July – Perennial Garden Ideas

By Steven A. Frowine, The National Gardening Association

Perennials return each year to provide splashes of color and texture to garden beds and borders. Here are some basic garden layout tips and techniques used by professional garden designers that you can easily apply in your own garden.

The most common way to display perennials is together, in a large flowerbed or, space permitting, a long border of either meandering form or with firm boundaries. These methods of growing perennials are purely practical: You can prepare the soil, plant them together, and care for them.

  • Plan to be in scale: Some sense of proportion between your home, garage, and/or shed (whatever’s nearest to the proposed perennial garden) is key. A big house, for instance, does best with wider beds and taller plants; a smaller one is better served by a series of smaller beds and lower-growing plants.

  • Match garden style with structures: A casual bungalow, cottage, or one-level home likes an informal perennial garden, with wavy-edged boundaries; a larger or more imposing home, or one with strong architectural elements and lines, needs a more formal, straighter-edged approach.

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