White Shovel Landscapes

4 Excellent Design Ideas for Your
Flower Beds

Today, I’m going to share with you some incredible design ideas for your flower beds. These techniques are tried and proven, and can work with just about every home. I won’t be using exact plant names, but I will describe a plant here and there, that you could locate, or basically locate a plant that has those characteristics.

Contrasting Colors in Your Flower Beds

People often ask me what my favorite color is, maybe it’s because I’m a designer and they think I have some sort of tremendous input on great colors. But, when I think about color, I don’t like colors to be lonely. I say that not because I get emotional about colors, but because colors are meant to be together. Black, on its own has its place, but put black and yellow together and throw in a splash of white and all of a sudden you have something capable of being a favorite color.

Dark Brown Mulch With Bright Green Plants

In landscaping you can do some amazing things with colors. Most people immediately think of flower colors when they think of color in a landscape. But, that’s not the only place to contrast your colors. If you use a nice dark brown mulch, and bright green leaf plants, you can create something that draws your eye in and takes it for a walk down a path filled with wonder and beauty. OK, so maybe that’s over doing it. My point is to consider how you can contrast colors to create
something you might like.

Take Notes at the Local Plant Nursery

Here’s a great exercise for you. Spend some time online looking at colors that contrast great with each other. It doesn’t have to be plants, or even landscaping, just colors in general. Then go to your local nursery, or home improvement store with a note pad. Slowly— so you can enjoy the scenery as well— walk through looking at all the different supplies. Make a list of anything that has color. Everything from black pipe, white rock, green leaves, yellow flowers, to brown and tan rocks. Then when you get home and your looking at your other list of contrasting colors, try to pair things together to come up with stuff that might work for the area your working with. This can be a lot of fun, even if you don’t use any of the ideas, I know you will enjoy it.

Flower Beds

Swerving Decorative Rock Lines for Flower Beds

We all know that bed edges usually curve back and forth. But what about other things in your beds that could swerve. How could you create new lines in your flower beds? Here we are going to discuss some alternative options to creating lines in your beds, and also discuss a particularly great idea.

Most people use edging material to go around the outside of their flower beds, and of course, that’s where it usually goes. But what if it didn’t? What if you put in small trees, maybe something similar to a Dogwood— that grows in the south— it doesn’t get very big, but has a gorgeous bloom in the spring, early summer. Let’s say you plant this tree on the corner of a nine foot square of the corner of your house.

Splitting Flower Beds With Edging

Then you swoop your edging around it like normal. But, then you do something a little shocking. You split the bed with some edging. That’s right, use a metal, plastic, or whatever edging material you want, and curve a swooping line from one side of the loop around your tree, behind the tree to the other side of the edging loop of your main edging. Then, take it one step further and fill the area with a decorative rock, while mulching the rest of your landscape. You could do one of these swooping ideas, on both outside corners of your home.

Now, even if the above idea doesn’t work for you exactly, you can still use it. Any area of your landscape, whether it’s a circle around your shrubs in your beds, or a small path to your water faucet, you can use edging to divide the mulch from your newly created decorative rock bed.

Invisible Edging for Flower Beds

There’s a chemical I’m going to show you that makes any landscape edging invisible. I’m kidding of course, this isn’t the case of the invisible edging. However, there is a way of installing edging where it can’t be seen. You might be asking yourself “Why would I not want to see my edging?” Of course I’m not talking about installing an expensive stacked stone edging and making it invisible. I’m talking about a completely different look where it looked like your grass seamlessly met your mulch in one swooping gorgeous motion.

Do I have your attention now? So how do you create this illusive, invisible edging. It’s actually really simple, and it’s some of the lowest cost edging on the market. The trick is to not install edging. I know right! Now don’t let me lose you with that ignorant bit.

Edging Trench for Flower Beds

A trench around your beds that gets filled with mulch is a great way of edging your landscape. You see, the trench keeps the mulch in your beds, and prevents the weeds from growing into your landscape. How does it do this? You just need to make sure the trench around your landscape lowers the soil and makes a complete elevation change from the top of the soil in your beds to the soil in your grass. This is actually easier than you think. All you need to is move the dirt from the front of your beds to the back of your beds. All landscapes should slope a little bit away from the house, so moving the dirt is a good thing for drainage, and it also creates a great edge made from the dirt in your yard. Maybe this is too advanced, but if you don’t make it complex, and you just use your yard to edge your beds, it’s actually a fun, and easy idea.

Two Colored Mulch for Flower Beds

Red mulch has its place I guess, but I’ve never been that much of a fan. But I did have an idea one time, and used it for a very particular client. This young lady was searching from something different. She pushed me to go outside my comfort zone a little and look into a few options with red mulch. When I returned from my sabbatical outside my comfort zone, I brought back a new technique I now use quite a bit.

Red and Black Mulching

What we did was to install the entire landscape, and then we mulched the beds with black mulch. Then, we took a metal rake and pulled back the mulch in the beds to form curved stripes here, and there, throughout the flower beds. That’s when things got a little freaky. We took bags of red mulch and carefully filled the stripes. The end result was extremely classy, and although it took a little extra work to maintain, it was far different than anything I’ve seen in landscape design.

There is probably a lot of ways you could use this technique, but you just have to step outside your comfort zone a little. We all seem to use the landscape materials for exactly what they were made to do, but sometimes it’s fun to see what else you could create with them. That’s the real beauty and excitement behind being a landscape designer.


There are lots of ideas all around us you just got to be on the look out. I’ve found most of my best ideas come from when I face an insurmountable obstacle. What’s the old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” The thing there is that when you need something, it’s best not to settle or simply assume it can’t be done. If you put your mind to it you might just come up with some new fangled invention or great landscape idea.

Landscape ideas come from everywhere, and lots of times you will look on different
websites online and feel like you will never be able to apply these gorgeous ideas to your landscape. But, you just need to understand where to start or how to approach it. Let me give you a small tip before I go.

Final Tip

Start with the materials that you know will be in your landscape. What color mulch, how will you solve any drainage issues, what edging might look good. Then, before you go any further, look around your yard for what you already have; such as colors of your shutters, front door, or plant types. You sort of want to have a theme to your entire yard, so if you are doing one area only, don’t get hung up on trying to be radically different then your entire yard. Focus on applying what you already have done to that particular area.

Good landscape design has to have good unity of all areas, so applying this tactic is not the easy way out, it’s a great rule to follow. Plus, it gives you a good need, which we just go through saying is the mother of invention. Hope you enjoy these ideas, hope to hear how you had to be creative as well.

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