How to Build a Flower Bed to Suit the Space You Have (2024)

A flower bed gives you a place to plant colorful annuals, perennials, and shrubs that can fill your yard with beauty. And flowers, of course, are essential for butterflies and other pollinators, so if you learn how to make a flower bed for blooming plants, it will help roll out the welcome mat for these beneficial creatures.

Like a blank canvas, a new flower bed offers you the chance to get creative and fill it with whatever you love. The options are nearly endless but first comes the actual building part. This might seem daunting, but with some planning, preparation, and sweat equity, you'll soon enjoy a more beautiful, flower-filled garden.

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How to Make a Flower Bed

When figuring out how to make a flower bed from scratch, there are a few things to consider first. Here are the questions you need to answer:

Where will it go?

Anywhere from a corner of the backyard to your front entryway can make a great spot for a flower bed. You can place one along a deck or porch, underneath a tree, or around a garden feature like a pond, for example. If you plant near a driveway or along a curb, consider traffic safety when it comes to plant height, and if you live where it will get icy in the winter, keep in mind salt spray, which can kill plants.

How much sunlight will the space get?

Many popular bedding plants, like annual flowers, require full sun, meaning a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight daily. You can choose a spot in part-sun or even a mostly shady area, but you'll be more limited in what flowers will grow there.

What's the soil like?

Most flowering annuals and perennials appreciate loamy soil with plenty of compost added to it. Make sure to rake away rocks or other debris from the site, break up large clods of dirt, and add compost to enrich the bed and encourage healthy plant growth. It's also a good idea to do a soil test to determine if you should add any nutrients your plants need to look their best.

Flower Bed Ideas and Designs

Once you've chosen a site, it's time for the fun part: Flower bed design. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination for how to make a flower bed as pretty and useful as it can be.

  • Looking to make a statement in front of the house? Wrap a small flower bed around your mailbox, line your front walkway, add color underneath a tree, or surround the bases of the front porch risers.
  • Get geometric with a perfectly square, rectangular, circular, or triangular bed.
  • Focus on tall or dense plants to help block unattractive backyard features such as air conditioners, trash cans, swimming pool heaters, or storage sheds.

Removing Grass and Building the Flower Bed

Unless you've got an already bare patch of earth, you'll need to remove the turf before planting your flowers. After marking the outline of your new flower bed with spray paint or white flour, there are two basic ways to remove the grass inside your lines.

Dig up existing grass.

Digging out the grass can be hard work. First, use a shovel to remove a section of grass from the center of your planned bed, then continue to remove turf by wedging the shovel (a hoe also works) under the edges of the grass. Then lift and peel the sod away. Once you've removed the grass, you can prepare the soil for planting.

How to Make a flower bed without digging.

Removing grass without digging is the lengthy-but-easy method. Simply cover the entire area of your future flower bed with several overlapping sheets of newspaper. Layer the paper at least six pages deep, then cover the newspaper with several inches of rich soil or compost. Water well. Over the next few months, the buried grass will die, and the newspaper will decompose while adding nutrients to the soil. Keep the area covered for up to a year before planting for best results.

Once the turf has been removed, outline the area with some landscape edging made of plastic, stone, brick, or wood. Some quirky materials you can use for edging include glass bottles, large seashells, or decorative metal fencing.

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Build a raised flower bed.

There are a few ways to do this. You can use wood boards cut to the desired length. This lets you build whatever shape or size you want. But if you prefer the simplest solution, there are raised flower bed kits that supply everything you need and easily snap together without sawing or hammering. Most kits create fairly small squares or rectangles.

If you build your raised flower bed on top of existing grass, cover the turf with a few sheets of newspaper, then top the paper with garden soil or a soil mix designed for raised beds, and finish off with a layer of compost. If you want to build on top of concrete or another hard surface, you'll need a protective bottom layer of permeable landscape fabric. This will help keep soil from leaking out the bottom of the raised bed yet allow water to drain.

Raised Garden Bed Plans

Flower Bed Plants

How to Build a Flower Bed to Suit the Space You Have (3)

You designed your flower bed, removed the grass, prepared the soil, and edged your soon-to-be-planted site. Now it's time to plant! Choose varieties that do well in your climate and are suited to your site's exposure to sunlight. But beyond that, the best flowers are the ones you love the most.

  • Low-growing annuals such as sweet alyssum, lobelia, and impatiens work well as front-of-the-border plants.
  • Add zing in the front of the house with a colorful mixture of varied-height beauties like zinnias, snapdragons, or marigolds.
  • Tall flowers, including sunflowers, hollyhocks, and cosmos, can be especially inviting when flanking the steps to your front porch or along a property fence.
  • Raised flower bed planting ideas include a center row of tall and medium-height blooms with a border of cascading flowers like bacopa, ivy geranium, moss rose, or calibrachoa.
  • Other ideas include a garden of single-color flowers, a patriotic mix of red-white-and-blue blooms, a pastel flower bed, or a "moon garden" planted entirely in white flowers.

Building a flower bed from scratch might seem intimidating, but it's a fairly straightforward project that just about any enthusiastic DIYer or gardener can accomplish. The time spent planning, designing, and preparing will be repaid once you have the time to admire your beautiful blooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you keep pets out of flower beds?

    The easiest way to keep your pet out of your flower bed is to install a low decorative fence (or chicken wire) around the perimeter. Or you can put a layer of pinecones or other items that are hard to walk on in specific areas where you don't want animals to go. A repellent with cinnamon, mint, or citrus scents can help too.

  • What is the ideal size for a flower bed?

    The ideal size of flower bed depends largely on the landscape of your home and how many flowers you want to care for (and therefore, how much time you want to spend on maintenance). Most flowerbeds that border your home are no wider than 2 to 3 feet, while landscape garden beds can be considerably larger.

How to Build a Flower Bed to Suit the Space You Have (2024)

FAQs

How to Build a Flower Bed to Suit the Space You Have? ›

Generally, you want to organize your plants like you would a class photo or set of bleachers, with the taller ones behind the shorter ones. Or, if you're working on an island garden in the middle of your yard, the tallest plants should be in the center. Consider Bloom Times.

How do you plan a flower bed layout? ›

Generally, you want to organize your plants like you would a class photo or set of bleachers, with the taller ones behind the shorter ones. Or, if you're working on an island garden in the middle of your yard, the tallest plants should be in the center. Consider Bloom Times.

How do you fill an empty space in a flower bed? ›

Another great way to fill in the extra space is by adding a water feature. Surprisingly, a do-it-yourself garden fountain isn't that difficult to make. Create one out of stacked wooden barrels or eye-catching stones.

How do you layout a garden bed? ›

As a general rule, put tall veggies toward the back of the bed, mid-sized ones in the middle, and smaller plants in the front or as a border. Consider adding pollinator plants to attract beneficial insects that can not only help you get a better harvest, but will also prey on garden pests.

How do you arrange perennial flower beds? ›

In a one-sided planting bed, stair-step plant heights—tall plants in back, short ones in front. If your perennial garden design is a free-standing bed that will be viewed from all sides, put the tallest plants in the middle of the design and stair-step heights to bed edges.

What is the rule of thumb in gardening? ›

The "thumb" rule of thumb

Basically, before you water a plant, stick your thumb (or index finger) into the soil about one inch deep. If the soil is dry, you can give it water. If it's still moist, put down the watering can, and back away very, very slowly. Come back another day when the soil is parched.

How far should flower beds be from house? ›

Plan very well for the future of the home's garden. There should absolutely be at least one foot of space away from the home's exterior wall when the plants will be fully grown in order to allow for home maintenance of all kinds.

How far apart should you plant flowers in a flower bed? ›

If you can't find information about a specific plant, a general rule is to space small perennials 6-12 inches apart, 2-3-foot-tall perennials 12-18 inches apart, and taller perennials 18-36 inches apart. It's also a good idea to consult a good book on perennials before planting.

What is the cheapest way to make a flower bed? ›

Here are a few items you could use, round up or find in your yard to create a raised bed on a small budget.
  1. Bricks.
  2. Stones.
  3. Wood or barn wood (make sure it's chemical free)
  4. Fence pickets.
  5. Cinder blocks.
  6. Galvanized tubs.
May 3, 2023

What is the formula for a flower bed? ›

The FORMULA to calculate the area of the oval FLOWER BED is : AREA = π X A X B This will usually be written like this π A B (When there are no addition, divide or take away signs between the letters and symbols, the rule is always to multiply them together.)

How do I make my flower beds look nice? ›

Steps to Renovate a Flower Bed
  1. First, Clean It Out. Overgrown, neglected flower beds can be a real mess of weeds, dead flowers, rocks, ratty mulch, and decomposing leaves. ...
  2. Add Screened Topsoil. ...
  3. Put Down Weed Barrier Fabric. ...
  4. Now, the Fun Part: Add Plants. ...
  5. Next up: Add Bark or Mulch.
Feb 18, 2020

What do you fill a large flower bed with? ›

Use Your Existing Soil: If you have good-quality garden soil on your property, consider using that as the base layer in your raised bed. You can mix it with other amendments to improve its quality. Composting: Compost is an excellent, nutrient-rich option for filling raised beds.

How long does it take for a perennial garden to fill in? ›

Perennials grow slowly in the first year. In the second year, you'll notice a rapid increase in growth, and by the third year, they usually reach their full size.

How do you arrange flower borders? ›

Start by positioning evergreen and large structural plants, to create the 'bones' of the border. Then position groups of herbaceous perennials or small deciduous shrubs of the same species or cultivar. Planting these in groups, ideally with an odd number of plants, helps prevent the border looking 'bitty'.

What is the best orientation for a flower bed? ›

Choose a spot in your garden that receives full sun, meaning at least 6 hours of sun per day. Make your own growing medium or use a potting mix, such as our Wilson's Potting Mix. A north-south orientation is best for low-growing crops, allowing direct sunlight to reach both sides of the bed.

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