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Design a Perennial Flower Bed

Plant Ideas for your Perennial Flower Bed

Designing a perennial flower bed can be a fun and rewarding project for your yard. Perennials are a wonderful choice because they return year after year.

You won't need to keep running to the nursery every couple of months to buy more annuals every time the seasons change. Perennials give you a large choice of plants for your flower bed as well.

Choosing the Best Flower Bed Location

Choosing the right site for your flower bed is important. It will not only affect the plants you choose, but will make a difference in how well they grow, how much water you will use and what the overall effect your garden will create.

For most areas, the best perennial bed will be a place where you get at least partial afternoon sun. Morning sun can work effectively as well, but that extra strength in the afternoon makes many plants thrive.

If you're thinking of a shade garden, be aware that there are a limited choice of perennial plants that thrive in a shady environment.

Once you think you know where you want your flower bed, lay out the garden hose in the shape you want to dig your garden. This serves as an easy guide so you don't lose track of where you're going as you dig.

When designing a perennial flower bed, not everyone likes a straight line, and a hose works really well to do a curved outline. On the other hand, if you do want a straight bed, the hose still works very well to keep your shovel in line.

Checking your Soil

You'll need to check your soil when you design a perennial flower bed. Is it made of clay? Sand? Or is it a nice healthy mixture of organic goodness? Amendments can help you here. Compost, peat moss and other amendments will not only lighten your soil and help it drain or retain moisture┬ů they can also correct pH extremes.

It is a good idea to get your soil analyzed to find out the pH before you begin planting so you know what kind of amendments will suit your garden best.

Once you've got your amendments, spread them over your dug bed and turn the soil to mix it together. After you've turned the soil, get a heavy garden rake and rake thoroughly. This will help create a soil that is evenly mixed.

List of Perennial Flowers for a Sunny Location

Now comes the fun part when you design a perennial flower bed. If you chose a sunny location, you may want to consider some of the following perennials:

Coreopsis: This sunny perennial is easy to grow and it is a cheery little plant full of color. Colors are usually yellows, oranges and some red.

Echinacea or Coneflower: Large daisy-shaped flowers bob above dark green leaves. The petals are pointed downward from a large pom center. Purple is the best known variety, but other colors are being developed all the time.

Lavender: A fragrant choice with purple, lavender or pink flower heads. Pick the flower heads to put in your linen drawers to scent them delicately and keep moths away.

Peonies: These showy flowers come in so many colors you may have trouble choosing. Great in a bouquet or in the garden, peonies never fail to please.

Shasta Daisy: The typical daisy with a large yellow center surrounded by plenty of white petals. Great for bouquets, this daisy is hardy and prolific.

Yarrow: An unusual flat flower head tops this ferny plant that thrives in heat. It used to come primarily in white and yellow, but now it is available in all sorts of colors. Good in arrangements.

Delphiniums: Tall stalks of blue, purple and white flowers rise above the shorter perennials majestically. These beautiful flowers add that rare color of blue to your garden.

Perennials that do well in part sun/part shade

Columbine: These colorful airy flowers grow tall and look good in the garden or in a vase. Airy leaves grow below the tall flower stems.

Lamium: Silvery green foliage graces this plant with clusters of lavender flowers. A great contrast plant.

Liatris: Tall spikes of feathery blooms wave in the breeze on this unusual old fashioned plant.

Lupine: Colorful spikes of blossoms rise above star-shaped leaves for a beautiful show in the garden. Comes in several colors.

Perennials that do well in shade

Bleeding Heart: Who can forget the graceful foliage and arching stems of Bleeding Heart? Heart shaped blossoms hang from these stems like a Victorian postcard.

Coral Bells: Available now in green, almost black and bright gold leaves, the tiny stems of fairy bells rise high above these colorful foliage mounds, creating an old-fashioned look.

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