Design Tips & Ideas For Annual Seasonal Flower Beds

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This article provides tips and intsructions for designing a seasonal flower bed
by Brett · All Zones · Design · 0 Comments · January 23, 2013 · 15,026 views

What is a seasonal flower bed?
A seasonal flower bed is a garden bed that can be changed from season to season using annual bedding plants and/or other types of plants. In case you were wondering, annual plants are those which typically live for only one season; either during the cool season or the warm season.

What purpose do seasonal flower beds serve in the garden?
Seasonal flower beds, also commonly called annual flower beds, are great for providing seasonal, vibrant splashes of color to your property. With a wide selection of plant varieties and flower colors available, you can change your color scheme in your landscape from season to season! Pansies are a good example of a cool season annual while marigolds are warm season annuals.

Why a design?
Carefully matching plants to the site and carefully selecting good companion plants (for mixed flowerbeds) are important. If you ignore these imperatives, your results will likely be disappointing. On the other hand, if you take a little time to carefully design your flower beds the results can be truly spectacular!

Remember, in most cases, there is more than one way to arrange plants in the flower bed, and that many of the "rules" of design were made to be broken. What's most important is that your annual flowerbeds look and feel good to you.

You can plant a flower bed anywhere on your property but, most importantly, you want to plant flowerbeds where you and others can see them! I often plant flowerbeds to accentuate entryways, to border landscape beds, sidewalks, or pathways, around mailboxes, or near patios, porches or other outdoor sitting or living areas where they will be enjoyed while relaxing outdoors.

Choosing plants

Match plants to the sun
Break this rule at your own peril...or the peril of your plants. Before designing your flower bed, choose plants that will thrive in the amount of sunlight the flower bed will receive during a day. The Gardenality Plant Search is a great place to research plants. When using the search, make sure you select "Annual" under Plant Type.

SEE: Annual Plants for Sun

Size matters
Select sizes of plants that fit the scale of your flower bed. Avoid planting large- or wide-growing plants in a tiny flower bed. Also, keep height and width in mind. Height is important, because you don't want to hide low-growing plants with tall ones. Depending on from what angle the flower bed will be viewed, use taller plants as a background or centerpiece for low-growing plants.

Pay attention to soil and moisture requirements
Generally speaking, and with the exception of a few annual plants, such as Portulaca, which prefer life on the dry side, most annual bedding plants prefer a fertile, loose, moist, but well-drained soil. In order to achieve these optimum growing conditions it is best to create a "raised' or "mounded" flower bed.

Color WheelColor Combinations
With a wide selection of annual flower colors available, you can change your color scheme from season to season. To create visually appealing and alluring gardens you must effectively combine colors.

A color wheel is a diagramatic way of showing relationships between colors. Colors on the right side of the wheel are warm. Colors on the left side are cool. Colors adjacent to one another are analogous. Opposite colors are complementary.

Tips for selecting your color combinations.
So many varieties and colors of annuals exist that when selecting the colors you want you'll need to do some research.

  • Cool colors are good for close up viewing and warm colors are good for more dramatic displays in your garden even when viewed from a distance.
  • Planting warm colored annuals around a warm area will make it seem even hotter. However, if you plant with plenty of cool green, blue, violet, and pastel colors, the area won't actually be any cooler, but it will seem so and be a more inviting place.
  • Be careful of cool and warm color combinations. If your garden is primarily cool colored, a mass of flame orange zinnias in the background would divert attention from the more subtle colors in the foreground and disrupt the harmonious effect.

Foliage and form
Spectacular blooms grab our attention, but don't ignore the foliage plants. Many plants, such as the seemingly endless varieties of sun coleus, elephant ears, caladiums, and annual grasses display outstanding foliage colors and textures. Plants also come in a variety of shapes (also called form or habit). Some plants such as verbenas, petunias, and purslane grow into cushions, mounds, or mats while others such as purple fountain grass, salvias, angelonia, and celosia are upright and spiky, providing vertical accents in the bed. Still others such as begonias and geraniums are round and bushy.

In formal flowerbeds, plants are usually arranged in vertical, horizontal, or diagonal rows, or other regular patterns. In informal gardens, clumps and drifts of plants are most often planted to give the appearance of a more natural grouping. In the most informal flowerbeds, one of each of many varieties are used to fill the bed.

Specialty or theme flowerbeds
You may decide to create a certain theme for a flowerbed. For example, a moon garden might consist of only plants white flowers. A hot garden might consist of reds, oranges and yellows while a cool garden might consist of pinks, blues, and purples. You might plant a flowerbed to attract butterflies or hummingbirds. A foliage bed would consist of plants such as grasses, sun coleus, or licorice plants, known for their outstanding or unique foliage characteristics.

Now you are ready to design your new flower bed! Go to the next page for design tips...


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