I'm Bill Elzey with Showplace Lawns. How to Design and Prepare a Flower Bed? The first thing I would recommend is for you to take notice of your sunlight because your sunlight, the amount of light that you have is going to determine what type of plants you can use in this particular bed. You've got full sun, part sun, part shade, or filtered light and shade. So, once you have the concept or the idea of where the light is, where the shade is, using these principles, you can then decide what plants are going to go into this flower bed. The second thing I would recommend is go out to the spot where you plan to put this bed, use a garden hose and sort of try to design the shape that you want it to have. The next thing I would do is a drawing similar to use; marking where east and west and so forth is so you know where your sunlight is. You've got your shape. Now you can apply these practices to pick and place your plants. Other things to consider are "build it up" verses "in the ground." In our part of the world, South Central Texas, we build everything up because of the rock that we have in our soil. I know in some parts of the country, your soil is so fertile and thick, you don't need to worry with that, but we always build everything up. The advantage of building it up is you can control the growing medium by bringing in the selected soil that you know is good and it will work. Considering that you want to consider your soil obviously so that will help you determine this. Then, if you're going to stay with it, in the ground, you might want to consider putting some compost in amending that soil to help the plants grow. If you're building it up, you're bringing in a good garden soil. You don't need to worry with that, but if you're using the regular top soil, the regular ground, bring some compost to mix into it. After the plants are in the ground, you definitely want to mulch them. Mulch is going to hold the moisture in the soil for you, keep the soil temperature cooler so the roots will be more active, will help keep the weeds down, also will add an attractive finish to the bed, and if you use a cedar mulch, you also get the advantage of a natural insecticide. When you start to put your plants in, determine what's going to be the front, the middle and the back of your bed. Your tallest plants, and this is when they're full grown, should be at the back. The medium sized should be in the middle, and your lower ones, your shallow ones, in the front. It does not mean you have to use all three sizes, but looking at that, if you're going to use tall and small; small in the front, tall in the back. If you're going to use medium and tall; medium in the front, tall in the back. But keep that in mind as you, as you put your plants in the ground. If you were going to build it up or put a border around it, rock works really well. Brick can look real nice. Wood and metal edging. If you go the plastic route, the elements tend to eventually tear the plastic up, and you're having to replace it, and it looks ugly until you do. These four things will give you good choices, options for your borders, and especially if you're building it up. One more thing about the size of the bed, don't do a square. Put some character into it. That will help with the plants that you've got by doing irregular shapes or triangles or same things of that nature as opposed to just a square. These are some things to consider when planting and designing a flower bed.