Some people start planting their garden beds and borders without giving much thought to it beforehand, while others get overwhelmed trying to decide the best way to arrange them, The good news is that it ultimately all boils down to what you think looks good. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of planning your beds and borders and make your home look great from the outside.

Paper First

draw out your garden plan before getting your hands dirty

When it comes to arranging the plants inside your beds and borders, you may feel compelled to just go outside and start getting your hands dirty. This kind of impulsive planting can be a lot of fun, but you may find later on that you didn't really optimize those areas in terms of their size and visual impact. For that reason, the best thing you can do in the planning phase is to get out a pencil and paper.

Outline a large area that approximates the size of your beds and borders. You want it to be big enough that you can easily draw in it and mark what you want to plant where. Just make sure that you're working to scale to avoid overplanning a particular section.

Trip to the Store

You may find it helpful to get an idea of what annuals and perennials you want to have in your beds and borders. Visiting your favorite garden center or DIY store can be great because it gives you a better understanding of what’s available around you and a chance to see the size and color of each plant in person. Catalogs can also work well if you prefer ordering in that fashion, as they tend to contain information on the sizes and colors of the flowers you can order for your particular gardening zone. This data can make it easier to plot out where to put what.

Layer Your Plants

When it comes to planning out beds and borders, one of the most important techniques to consider using is layering. To keep your plants blooming and your planted areas looking amazing all the time, it’s a good idea to invest in plants that flower during different times of the year. Spring bulbs can be fun to grow, but if you only care for spring blooming flowers, your garden is going to be pretty boring the rest of the year. You’ll also want to add plants that flower in summer and fall. Greenery shouldn’t be ignored either, as ornamental grasses and shrubs can look amazing against the pops of color your flowering plants provide.

Background and Foreground

The next thing to consider is where you're plant the varieties you decide on. It can be helpful to plant perennials toward the back and middle of each bed so you can add your annuals in easily. Of course, you’ll also want to keep the sizes of your plants in mind, because you wouldn't want a tall annual stealing the spotlight from the shorter perennials behind it. Your best bet is to strike a balance between accessibility (to the spot you want to plant your annuals in every year) and visibility (of your perennials). The good news is, you can always place your annuals in another spot next year if it doesn’t work out so well this time.

Rows Aren’t Just for Veggies

consider planting your flowers in rows or rings to make future planning easier on yourself

Keeping your flowers in rings or rows can make it easier for you to remember where your bulbs will come up. Placing your plans on paper will help you remember where you've planted different perennials so that you don’t start digging in an area that you shouldn’t be digging in. This will be especially helpful if you ever feel like changing up your beds and borders later on. Always keep your notes to help you achieve your future goals.


Some people enjoy having the same exact garden theme in all of their beds and borders. Repeating the same floral patterns can give your garden a look of cohesion, but putting new themes in different areas can also be fun. For instance, you may want to have one bed with a lot of bright colors and another with mostly herbs. The fun thing about planting is that you can always go with the arrangement that looks most appealing to you.

Update Your Beds and Borders

its important to replant some of your bulbs in other areas every once in a while

Remember that your bulbs and perennials may start getting too big for their areas over time. This issue is a good problem to have, because it means you took excellent care of your plants. Nonetheless, you’ll want to update your beds and borders by replanting some of your bulbs in other areas and properly splitting your perennials.

Everyone wants to have curb appeal that looks good to both themselves and the other people that pass their homes. One of the best ways to increase curb appeal is to put in some beds and borders. Taking a little time to plan these decorative features out can reward you with beds and borders that look extremely well put together.