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Ideas for Planting a Flower Garden

By Mary Osborne ; Updated September 21, 2017

Whether you're a beginning gardener or an old hand with two green thumbs, planting a flower garden doesn't have to be complicated, grueling work. Enjoy the growing season as you plant with an eye to the future, imagining a riot of color from different flower blooms as the season progresses. Flowers attract pollen-spreading bees and birds and add to the overall health of your garden or yard. A few basic planting ideas are all you need to get started.

Color Schemes

Rather than plant a hodgepodge of many-colored flowers in one area, try planting a garden based on a color scheme. A small section of the garden devoted to the hues of a single color is pleasing to the eye and draws the viewer to note the subtle differences between the types of flowers, rather than their color. Groupings of vividly colored flowers, such red geraniums or orange dahlias and marigolds, bring life to the white heat of a hot summer's day. Try mixing pink or purple phlox with cascading white petunias for a softer look in the garden near a bench or other sitting spot.

Border Gardens

Border gardens are suitable for areas along a fence or a garden path. When planning a border flower garden, remember to plant a variety of flowers that bloom at different times over the course of the flowering season. For border gardens along a fence, plant the tallest flowers toward the back, then flowers of intermediate height in the center, and, finally, low-growing flowers in front to create a tiered effect. Adding hostas and other green plants with a mixed planting of flowers along a garden path creates a soothing effect.

Annual Gardens

Annuals are easy to grow and can add bright splashes of color in a garden while perennials are still busy preparing to bloom. Whether they're tall or short, climbers or creepers, annuals are a colorful addition to any garden. Cosmos, larkspur, morning glories, zinnias and forget-me-nots are no-nonsense annuals that will brighten any garden and often deserve a space all to themselves. Group different varieties of sunflowers along a fence or in a large plot to attract birds, butterflies and beneficial insects to your backyard.

Perennial Gardens

When planning a garden, save room for the perennials. Although perennial flowers may seem to be disappointing for the first couple of years after planting, they take off by the third and fill a garden with dependable color each succeeding year. Bee balm, coreopsis, bearded irises, daylilies and Shasta daisies are all fairly low-maintenance perennials. When planting a perennial garden, it's important to keep in mind that different perennials bloom at different times during the season, so make sure to stagger varieties to ensure blooms all season long. Allow plenty of space for perennials to grow, since they will continue to spread over time.