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When you think of a garden, one of the first images to come to mind is usually that of flowers. It's hard to imagine a garden without flowers, although gardens without blooms do exist. If you intend to plant a flower garden, it is essential to have a design plan and preferably a long-term planting plan as well. After all you don't want a garden that looks bereft after all the blooms are gone, do you? That is what will happen if you plant haphazardly. So, don't be the person who buys flowering plants on a whim and then wanders about wondering where to dig the hole for the plant to go in. Be the person who knows exactly in which hole which plant is going to go in.

So first things first. Evaluate the site where you're going to plant your flower garden and make a note of the following -
  • How much amount of sun does the site get?
  • Is the site over-exposed to windy conditions?
  • Is it close to a road?
  • Are there any buildings nearby?
  • Are there any electricity/telephone poles or wires nearby?
  • Are there any drain pipes?
  • Is the site accessible to pets or wildlife?
  • What kind of soil does the site have?
  • What is the soil pH?
  • Is there any natural water resource close by?
  • What kind of water supply is available?
  • Consider the shape of your garden - is it long and thin or rectangular?
  • Does it have different levels?
  • Is it an enclosed courtyard garden?
  • Is it a banked garden, a seaside location, split level, square, or a corner site?
Then consider what kind of garden you would like. If you don't have a clue, study different landscaping and flower garden designs. Visit botanical parks or other people's gardens to see how the flower gardening design plan there works or doesn't work. Look at magazines and websites for inspiration and visit local gardening centers and flower shows. Talk to other gardeners and ask for tips. Designs vary in different cultures and climates, so that is another aspect to consider. Japanese gardens, for example, have a more quiet, restrained feel to them than English country gardens, which again differ from the English formal gardens.

Take into consideration the house around which the garden is being planned. What is its architectural style? Your garden design should complement it, not clash. If you have a sprawling area around an old, traditional mansion, for example, you may consider a formal garden design with all the flower beds laid out in exact symmetrical order, or you could introduce a new asymmetrical concept with a wild profusion of flowers. Your personal choice of design is as important, so also the reality of whether you want a high- or low-maintenance garden.
  • Start with identification. Make a list of flowering plants you want in your garden. Note how tall the plants will eventually become and their overall spread. Referring to these notes, draw up your garden plan. You can plant in order of height, or put the tall plants in the middle.
  • Plant in a straight line or in a sweeping curve. Straight lines and curves seem to give a more coherent look than zigzag lines. But, keep in mind, there can always be exceptions to this rule
  • Plant in groups of twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, or more. This will give you a mass of blooms and you can get the 'riot of colors' effect.
  • Plant groups of flowering plants of one color, but of different tints and tones.
  • Plant according to adjacent color progression.
  • Plant in a complementary color scheme.
  • Plant flowering plants with harmonizing colors together.
  • Plant in a complete, unbridled mix of colors.
  • Intersperse single, stand alone plants between clumps of coordinating plants.
  • Use an evergreen hedge as a backdrop for radiant blooms.
  • Add a focal point like a statue, bird bath, a bench, or an arbor. If you have a large garden, you can add more than one focal point.
Incorporate a winding path between flowering beds, and use taller plants or a flowering creeper on a trellis to create an interesting 'I don't know where this leads' effect. If you have a pond, create a water garden with lilies and lotuses. Line the pond with rocks so it looks more natural.