Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Planning a Flower Garden

By Diane Dilov-Schultheis ; Updated September 21, 2017

So you decided you want a flower garden, but you're not quite sure where to start. Planning can make all the difference in the world. Deciding where you want your flower garden or what types of flowers to grow only covers part of the process. Take your time now and do the necessary steps for a thriving garden and you will not be disappointed. Growing flowers successfully requires careful planning, but the results will amaze you.

Draw a picture of your yard that is large enough to work with. Use a pencil so you can effortlessly make changes to it. Include any foliage, walls, sidewalks, patios or other preexisting things in your landscape.

Decide on a location(s) and the style of your flower garden. Consider the background, plants nearby and any focal points you want to include. Do you want an informal flower garden arranged in small groups (or long beds) or a formal one with straight rows and set patterns?

Figure out if you would like an island flower garden in the center of an area, designed around a focal point or one located along the edge of something, like a wall, pathway or building. Plan at least two (and up to 10) feet of space for flower gardens. Add these to your drawing.

Know where the sun shines and match the flowers to it. Pay attention to the areas you're considered for your flower garden, and note how much sun it gets all day long. Problems could arise if you try to grow flowers requiring full sun in a shady location (or vise versa). Mark these details on your plan.

Understand your soil condition and alter it, if needed. Most flowers do best in well-draining soil, so stay clear of areas of standing water or create a raised bed for the flowers.

Choose your flowers. If you want to change the garden design yearly, pick annual flowers, or choose perennials if you want a consistent garden from year to year. Another option to consider is a mixture of both types.

Know the full height of the flowers and place taller ones in the rear and the shorter in the front. Consider the bloom periods of the flowers and when you need to plant each, since some flowers require spring planting and others should be planted in the fall. Mark these details on your plans, and leave room for late plantings.

Figure out how and when to get the flowers. Do you want to grow the flowers from seed or purchase transplants? Deal with reputable establishments and allow enough time for seeds to grow or decide when to make your purchases.

Go over your flower garden plan and make any changes needed. Prepare the soil and create flower beds. Prepare the areas for the flower garden ahead of planting date.


Things You Will Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper


  • Add compost, other organic matter and/or fertilizer to the area of your flower garden. Do this in the fall prior to planting the next spring, when possible.
  • Create flower beds for your garden. Make a wall at least two feet high out of rocks, bricks, wood or other material. Add six inches of coarse rocks or gravel and cover with 10 inches of topsoil.
  • You can purchase especially designed software for your computer to assist in planning a flower garden. Use the program in place of the actual hand drawing.

About the Author


Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.