Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Plan a Flower Garden Layout

Nothing can brighten a landscape like adding a flower garden. Whether you plan a garden filled with annuals, perennials or both, it is sure to add life to the area and attract attention. You can even attract butterflies by adding native, nectar and host plants. Planning a flower garden is not that hard, as long as you consider a few basic things. Once your flower garden is complete, sit back and enjoy its beauty for months or years to come.

Sketch out your plans for your garden. Make a diagram of the area, including its width and length. This will help you properly place the plants as you choose them.

Consider how much light the area receives. Different plants have different light requirements. Choose plants that have the same light requirements to plant in the garden. Do not plant sun lovers such as vinca or cosmos in an area in full shade, as they will not perform well.

Select plants that have the same water and soil requirements. Do not plant a flowering succulent that requires little water, next to impatiens that requires more. Do not use plants that prefer a drier soil if your soil is prone to sogginess.

Decide if you want to use annuals. Annuals usually grow and bloom for one season and are broken into warm- and cold-season annuals. You will be required to change out the plants with new varieties approximately every four to six months. Annuals such as petunias, snapdragons and gazania make colorful additions to flower gardens.

Consider using perennials. Perennials will usually give you several seasons, if not years, of blooms and growth. Use perennials such as Virginia spiderwort, ruella, alamanda or blanket flower for multiple-season flowers.

Figure out how large each plant is at maturity. This will give you a better idea of how many plants you will require and how far to space them apart. For example, if you plan using a ground cover such as blue daze, it can spread 12 inches at maturity, so you would need to space each plant 1 foot apart.

Plan your flower garden using a tiered effect so it will flow smoothly. Plant the taller plants in the background, medium-size plants in the middle and smaller, flowering plants or ground covers in the front.

Consider the placement of the plants and what look you are trying to achieve. Formal flower gardens will have all the plants lined up in a straight row. Flower gardens with a more natural flow will have the plants unevenly spaced throughout.

Choose native flowering plants that grow in your region, to attract butterflies and for easier maintenance. Depending on your region, plants such as salvia, wild violets, cosmos, phlox and blanket flower will act as perennials and will require less care.

Consider using a focal point in your flower garden. Using a larger flowering shrub as a central point will be attractive. Bushes such as flame bush, alamanda and tibouchina will flower almost year round and will be large enough to be a central attraction to the garden.

Garden Guides