Step by Step: How to create an annual bed design

March 12, 2015 -  By

Annual plant beds can add color and appeal to clients’ homes and become a new source of revenue for primarily maintenance businesses. But, there’s more to creating an eye-catching bed design than just installing plants.

You’ll need to understand the space’s size, light requirements, existing structures/plants and drainage. Also, talk with clients about their color, style and plant preferences.

-Next, begin preparing the bed’s soil. Create a balance of organic soil amendments and native soil. Till the soil to blend the two together, and rake to form the desired bed shape. Remember to spec a mulch or rock to give it a clean, complete look.

-When choosing plants, select a variety that have the same light requirements. They should look different but have some underlying similarity, such as color, leaf size or leaf shape. This repetition will give the space a cohesive look. Also, choose plants of varying heights. Remember to include a “pop” or “wow” factor, like plants that attract butterflies or birds. Use colors that complement each other, such as yellows and purples, to make a vibrant statement.

-Install the tallest plants in the back or middle of the bed. Tier the plants forward in height toward the edges of the bed. Unless a plant is a focal point, such as an ornamental tree, include at least three of the same plant in the design, and group all the plants in odd numbers. Plants should be staggered, instead of rowed up, to create a more intriguing design.

-To give the annuals time to establish, and replant the color beds when the season starts to change. For warm season annuals, plant in March, April or early May. You may need to refresh some annual color in July or August. Proper maintenance—such as dead heading, weeding and fertilization—will maximize the performance and longevity of the annuals.

Step 1

Select various plants with the same light requirements. Choose different sizes and colors that have an underlying similarity.


Step 2

Use at least three of the same plant in the bed, unless one is meant to be a focal point.


Step 3

Tier the plants toward the edges of the bed with the tallest starting in the middle or back. Stagger the plants, instead of putting them in rows, and group them in odd numbers.


Source: Matt Gross, landscape installation manager, Pike Nurseries


This article is tagged with , , and posted in How-To, March 2015

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