How to Plan a Garden

Design a beautiful garden or landscape with our garden-planning tips.

Ever wonder how the pros create those gorgeous gardens we love looking at? The process of designing a garden is easier than you think. Here are 5 strategies often used by garden designers. First, pick a color theme. Color is one of the first things we notice about a garden. And by establishing a color theme, you create a mood. Combine hot colors, for example, red, yellow and orange, to create excitement and drama or mix cool colors such as the blues, the pinks and whites for a softer look. After you select the color theme to begin looking at plants, be sure to vary the plant heights. It creates visual excitement and energy so use short, medium and tall plants, all in the same garden bed. As you select your plants, employ repetition to make your landscape seem cohesive. This is wonderfully easy. Pick plants or colors and repeat them throughout your yard. If you have a long, narrow border along the sidewalk, for example, plantings cups of hoyas like this will draw your eye through the plantain. Also use different textures. Mix plants that have different shapes to contrast each other. A low potato vine, for example, creates a conflict that plays off upright crops like Karl Foerster's feather reed grass. Pay attention to your plants as foliage, too. Mixing different leaf shapes and sizes creates a ton of interest. Here's a bonus tip. Create interest with colorful foliage as well as beautiful blooms. Purple leaves really stand out in the border and they look good with just about any color of flowers. Chartreuse leaves create a fun pop against darker colors and are especially fun in shaded gardens.