Ideas and Inspiration for your Flowery Paradise

Some gardeners follow a flower garden plan, other people allow the garden to grow organically, using the ‘landscaping by the seat-of-the-pants’ method.

Using well drawn up flower garden plans, you can build the skeleton, and then let the rest evolve. A well designed backbone will give the garden structure, but then the ‘fleshing out’ part will happen naturally over time.


Many gardens in England were built to strict garden design plans, with yew hedges to define garden rooms, and each theme garden following a structure to form a cohesive whole.

Romantic gardens with lush plantings, secret pathways and a mysterious atmosphere are built this way.

Using this method may not work for gardens in North America, which tend to be a lot less formal and in a natural garden style, possibly with wildflowers and grasses as a predominant palette.

The garden layout is the skeleton of the garden, the plants are the skin and muscles; to carry this further, you won’t get far without good strong bones, and the muscles to do the heavy lifting.

Your flower garden plan may be in your mind, and can change as your vision develops.

New flower garden ideas flourish in this type of environment, and your imagination is allowed to take the lead.

Other people feel challenged by this and want firm plans in their hand before they even start to develop the land. Whether you’re wanting a zen garden design, a herb garden design or a plan for creating a rock garden, it’s important to have a clear vision.

Here’s how you can design your flower garden plan, without feeling intimidated.

First, I like to take pictures of the current condition of the property – whether it’s totally new construction on a recently completed subdivision, or a renovation of an existing garden, pictures taken from all angles are important not only to remind you of trees, plants or man made structures that you want to keep, but also to give some idea of progress.

Then, take accurate measurements of all perimeters of the area, taken from a structure that will remain in the same place – such as the solid wall of a house or other permanent building. Use these to draw out your initial flower garden plans.

Note all trees, plants that you want to salvage, changes in elevation and so on.

Also keep in mind the direction of the sun and how it travels across during the course of the day. Rough sketches are fine; be as thorough as you like on your final design.


Once you have an idea of what you want to keep, if anything, you can start to plan out where you feel patios, walkways and other features like rock retaining walls should be placed, and the planting beds.

For a formal design, use string lines for square or rectangular shapes; round circles can be made with a large nail for the center and a string of the right length to indicate the edges. Contractor’s spray paint, which is environmentally friendly, can be used to mark out where the bed will be.

Confine your plan to one or two basic shapes, not a conglomeration of every shape under the sun. The design of your flower garden plan will be much more pleasing if the shapes of the beds are similar.

For an informal or cottage garden design, use the old garden hose trick to lay out pleasing curved beds. Once these are to your liking, then out comes the contractors spray paint again. Good design, whether it’s a garden or anything else must be balanced – use two smaller beds to balance one larger one.

Using solarization, or the lasagna gardening technique, you can make rudimentary beds, planting them with annual flowers for a quick and dramatic trial of the flower garden plan.

In successive seasons, beautiful brightly flowering perennial flowers and hardy fruiting shrubs intermingled with easy to grow annuals will bring your flower garden plan to fruition. If you’re interested in using some really drought tolerant plants for your flower garden, find out more about my recommendations for the 10 Best Hardy Succulents for Landscaping too.

I’ve wanted to have a cactus garden for a long time – this is the year when my plans will come to fruition; going along with my theme of an old western town, Boot Hill will be a tribute to the miners and old timers of the area.