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Advice On Planning Your Organic Flower Garden

Updated on February 18, 2013

1. Buying a house and love to flower garden? Avoid...

  • an exposed site on a north or east hill slope. You will have shade most of the day.
  • poor, stony or very sandy soil.
  • ground that is subject to water logging.
  • thin soil over hard rock.
  • a lot of tall trees that will rob the soil of light and food.

Not all is lost if you have one or more of the above problems, just utilize very careful planning when beginning your garden.


A Simple Plan

2.  Sketch a rough layout of your new flower garden.

Select old garden catalogs of the plants you want in your garden; tape them to your plan. If colors clash or if there is too much similarity in height or texture, switch the plant and put in a new location, substitute it for another plant, or discard it.

Use Pictures of plants in various seasons to see how your new garden bed will look throughout the year. Take your camera when you visit other gardens to capture ideas to try in your own. When your garden is established, take photos as your garden changes. Keep these pictures dated and in a notebook. This will help you to see where you need a bit of color of flowers that need to be transplanted.

In planning and designing your flower garden, also remember to group together flowers that require the same kind of soil and watering needs.

3. Design a garden to complement your home.

Houses with elegant or formal historic styles are ideal for formal gardens, while modern houses pair more easily with informal gardens. Do you have an hour a day or just weekends? Think about the time you have to dedicate to your garden and plan wisely. A prime example is a formal garden, where flaws are forbidden and requires frequent weeding, pruning, and much care. Don't bite more than you can chew. Gardening should be fun not a chore.

A border of mixed Zinnias looks well in a country garden.
A border of mixed Zinnias looks well in a country garden.
Angel in the border garden.
Angel in the border garden.
Lucky relaxing in the formal garden.
Lucky relaxing in the formal garden.

4. Some Types of Gardens to think about...

  • Cutting Gardens - purpose is production rather than landscape display.
  • Ornamental Gardens - marriage of good design and attractive, appropriate plants setting off the house and features of the property.
  • Kitchen Gardens - small food gardens usually located in a sunny spot near the kitchen door containing herbs, vegetables, salad greens, and edible flowers.
  • Formal Gardens - characterized by symmetrical design and repetition of plants.
  • Cottage Gardens or Country Gardens - Relaxed look and often appears undisciplined and overgrown, but don't be fooled they still take conscientious care. They have a lot of color and over planted.
  • Border Gardens - as the name states grows along a fence, retaining wall, home, or walk. Border gardens are the most popular because they are practical as well as beautiful.

5. Size of Flower Beds

Flower beds that are 3-4 feet wide and 10-15 feet long are easy to work with. A garden hoe reaches 5 ½ feet out. If you have access to the flower bed from both sides, you can make the flower bed bigger. You can incorporate a garden path or stepping stone into the design to get at the weeds more easily.

Curves are more interesting than straight lines. Curvy garden paths lead the eye onward and outward making your garden seem bigger and leaving an element of surprise around every corner.

Fall is the best time to dig a new bed and let it winter over, allowing the freezing and thawing of winter to break up the clumps. Put shredded leaves over the new bed. If you do wait until spring make it late spring when the soil has a chance to dry out or you will compact the soil, leaving air and water no place to go.

Do not till or dig your sod under in the new bed. Take it off into pieces and be sure to put it into your compost.

Getting to Know Your New Garden

6. Climate Counts

Consider Climate within your zones. Check out your zone where your live. You need to take into consideration how much it rains, how cold or hot it gets. You want to be sure that your flowers thrive not just survive.

Some flowers that grow in the East will not grow well in the West. If you are not sure what flowers to plant in your area, visit your garden center and talk to an expert. Also, see what grows well in your neighbor's yard.

When buying your plants at the store read the plant's label. If a new plants"s label says it needs "sun," that means direct sunlight for at least 8 hours a day. But if the label says "shade," that means less than four hours of sunlight a day. "Part sun" means four to six hours of sunlight a day.

If you live at a high elevation, 3000 feet above sea level, you will get about 20% more sunlight than one at sea level. Plant flowers that love bright sunlight.

If you live where there is a lot of wind. Plants with small narrow and waxy leaves are your best bet. With less leaf surface, they don't lose as much moisture, so they hold up better in both drying winds and dry soil. Plant a screening hedge or put up a screen to protect your plants from the wind.

Gardens in hot, dry areas, use fleshy succulents and other small waxy, shiny, or hairy leaves, or silvery foliage, which reflect light , are good choices for plants that hold moisture well. Big leaves tend to dry out fast. Make use of mulches to help keep the moisture in.

No matter where you live or what your weather, pansies will thrive sometime during the year for you. In the North grow them during the summer and in the South during the winter. In other regions with moderate to mild winters they will grow year-round.


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    • profile image

      Planning your garden 6 years ago

      Here's what to do when planning your crops for the year, laid out step by step:

      Make a list (List 1) of what you grew last year (If you didn't grow anything last year, skip to the next numbered point).

      For each crop write down:

      How many plants did you grow, or how big an area of land?

      Were you pleased with the results?

      Did all or most of the crop get eaten?

      Would you like more or less of this produce on your menu next year?

      Make a list (List 2) of the fruit and vegetables which you eat a lot, but which you did not grow last year.

      For each item write down:

      How often do you eat it and in what quantities?

      How much does it cost (eg. cheap, expensive)?

      Is it a seasonal item or something you eat all year round?

    • Victor Goodman profile image

      Victor Goodman 9 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      A lot of good info on landscaping and flower gardening.

      Keep up the good work.

    • Geoff-Ecotist profile image

      Geoff-Ecotist 9 years ago from London UK

      Great Hub well done!

    • Adriana C. profile image

      Adriana C. 9 years ago

      Oh, those are beautiful pictures! We may build a new home this summer, and I'll be sure to come back and get some ideas when we are ready to plant our garden. Thanks for a very informative hub.

    • SandraMead profile image

      SandraMead 9 years ago

      It's a fantastic hub with some great pictures, thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      Jason Stanley 9 years ago

      The information here is quite helpful to me. Probably not in the manner most will use it. While the beauty of your gardens is execptional - so is the work and thought that goes into it. Clearly it must be a labor of love. Mowing the grass is okay, edging is, well, on the edge, and trimming shrubs is over the edge. I'll just have to visit friends with beautiful gardens like yours.

      I did enjoy the article - quite insightful and informative.