“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen
With the rise of homesteading and functional outdoor spaces, it’s sad to see gardening purely for the beauty fall by the wayside of home design trends. But if your home’s exterior feels dull and lifeless, a few flowers might be exactly what you’re missing.
Flower gardens aren’t just for your grandparents, and adding some color to your landscape won’t suddenly make it feel outdated and stuffy. Keep reading for the best flower garden ideas for the contemporary homeowner (and, soon, amateur gardener).
1. Creative Flower Garden Ideas
If you want to add some personality to your flower garden, you don’t need to look far for some incredibly clever ideas. Wheelbarrows and wagons are a classic alternative to raised beds. Some creative gardeners can even turn an old car into a giant flower bed.
Even something as simple as a “spilled” flower pot can add a ton of charm to a garden design. Or you can take inspiration from attractions like Disney World or Busch Gardens and paint a literal picture with your colorful flowers.
Whatever you decide to do, remember to prioritize your plants’ wellbeing. Planting flowers too close together or in a container with no drainage will cut their lifespan significantly. And be prepared to replace old flowers to maintain your design.
2. Container Flower Garden Ideas
There are many reasons why installing an in-ground garden bed might not be an option. You could be a renter. You could be relocating in the near future. Or you could just not want to disturb your existing landscaping.
All these scenarios, and many others we didn’t list, are great opportunities to build a container garden. Container gardens can be as vast or as compact as you like. You can also employ strategies to save floor space, like hanging baskets, a vertical garden, and planter shelves.
Another great thing about container gardening is how portable it is. If you live in a harsh climate, just move your collection into a garage, shed, or sunroom for protection. Many small trees and shrubs will survive year-round in a container — if it’s big enough!
3. Backyard Flower Garden Ideas
The most obvious locale to start a flower garden is, without a doubt, in your backyard. Chances are you have plenty of space back there to install a flower bed or two.
Despite what you might think, flowering perennials are lower-maintenance in the long-term. Yes, they require pruning once in a while. But if you fill your entire garden with annuals, you’ll need to plant, remove, and replant every year.
Designing a beautiful garden isn’t hard — the flowers do most of the work. Choose a color palette and stick to it. Remember, “all colors” is a valid option. You just need to maintain balance throughout the garden space.
4. Border Flower Garden Ideas
Lush, overflowing garden beds feel like something out of a fairy tale. While flower gardens are gorgeous, you certainly don’t need to sacrifice your entire yard to enjoy their beauty.
Border gardens are an excellent way to add color and texture to your landscaping. They can also help organize an outdoor space and make it feel more put together. Play around with raised beds and interesting foliage to make your border garden more dramatic.
Along a walkway or patio’s edge are both great places to install a border garden. However, you can also create a border around your lawn. You can use landscaping stones for a strict division or allow your flowering plants to trail over the edge for an organic look.
5. Vertical Flower Garden Ideas
There are two main reasons to employ vertical gardening in your flower beds. First, to save on space (and grow more flowers). Or, second, to fill a vertical surface with pretty blooms.
Stacked planters are a straightforward way to turn your patio garden into a vertical-inspired one. You can also hang planters on your yard’s fencing or your home’s exterior. For a freestanding solution, you can use shelves to layer regular pots on top of each other.
If you want to make a big impact, living walls are a head-turning style of vertical garden. They make it seem like flowers are growing right out of the wall or fence. Either way, remember that you can combine vertical design elements with any other gardening trend out there!
6. Raised Bed Flower Garden Ideas
No matter your preferred garden ideas, a raised flower bed is a great tool to keep in your back pocket. Raised beds are an easy way to create clear boundaries between your garden and your patio or lawn.
You can also use this landscaping technique to add dimension to your garden design. Layer multiple tiered beds to maximize space and ensure all of your favorite flowers get their time in the sun (literally!). Or build small garden beds into the top of a stone wall for an ornate twist.
Raised beds are a classic vegetable garden design, so consider saving a few sections to plant your favorite veggies and herbs. When harvest time rolls around, you’ll appreciate not needing to get down on your hands and knees.
7. Landscaped Flower Garden Ideas
Yes, getting your hands dirty is one of the most rewarding parts of flower gardening. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting gorgeous landscaping you can “set and forget.”
For a formal flower garden design, structure should be your top priority. Plant flower beds with strict boundaries. Use landscaping borders or mulch to make them stand out. Leave equal space between plants to maintain symmetry.
Any shrubs, trees, or other hardy perennials are great candidates for a landscaped flower garden (as long as they bloom, of course). Annual flowers require yearly planting and can easily overwhelm a formal garden. Instead, save these small flowers for window boxes or planters.
8. English Flower Garden Ideas
Traditional English gardens combine careful planning and care with the beauty of nature. Your English garden will probably feature a lot of green, but this doesn’t mean it has to lack flowers. Instead, the plethora of foliage allows your flowers to stand out and truly shine.
Avoid strict symmetry and patterns in your flower placement. Ideally, you want the finished product to look like it grew there naturally (but, of course, it did not). This is easy to accomplish by choosing plants that grow a bit wild.
Remember to include vertical layers in your English garden design. Flowering trees are a great choice. You can also use classic planters surrounded by in-ground plants — trailing flowers are the best option for the planter itself.
9. Front Yard Flower Garden Ideas
If you want the world to see the hard work you’ve put into landscaping and growing flowers, plant a garden in your front yard. Even if your front door hides from the street, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to up your personal curb appeal.
Perennial flowers are a great backbone to start with — hydrangeas, roses, and azaleas are all winning options. Use tall plants, like ornamental grasses, to create privacy in your garden design. Also, remember to choose plants that bloom at different times for multi-season beauty.
Your flower bed might be the star of the show, but it should still complement your home’s exterior. Draw inspiration from your front door, shutters, or siding when choosing a garden color palette. Matching window boxes will pull the whole space together.
10. Lush Flower Garden Ideas
Do you love the overflowing aesthetic of cottage and English gardens? Then there’s a good chance you’ll like any lush garden design ideas you come across! If you’re interested in creating your own bouquets, this style also doubles wonderfully as a cutting garden.
Your goal with this planting style is to create a space that feels like an escape from reality. Along with your in-ground flower bed, look for ways to add beautiful flowers overhead.
By the way, the more suited your flowers are to the local climate, the easier it will be to create a lush, bountiful garden. Check out your garden center’s native plant selection for some inspiration. Not only are these colorful flowers great for pollinators, but they also make for an amazing cut flower garden.
11. Cottage Flower Garden Ideas
The cottage landscape aesthetic never truly goes out of style. But this semi-wild, bountiful trend is particularly popular right now.
To pull off this look, plant flowers close together. One strategy that works great is to build a base of flowering perennials and fill in the small gaps each year with annuals. It’s better to overfill a small flower bed than to leave a large one half-empty.
A cottage garden design should be just as much about function as it is attractiveness. Traditionally, these gardens include an equal mix of ornamental and edible plants (herbs, vegetables, and fruit). On that note, plant some native, pollinator-friendly flowers to create a quaint butterfly garden.
12. Balcony or Rooftop Flower Garden Ideas
Not everyone has the luxury of a yard. But with a green thumb and some thoughtful design, balcony gardens can be just (or even more) beautiful.
If space is a limited resource, opt for rail-mounted, tiered, or hanging planters to get the most from the available square footage. Don’t forget to add some floral intrigue to your balcony’s staircase or any other architectural elements.
Large rooftops or balconies can easily get away with perennial garden containers. Use flowering shrubs to frame the space, either positioned along the balcony’s edge or around your outdoor furniture. Ornamental trees are also an option.
13. Patio Flower Garden Flower Garden Ideas
If your backyard doubles as an outdoor living space, you might not want to make your flower bed the star of the show. Instead, you can place some potted flowers around your patio or frame the main area with a border garden.
If your patio features a pergola, trellis, or connects to a gazebo, don’t waste that vertical space. Hang potted plants or train your favorite blooming vine to spread some color overhead, as well.
You can replace a boring foliage hedge with extra-large hydrangeas or rhododendrons. These plants can add much-needed privacy to a patio or pool area. Unlike most traditional hedge shrubs, though, you’ll need to consider petal cleanup at the end of the season!
14. Flower Path Garden Ideas
Have you ever wanted to recreate the look and feel of the classic storybook home? All you’re missing is a colorful, aromatic flower path.
The best location for a flower path will depend on your property layout. While lining a path leading to your front door will deliver the most impact, this isn’t an option for everyone. Other great ideas include a flower-lined walkway leading to a shed, patio, or gazebo.
When it comes to choosing plants, the world is your oyster. Flowering bushes will bloom into large, privacy-granting hedges. Small flowers will create a vast sea of color your guests won’t soon forget. Either way, containers are always an option if in-ground planting isn’t.