Planning Your Perennial Garden

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This article will get you started in planning and planting perennial plants in the landscape and the garden.
by Brett · All Zones · Perennial Plants · 0 Comments · February 05, 2011 · 9,954 views

Selecting Perennials

There are literally thousands of different types of plants that fall into the perennial category, so the choices are endless. They come in such a variety of shape, size, color and texture that one can create many different looks for any yard, be it a large estate or the tiniest town plot.

Many gardeners combine perennials together in well though out and planned "perennial gardens." That being said, perennials can also be useful planted as specimens, in groups, or in mass to provide splashes of color and texture anywhere in the landscape.

Since there are so many choices of perennials, it is important to make a planting plan. Perennials range in size from low growing, mat forming plants such as 'Blue Star Creeper" (about 1" tall), to the gigantic plants such as the Confederate Rose Hibiscus (reaches up to 10' in height). It is good to know the mature height and width of a perennial plant in order to place them properly in your garden.

You should also get to know the bloom period of each plant. Some perennials will bloom for a month or so while others will bloom all season, as many annual flowers do. Most people like to have a succession of blooms from early spring to the last fall frost, so plant choices based on flowering periods are important. It's good to have a mix of perennial plants in your garden in order to achieve this prolonged color in the garden.

Planning Your Perennial Garden

When planning for the size of a perennial garden it's a good rule of thumb to make the bed 1' in width for every 4' of length, however there is no set size or shape. So, a garden that is 20' in length might be 5' deep/wide. If you can make it deeper all the better for there will be more room for big, impressive plants at the back of the bed with more plants of differing lower heights in the middle and at the front.

Pick A Theme
Of course, you don't have to pick a theme for your perennial garden, you can always just pick plants you like and arrange them in the garden however you like. But many gardeners like to design a perennial garden with a theme. Perhaps the most popular perennial garden themes these days butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, and cut flower gardens. Monocolor gardens, where you design in plants that are various shades of the same color, are popular as well.

Make a Sketch
It's a good idea to make a sketch of the perennial garden you intend to plant. If you can draw it to scale, for instance at a 1" = 10' scale, this will help in making sure you don't overcrowd your garden with too many plants planted too closely together. Sketch the shape and sizze of your garden on paper. Then use a ruler to plot the plants in your sketch. When plotting the plants, use the ruler to draw a shapes that represent the mature size of the plant.


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