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What I’ve Learned About Flower Beds

Posted by on September 19th, 2012

Instead of bringing you a post on some of our latest outside work as I’d planned, I’m forced to goto Option B and discuss something else.  I was hoping to come home from work and snap some quality photos of our mums, and the finished front door paint.  However, due to some pretty nasty weather, those pictures will have to wait for now.  So, onto Option B, What I’ve Learned About Flower Beds.

Full disclosure:  Lisa and I still do not consider ourselves to be green thumbs.  I think I can say with some level of confidence that when we moved into our current home, we had sort of a blackish gray thumb.  Let’s call it a charcoal thumb.  We killed plants.  It happens.  They just tended to die on us.  We’ve since improved our game through many lessons learned.  Our garden isn’t perfect, but I think we’ve learned enough to dispense some garden advice.

What I’ve Learned About Flower Beds

1.  Curved lines are more attractive than straight.  This one is a biggie.  If you’re just starting to make flower beds, try to add some curves.  Professional landscapers rarely lay down straight flower beds.  Some straight sections you may not be able to get away from, but when possible go round or go home.  If you already have straight beds, it’s easy to add some curvature.  Just shape a garden hose to the profile you like and mark the outline with spray paint or a shovel.

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2.  Use landscape fabric to keep weeds out.  Unless you love spending your free time yanking weeds every week, I’d pop for the fabric.  It’s not hard to incorporate it if you already have beds.  It’s also perforated enough to allow water to run through it.  They tend to come in varying levels of quality identified by their life expectancy.  I’d go with a good 15 year roll or better.

3.  Add a drip irrigation system if you don’t already have a sprinkler system for your lawn.  These systems consist of a roll of flexible tube that gets run in the flower bed.  You punch holes in it or add nozzles and you connect the hose to a battery powered control valve/timer that sits on your outside faucet.  It’s very inexpensive and supremely DIY.  The hose can sit under the landscape fabric or over it, so if you already have an established bed, you can add this and throw some extra mulch over the hose to hide it.  It’s a great way to keep your plants alive without having to water them everyday by hand.  After all, these plants can get pretty expensive.

mailbox flowers

(via greengardenista)

4.  Add depth by planting flowers or shrubs with varying height.  In my opinion, this is the hardest part of having a sweet looking flower bed.  Staging the plants appropriately so they all show off their natural beauty yet getting the height and depth right to maximize the wow factor.  If you stick with plants that all have roughly the same height, you could be losing out on some visual interest and curb appeal.  We need to add a lot more depth in our garden.  Right now it’s too one dimensional.  This mailbox photo is from Lisa’s Outside To-Do List.  We’re hoping to get to that mailbox project done in the spring.

I’m hoping to get some much needed outdoor work done before it starts to get too cold.  This weather is perfect for garden work.

What are your tips or suggestions?  Are you planning on any Fall garden upgrades?

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Posted in Fall,Outdoors and Landscaping. Tagged in ,, , , , ,

  • http://www.casa-de-christine.blogspot.com Christine @ casa-de-Christine

    These are some great tips! We really need to work on our outside beds- hoping to do some pruning, edging and mulching this weekend now that the heat has broke. I’ll definitely be using some of your tips!

  • racwalt1

    Nice tips! Mums and pansies are great for fall color and will last through light frosts. Dahilas are great fall bloomers too. I love to add shurbs to the land scape that have intense fall color like Smoke Tree and Burning Bush. I also like to create the structure of a garden with bushes/shrubs are then fill with flowers that bloom at different seasons. That way, you have color all year long.

    • http://www.ourhomefromscratch.com/members/john/ John

      Great advice Rachel! We need more color here, big time.

  • http://www.drabtofabdesign.com Whitney

    Love this! I agree..curvy is better!

  • Kristen

    Great tips! Our yard is under the control of our landlord, but I do look forward to when we one day have our own house and can do what we want :)

  • http://attemptsatdomestication.com Ashley@AAD

    Great tips on the curves! I never thought of that but it makes perfect sense! :)

  • Anita

    Suggestion… Love curves but before starting your edges, if using a riding lawn mower, cut your grass how your lawn mower would handle the curves well.

    • http://www.ourhomefromscratch.com/members/john/ John

      You are exactly right. We\’re going to be \”refreshing\” our flower beds to match our riding mower ability in the spring.

  • Lynda F

    Curves are definitely a good thing, but I would advise against landscape fabric. It works for a season or two, but then it starts to break down and it is pure h*** to get out. Try cardboard or newspaper instead.

    • http://www.ourhomefromscratch.com/members/john/ John

      Thanks for the tip Lynda! I may try newspaper when I expand the flower beds.