Rectangular flowerbeds may consist of an island bed surrounded by lawn or paths, a border garden with its back against a fence or property line, or a raised bed. There are advantages to each type of garden bed. Border gardens can help to hide unsightly fencing, island beds are easy to access from all sides, and raised beds ease back strain by reducing the distance that gardeners must bend over.
An annual flowerbed won't feature early spring flowers but will have flowers all summer long once they start blooming. Begin planning your rectangular garden with edging plants, such as begonias, in the front. Place petunias or snapdragons behind the edging plants. Create some focal points with groupings of tall plants such as gladioli, cosmos or sunflowers towards the center of the bed, then fill the spaces between with plants including marigolds, zinnias, African daisies, geraniums and stocks. Depending on your personal preferences, you can plant flowers of similar colors, or create a flower rainbow.
You can achieve a very formal look with some perennial shrubs and herbs that have a compact, neat appearance, such as lavender or Potentilla. Or create a more natural look with mid-season blooming perennial plants such as tickseed coreopsis, butterfly bush and mints like bergamot. Place tall plants--such as butterfly bush--in the center of your rectangular bed. Group three or more medium-sized plants--such as purple coneflower--together in the middle ground, and plant shorter perennials in the front, such as dragon's blood sedum. With a bit of planning, you can have flowers in bloom all season long. Windflowers and crocus will bloom early in the spring, daffodils mid spring, and tulips late spring. Add some late fall blooming perennials such as asters and sedum "Autumn Joy" to have a complete growing season of blooms.
Rectangular flowerbeds lend themselves to raised bed gardening. The material that you use to create the raised bed will affect its durability and appearance. Cement blocks create an urban look but with the proper flowering plants--especially those that arch and break the plane of the cement blocks--the final look can be more casual and attractive. Wood-edged raised beds create an earthy, country look in the garden, if you allow the wood to age naturally, or can provide an oriental look if they're treated with a cherry stain. Painting the blocks or wood can change the whole appearance of the raised bed. Lighter colors can help reflect light in darker corners while darker colors will heat up the soil sooner in the spring.
If the rectangular garden is located in a less prominent position, planting cut flowers in an island raised bed allows you access to cut flowers for bouquets without compressing the soil. Some flowers are better suited for cutting. Zinnias are a classic cut-flower favorite. There are many varieties, colors and sizes of zinnia including some species that are referred to as "cut and come again" because of their prolific blooms. Other cut-flower favorites include roses and bulbs. When selecting roses, look for straight stemmed varieties instead of climbing types. Many bulbs are appropriate cut flowers. With some planning for bloom time, daffodils, tulips, gladiolas, crocosmia and other bulbs can contribute most of the summer to a cut-flower garden.
- Illinois State University: Designing Flower Beds
- Michigan State University; Planning and Designing with Annuals; March 1998
- Kansas State University; A Perennial Flower Bed Design; Alan Stevens, Alice LeDuc; March 1998
- Kansas State University; Susan Stevens et. al.; Commercial Specialty Cut Flower Production; Aug. 1993
- Virginia Tech; Sell Cut Flowers from Perennial Summer-flowering Bulbs; Andy Hawkins; May 2004
- Photo Credit Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
Rectangular Garden Design Plan
Garden designs come in shapes ranging from square to curvy and odd-angled, as well as basic rectangles. A rectangular garden designed properly...
How to Build an Island Flower Bed in a Lawn
An island bed is a flower bed that can be viewed from all sides. It can add visual interest and appeal to...
How to Plant a Flower Bed
Planting a flower bed takes a little planning, proper tools, flowers appropriate for your region and hard work to prepare the bed....
How to Fix a Seat Cushion
As they get old, seat cushions for chairs, benches and other household furniture can get dirty or develop tears, and their padding...
How to Design Red Brick Raised Flower Beds
Raised flower beds are an innovative way to save space, increase the design complexity of your yard, overcome poor soil conditions and...
How to Shape Your Flower Bed
A garden is always a work in progress. Creating the basic outline or shape of a flower bed is a suitable starting...
The Best Plants for Garden Edging
By definition, edging plants are plants grouped together with similar plants to form an edge or border in a garden or landscape...
Rectangular Flower Garden Plans
While many designers consider curving lines in the garden more aesthetically pleasing, straight lines like those in a rectangular bed are often...
Retaining Wall Flower Bed Layout Ideas
Many homeowners enjoy the functionality and attractiveness of a retaining wall. Flowers and plants add color and soften the texture of a...