How to Plan a Beautiful Perennial Garden How to Plan a Beautiful Perennial Garden

Everyone loves the flowers from perenial gardens. What everyone may not love is replanting them year after year, as is the case with annuals like petunias or marigolds. What can you do to get a beautiful garden every year without all that work? Plant a perennial garden. Perennial plants hibernate during the winter months to bloom again come spring or summer. They are easy to plant and low-maintenance once the roots establish. Follow these guidelines to plan your perennial garden.

Determine your Space Limitations

When planning your garden, first determine what kind of space you have. Perennials, when first planted, do not take up much space but many expand and grow after several years and could drown out other plants you have in your garden. Take into consideration spacing requirements, too. Some perennials require a foot or more of space between them when planting. For this reason, exercise caution when choosing your plants. There are some groundcover perennials, such as lamium, that can expand several feet across and dominate your garden. If that is not your intention, make sure you know how big they'll get once established.

Height may not be a large issue in your garden, but consider if you prefer perennials that stay only 2 or 3 inches above the ground (like lamium or ice plants), or if you want some taller plants to show off, like irises or rose bushes, which can grow to 2 or 3 feet.

Decide on Colors

Do you want a lot of green in your garden or blossoms all in the same color gradient? Or do you prefer to have green with a splash of varying bright colors? There are many plants that have varying colors of flowers, like day lilies, which can bloom in deep yellows or orange, or irises, which bloom in purple or dark shades of gold (among other colors). Roses are also perennial plants with a very large variety of colors, from light pinks to dark pinks, to white to deep red, to oranges mixed with red to lavender. It all depends on what you want your garden to look like.

Decide When you Want Blooms

Every perennial has its own blooming habits.  Blanket flowers bloom early summer to fall, day lilies bloom in mid-summer, and ice plants bloom small flowers all summer long. You could also choose perennial sunflowers, which bloom mainly in the fall. Combinations work well, too; a variety of plants that bloom in early to late summer mixed with plants that bloom in the fall will guarantee full-time color.

Choose Appropriate Plants Depending on Sun Exposure

The plants that will work in your perennial garden depend on whether the garden receives a lot of sun, partial sun or shade, or total shade. Different types of plants prefer different types of lighting and can do poorly if planted in the wrong light. Plants that enjoy full sun include day lilies, ice plants, blanket flowers, or irises. Day lilies also do well in partial shade, as do columbines and Echinacea (coneflowers). Lamium is great groundcover that grows beautifully in a well-shaded area.

    Purchase Your Plants

    When you’ve decided on location, space, colors, and sun exposure, visit a nursery. Nurseries take good care of their plants and have knowledgeable staff who can answer any additional questions you have. 

    Once you’ve planted your new garden, enjoy your beautiful, low-maintenance perennial plants as they bloom every year.

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