Imagine your flower beds vibrant with color. Now—let’s make it happen.
The Beginning: A Quick Design Overview
Line is one of the most important tools in landscape design. Everything in the garden involves line. Think about the sidewalk, driveway, fence, trees, existing flower beds—all create lines in your landscape. Lines are curved, straight, horizontal, and vertical which invoke different feelings. For example, curved lines denote informal garden beds and add interest to pathways. Straight lines bring a sense of order and formality.
The shape of plants, also called form, provides visual interest and focal points. Grouping plants by their form creates various effects, such as round forms—boxwoods are a good example—which add definition. A series of mounded forms can create an undulating pattern.
Texture, both tactile and visual, is another important design element. Use different textures of plants to suggest different emotions. Whether soft, frilly, smooth or sharp, you can use texture to achieve balance, contrast or repetition.
A Three-Season Flower Bed
This type of flower bed requires three essential ingredients:
• Perennials that bloom copiously year after year
• Small shrubs with color-saturated foliage all season long
• Plants that do not spread aggressively
According to the Farmers Almanac, these characteristics are found in all of the following plants, which are suitable for the Houston climate:
‘Black Lace’ elderberry
‘King of Hearts’ dicentra
Wine & Roses weigela
‘Connecticut Yankee’ delphinium
‘Mardi Gras’ helenium
‘May Night’ salviaHelenium mardi gras
‘Summer Sun’ heliopsis
(‘Black Lace’ elderberry, Rozanne cranesbill, ‘Obsidian’ heuchera, and Wine & Roses weigela will still bloom.)
‘Mönch’ hardy aster
(‘Black Lace’ elderberry, Rozanne cranesbill, “‘Goldsturm’ rudbeckia, ‘Mardi Gras’ helenium, ‘May Night’ salvia, ‘Obsidian’ heuchera, ‘Summer Sun’ heliopsis, and Wine & Roses weigela will still bloom.)
Tips for Success Gardening
1. Before you start planting, arrange the potted plants on the bed to get an idea of what the garden will look like. Leave space between the plants to allow them to grow wider.
2. Start planting from the back of the bed to the front.
3. Plant shrubs and perennials at the same depth in the flower bed as they are in containers.
4. For best results, fertilize.
5. Spread mulch generously over the bed, but not on top of plants. Mulch helps retain moisture and suppress weeds. Use an organic material (such as shredded bark), which adds nutrients to the soil as it decays.
6. As flowers fade, remove the dead blooms to increase perennials’ bloom production.( Shrubs drop their old flowers and will bloom again under normal conditions.)
7. If you must prune your shrubs, do so after they flower.
8. Be patient. Perennials reach their full size and beauty by the second season. Shrubs grow more slowly, reaching their mature size three to five years after planting.