. Lay long sheets of landscaping fabric on top of the grass and hold it down with stones or bricks. Leave it in place for several weeks, so that the grass and its roots will die. Check periodically by pulling back a section of the fabric to see if the grass is dead. Remove the gardening fabric when the grass is completely dead.

Step 7

Use a gardening rake to pull all of the dead grass off of the soil. Use a hoe to break up the soil several inches deep. Use the spade or hand trowel to dig holes for the plants. Place the seedlings or plants according to your sketched design.

Step 8

Cover the exposed soil with mulch, if desired. Mulch traps moisture, which reduces the need for water, and traps heat during the winter. If the mulch is piled at least 4 inches deep, it also serves to keep weeds out of the flower bed.

Step 9

Create a trench around the perimeter of the flower bed, using the spade. Insert gardening border into the trench. Gardening border comes in a variety of materials and colors and serves to create a division between lawn and garden, keeping grass from growing into the flower bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Spade
  • Garden rake
  • Landscaping fabric (optional)
  • Plants
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Mulch (optional)
  • Gardening border


  • Cornell University: Flower Garden Design Basics
Keywords: how to design and make flower beds, create a flower bed, planting a flower bed

About this Author

Cyn Vela is a freelance writer and professional blogger. Her work has been published on dozens of websites, as well as in local print publications. Vela's articles usually focus on where her passions lie: writing, web development, blogging, parenting, gardening, and health and wellness. She studied English literature at Del Mar College, and at the University of Texas at San Antonio.