9 Tips To Getting A Professional-Looking Garden Design

by David Salman

Summer Dreams Pre-Planned Garden

The Summer Dreams Pre-Planned Garden is perfect for small spaces and features a mix of flower shapes and heights.

When it comes to planning a flower garden or preparing for a new landscaped area of your yard, many folks don't know where to start. Not to worry! We have helpful tips for making garden planning easy. The planning process should be simple and doable, and leave you with a much better idea of what you want to accomplish.

Here's the short list of factors one needs to understand before any plants go into the ground:

  • How big is the area to be planted? Even if it's only approximate, this tells you how many plants will fit comfortably without becoming an overgrown jungle.
  • Determine the growing conditions. What direction does the area face? Is it a hot dry south or west facing spot? Or is it a cool and shady north or northeast facing area? Is there root competition from a nearby large trees or shrub?
  • Where is it in relation to the house? How close is it to the house? Do you look out on the area? Can you see it from the street?
  • Know your soil type. Not sure? Bring in a sample to the nursery or have it tested.
  • Note if moisture levels in the area are different than elsewhere in the yard. Is it a low spot that collects water after a rain? Or is it on a slope that dries out quickly? Is it near a downspout from the roof that provides extra moisture for plants that like moist soil.

Once the above steps are done, you can start the fun part; putting together a "want list" of plants for the planting site. You can use our robust website search and filter features to find plants that match your growing conditions. 

August Afternoons Pre-Planned Garden

The August Afternoons Pre-Planned Garden features a mix of ornamental grasses and long-blooming perennials that come into bloom in late summer.

 

9 Tips To Getting A Professional Looking Design For Your Garden and Landscape

I need to confess that I'm not a landscape designer by education, only by experience. I approach a new planting from the growers' side of the equation. Here are the design tricks I use to put together a cohesive and horticulturally sensible planting using perennial plants:

  1. Always use each plant in odd-numbered groups (3, 5, 7, 9, and so on.)
  2. Use a variety of flower types, including daisy-type flowers (Daisies, Coneflowers), flowering spikes (Beardtongue, Hummingbird Mints), flower sprays (Heuchera, Columbine, Diascia), mounding flowers (Lavender, Catmint, Coreopsis) and flat-topped flowers (Yarrow, Milkweed, Stonecrop).
  3. Always mix in some Ornamental Grasses for structure, texture, and movement.
  4. Plant for long-lasting color. Perennials usually bloom for a month or so in one of four general times in the growing season; early spring, late spring, summer and early fall. Choose perennials that bloom in all four of these segments to keep the planting in color for a much longer time.
  5. Use larger groupings of plants to keep the look more restful to the eye. Planting just one or two of a large number of plants can lead to the planting look chaotic and unfocused. In large plantings, repeat groupings of plants more than once to create a more cohesive design.
  6. Choose plants with a variety of heights - short, medium, and tall - to add variety and avoid monotony. Plant the tallest plants toward the back and shorter plants toward the front of your arragement, so that you'll be able to see each plant.
  7. Space plants in their locations according to their mature size, not the size they are in the pot. This may seem like a "no-brainer" but it's an all too common mistake. It's also important to make note of which plants will naturalize and spread, and which plants will stay more controlled. Some plants are easy to transplant or divide when they fill in and get crowded, but other plants, like Peonies and Milkweed, do not transplant well.
  8. Use lots of groundcovers. I'd much rather look at a lovely creeping thyme than big swatches of mulch. Groundcovers knit a planting together. Not only do they look better than mulch, they also provide additional benefits, such as attracting pollinators or bringing fragrance and color to the garden.
  9. Use some evergreen plants, ornamental grasses, and other plants with interesting seed heads, such as Echinacea and Milkweed, to keep the garden interesting in the dormant seasons.

 

 

Shop Our Most Popular Perennial Plants

  1. Hesperaloe parviflora Yellow Texas Yucca flower

    Yellow Flowering Texas Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora 'Yellow') is a beautiful, uncommon yellow-flowered form of Texas Red Yucca, a low-water garden favorite. Plant it with other Hespe...

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    Yellow Flowering Texas Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora 'Yellow') is a beautiful, uncommon yellow-flowered form of Texas Red Yucca, a low-water garden favorite. Plant it with other Hesperaloes to create superb bi-colored combinations that are sure to draw hummingbirds to your garden.
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  2. Silver Artemisia Powis Castle, Artemisia Powis Castle, Silver Sage close up by customer Mike D.

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Easy Garden Design Wtih: The Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned GardenThe Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden is our most popular Pre-Planned Garden of all time!

Take The Guesswork Out Of Garden Design with Pre-Planned Gardens

If you're a casual gardener or someone who is just too busy to undertake the planning processes I've outlined above, choose one of our High Country Garden Pre-Planned Gardens. They are like a painting-by-numbers kit. Each garden comes with a complete planting diagram that shows plant placement and plant spacing. Prepare the soil, place, and plant. Your living art piece will grow in and give you that professional look without a lot of effort.

Shop Pre-Planned Gardens

  1. Habitat Hero Birdwatcher Pre-Planned Garden

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    You save: 5%
    Regular Price $155.85 Sale $148.06
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    Exclusive. The ‘Habitat Hero’ Birdwatcher Pre-Planned Garden will delight gardeners who enjoy attracting birds to their yards with a carefully selected mix of 15 perennials, shrubs and ornamental grasses in mixed pot sizes of 2.5" and 5". Drought resistant/drought tolerant plants (xeric).
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  2. Soft Colors Inferno Strip Pre-Planned Garden

    This low-growing Inferno Strip Garden is ideal for hot, sunny, problem areas like those found against garage walls and along driveways and roads. With this garden, you can easily cre...

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    This low-growing Inferno Strip Garden is ideal for hot, sunny, problem areas like those found against garage walls and along driveways and roads. With this garden, you can easily create a colorful, long blooming, low maintenance flower bed. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric). Designed by Lauren Springer Ogden. Mixed pot sizes.
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  3. Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden

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    As low as $172.32
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    A High Country Gardens Exclusive, our drought resistant jumbo Waterwise pre-planned garden will allow you to grow more flowers while using less water with this arresting combination of long-blooming, easy-care perennials. Their bright, clear colors are a delight to your eye, but their inedible foliage will keep the rabbits and deer at bay. Perfect for that hot, sunny spot in your yard. Available in two sizes, 18 or 27 plants. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric). Save $20 off the single plant price!

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  4. Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden

    A High Country Gardens Exclusive, our drought resistant jumbo Waterwise Pre-planned Garden will allow you to grow more flowers while using less water with this arresting combination ...

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    Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden For The West Coast Jumbo Waterwise Pre-Planned Garden For The West Coast
    As low as $169.32
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    A High Country Gardens Exclusive, our drought resistant jumbo Waterwise Pre-planned Garden will allow you to grow more flowers while using less water with this arresting combination of long-blooming, easy-care perennials. Their bright, clear colors are a delight to your eye, but their inedible foliage will keep the rabbits and deer at bay. Perfect for that hot, sunny spot in your yard. 18 plants in 5" deep pots. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric). Save $20 off the single plant price!
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