Creating that Eye-Catching Garden
A flower garden can transform the yard from an open expanse of grass to colorful wonderland homeowners can enjoy year after year. Putting in a bit of work at the start of the season pays off when breathtaking blossoms start to unfurl.
Planting a flower garden isn’t difficult when following the proper steps. With a bit of research and some careful planning, gardeners can make the vision of a blooming backyard paradise a reality. Use this quick guide for some help getting started.
Test the Soil
Flowers thrive in fertile soil with a lot of organic matter. If it's not clear whether the soil has enough nutrients to support a garden, gardeners can pick up a soil testing kit at a local gardening shop and find out. These simple kits are color-coded by nutrient and reveal what, if any, amendments need to be made before planting. Should the test show, the soil lacks essential elements, spread organic fertilizer on the area in which the garden will be planted and work it into the soil before adding flowers.
Choose a Color Scheme
Flower gardens are all about color, so gardeners can use favorite shades to establish a basic color scheme. From there, it's easy to choose either complementary shades or colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. Large swatches of single colors can also be used to good effect when interspersed with ferns or other greenery: Balance warm, cool, and neutral colors to create a stunning display.
Use Both Annuals and Perennials
Annual flowers appear for just one season and must be planted the following year again. Perennials last for three or more seasons but bloom for shorter periods. Base flower selections on the color scheme and choose plants with the ability to thrive in local weather conditions.
Popular annuals include:
Impatiens Marigolds Pansies ZinniasGardeners also enjoy these perennial blooms: (click on any plant listed below and you can buy them online)DaffodilsDayliliesCohosh PlantsVirginia Blue BellsSoloman Seal Plants
Planting a combination of both flower types gives gardeners the flexibility to change the yard's look with new annuals each year while continuing to enjoy perennial blooms. Plant Strategically
Most flowers do well in full sunlight, but others may require partial shade. Research the preferred growing conditions for the chosen blooms, and plan the garden’s layout so that each plant has the best conditions for growth. Arrange flowers according to when they bloom to provide frequent bursts of color throughout the season. When planned correctly, the garden should always have something blossoming even as the weather gets cooler.
Don’t Forget the Border.
Groundcovers make beautiful garden borders. Ferns, broad-leaf foliage, and low-growing flowering plants accentuate larger blossoms and give the garden a balanced look. Combine groundcovers with natural mulch to minimize weed growth. Use additional plants to shape and define the garden area and separate it visually from the rest of the yard. If the garden is a permanent fixture of the yard, consider adding hardscaping elements like decorative stones, flagstones, bricks, or low stone walls.
Finish Up with Accents
Once all the flowers are planted and the border is in place, add some finishing touches to make the garden truly unique. Create a pathway among favorite blooms with stepping stones, or place a few decorative statues among the plants. Outdoor artwork, plant arbors, and string lighting all add personality. Include a few bird feeders or birdbaths to attract vibrant wildlife to the blooms.
The beauty of a well-planned flower garden is worth the effort it takes to design and plant. When gardeners choose and arrange flowers with care, the rewards can be seen every year. Flower gardens are beautiful, relaxing, and fun to observe, and there’s always something new to enjoy as changing seasons bring fresh waves of blossoms.