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Southern Inspirations Garden Design

A family-run business since 1997

Southern Inspirations
Essential Flower Garden Design
Create a tapestry of color by making a flower garden design. Plan your garden to have a garden that impresses throughout the whole year. With our guidance you can weave a new look into your garden by choosing colorful seasonal plants.

There is an amazing variety of plants to choose from for your flower garden design. The garden always looks different. Don’t change the trees and shrubs, but constantly change the pretty flowers it will creates an oasis for your soul.

The information on flower garden design is placed in different sections. Click on the links for quick access:

Do you want an instant flower garden for a special occasion and your garden just looks awful? Here are a few tips to quickly brighten up your garden and delight your guests. It will require some hard work, but that special occasion is worth it.

Planning your Flower Garden

Flower Garden Design Design your garden using the steps outlined on our garden design page. Firstly place all your hard landscaping, trees and shrubs. Next decide on which perennials to use, and finally select pretty annual border flowers.

The size of the borders can vary, but they should fit in with the overall flower garden design. A wider border will take up more flowers, will be more costly to plant every season, but will look magnificent.

A narrower border requires fewer plants, but you may be able to afford some more exotic or expensive flowers. There are just endless possibilities, only limited by your imagination. Just remember to keep to the design principles!

Choose more or less five to ten different plants for the flower garden design. Decide on your pattern and repeat it throughout. This will create the best effect. Use clumps of the same flowers in your flower garden design. Single plants don’t create an impact, but a group will.

Look at the planting requirements of all the flowers you have selected, and draw up a yearly planting schedule. Include the times when the bulbs need to be lifted, or pruning done.

When lifting bulbs you will disturb the soil surrounding them, and any delicate seedlings in it. So plan the spacing of your plants well.

The planning could seem unnecessary, but it can help you to grow a garden that will always look good. Planning also saves you money. You will not get caught in by a pretty plant at the nursery, get home, and do not know what to do with it!

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Autumn Flower Garden Design

Autumn signifies the introduction to the end of the year. Winter will soon be arriving. The dead leaves of past summer are raked away and dumped on the compost heap. This is saving for the future. Evergreen trees and shrubs will put out fibrous roots. Autumn is the time to plant out spring bedding in positions that you want.

In winter, polyanthus, forget-me-nots, pansies and wallflowers look pretty. Their colors will brighten up our lives. These can easily be grown from seeds. The cheapest flower gardens can be grown from seeds.

In the winter, garden work is unpleasant. This is especially true if it is windy and cold. In the winter, we plan our gardens.

A well planned garden will be worth all the time and effort. It can also be very rewarding. There are many jobs to be done, like, cleaning the shed, garage, also getting tools sharpened for the pruning season.

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Winter Flower Garden Design

Winter garden could be interesting; it can smell deliciously fragrant with the early blooms of Hamamelis and Viburnum. Hollies can look very Christmassy with their bright berries.

Extend the flower garden design beyond flowers. The stems of different colored barks and shrubs will also look beautiful. This makes a lovely backdrop for the winter flowers.

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Spring Flower Garden Design

Before you even know it the sun shines brighter, longer and warmer. The wind whispers and the birds sing that spring has arrived. The first flowers will appear that you planted in autumn.

The garden is a carpet of snowdrops (Glanthus nivalis), crocus, cyclamen, tulips, winter aconites, irises, daffodils an miniature daffodils. With the down of spring comes new life.

All the trees and shrubs awake. They are the backbone and framework for the garden. It is important to celebrate the each new season and appreciate the beauty that it brings with it.

Crocuses flourish when they are planted naturally in the lawn. Only mow once the flowers have died down.

Hanging Baskets

Include a hanging basket in your flower garden design. Hanging baskets and window boxes will brighten up your home when planted up. They can contain pansies, trailing ivies, heather (Erica carnea), flowering bulbs and other plants. Don’t forget to feed your hanging basket and flower boxes with a good plant food.


It is in early spring that you prune the shrubs that bloomed in late summer. These are hardy shrubs e.g. Rose of Sharon (Buddleja daviddii), Hypericum calycinum and Spiraea douglasii. Less hardy shrubs can only be pruned after all severe frosts have passed, e.g. hydrangea, fuchsia and ceanothus. The trees should also be pruned before the new foliage appears. Remove all the dead wood and flower heads.

Roses have to be pruned to prepare them for flowering. Visit our rose pruning page for all the necessary information on rose pruning.

Wisterias will need to be pruned twice a year. In summer prune long side-growth back to as much as four or five leaves. In winter just shorten back to two buds.


Once the soil has warmed, the ground has to be prepared for the summer flowering bulbs and plants. Order your bulbs in the summer for autumn planting. In spring some beautiful flowering sights can be seen. Grape hyacinth(Muscari neglectum) create a gorgeous blue carpet. In between the hyacinths bright yellow daffodils will appear. The yellow and blue complement each other very well. Bright red tulips look great with different colored primroses.

Tulipa Kaufmanniana “Gaiety” looks like water lily tulips. These are a permanent feature in your garden. They can remain in the ground and come up year after year. Tulips are just a must for a flower garden design.

Spring perennials

Take time to regularly dead-head your flowers to keep your garden looking good. Some early spring perennials to consider for any flower garden design include:

  • Drumstick primulas (Primula denticulate) and Primula “Dawn Ansell”. Plant your flowers in groups to create the most impact. Primulas love rich well drained soil.
  • Corydalis solida with there intense violet flowers prefer partial shade.
  • Epimedium x youngianum “Niveum”.
  • Anemone appenina forms a low carpet for a ground cover. It looks beautiful amongst trees and between shrubs with its small mauve and white flowers.
  • Ipheion uniflorum “Violceum”, a front border plant.
  • Pulmonaria officinalis “Sissinghurst white” makes flowers from late winter.
  • Ranunculus ficaria “Brazen Hussy”
  • Bergenia “Silberlicht” has early spring flowers and has an elephant ear shaped leaf.
  • Helleborus lividus subsp corsicus has pale green flowers.
  • Erythrorium has pretty flowers blooming with upturned petals and heads facing downward which look like Dutch bonnets. They increase when left undisturbed.

Shrubs form the backbone of any flower garden design. Early flowering shrubs are magnificent. One shrubs to look out for is Magnolia stellata as it is just lovely. This is one of the first to flower and is covered in small white flowers just like stars. This shrub looks awesome at night when lit up with garden lighting.

Rhododendrons and Camelias are also look beautiful. Some of our rhododendron and camellia pictures will testify to this fact! Forsythia looks great with there golden yellow flowers. Viburnum x burkwoodii has fragrant flowers. Which are pink and white when open.


Fritillaria Imperialis When preparing for summer bedding, sow half hardy annuals. Make sure that you have enough potash fertilizer in your beds if Fritillaria imperialis is a part of your spring border. Without potash, Fritillaria dol not flower. Snakeshead (Fritillaria meleagris) has a very interesting flower with unusual markings. They do well in meadow like flower beds.

A nice plant to have is Veronica peduncularis “Georgia Blue”. This plant has blooms in each month of the year.

Arum creticum also makes for a spectacular display in spring. They must be planted in autumn. They also do well in well drained soil.

Aubrieta deltoidea is great for a flower garden design. It creeps into all the open spaces. It will grow in the poorest of soils. It will form a carpet of pink, dark pink to violet flowers. Cut your Aubrieta back hard once it has flowered, remove the dead flowers and some foliage. It will then replenish itself.

A pretty flowering groundcover which also creeps into the branches of trees is clemantis. Pink clemantis can look beautiful with deep purple colored bulbs or flowers in between.

Aster novi-belgii and the Michaelmas daisies flower from late summer to autumn. After they have flowered, it is time to separate them. If you don’t divide them regularly they can become woody. They will dry out in the center and not produce many flowers.

Hardy annuals for example clarkia will require much care and can grow in poorer soil. Wisteria floribunda appears truly magnificent in early summer. Wisteria floribunda “alba” all in white, smells fragrant and also looks gorgeous.


At the end of spring it is time to sow the seeds of hardy biennials such as forget-me-nots, foxgloves, sweet Williams, honesty and wall flowers. By autumn they should be large enough to transplant into beds and borders where they will flower. You may also sow them where you would want them to flower.

You may however need to thin them out. By carefully when thinning out the plants, the remainder of the plants should be stronger and produce better flowers.

If a biennial produces a flower bud during the first year, pinch it out. If you don’t, your flowers will be poorer during the main flowering season.

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Summer Flower Garden Design

Selected plants

During the summer Tagetes patula, Gazinia and Slavia splendens work well in a bed. Other Summer plants to think about for your flower garden design are; geraniums, dicentras, gladiolus, irises, Scarbiosa caucasica, Lupinus polyphyllus, Alchemilla mollis, Premula helodsca, Dianthus, pretty Paeonia officinalis, Papawer orientale, Hostas sieboldiana, the list carries on and on.

Roses, and the tall growing and flowering Delphiniums need support. Lavandula stoechas looks great when lining pathways or as border plants.

Lavatena “Barnsley” a shrub that flowers profusely. It loves sun and well draining soil. Clematis “Mrs Cholmandeley” produces lavender/blue flowers in the early summer. It will need to be pruned in early spring to produce the summer flowers.

Using color

Color Wheel There are many flowering plants to choose from. Remember less is often more. Plan and plant the garden well. Make use of the color wheel. Colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel will complement each other.

White flowers will however look beautiful in a garden with blues, purples or other colors. Solanum jasminoides “Album” is a gorgeous white climber. It looks great as a backdrop where white flowers are dominant. Campanula latiloba alba “all white”, looks good in front of the jasminoides with an all white garden. All white gardens generally look spectacular at night. Seriously consider using garden lighting in your flower garden design.

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Planting Annuals Using Seed

The seeds could be sown under glass in moist compost. Sow seeds sparingly. Once the seeds break through remove the glass. Thin out if too many have pop up. The seeds may also be sown directly into the soil. Always buy the beast quality seed. Most annual plants can be sown directly into the soil from early spring onwards. They will flower in summer. Some hybrids should to be started out in trays, and then planted out in the garden when well established.

Read the sowing instructions on each seed packet. Some flowers take a little longer to flower than others. Sow according to the planting plan that you put together during the winter months. Group the flowers according to color, water requirements, shade, and height.

Spacing of seeds

The tall varieties need to be planted to the back of the bed. The shorter varieties are planted closer to the front. When the bed is in the middle of the lawn for example, the taller varieties need to be placed in the middle of the bed. Take this into account when designing your flower garden design.

Sow your flowers seeds in clumps. This will create the best effect. Mark out your sowing area with a hoe. In each area, seeds should be sown in grooves or drills. Seeds can also be scattered and then covered with a thin layer of compost.

When you sow seeds in lines or drills, weeding can be easier. Drills, 1 cm deep, can be made using the edge of a rake. Drills for tall narrow plants could be spaced apart at a distance of half the eventual height of the plant.

It is important to take notice of what the mature size of the plant will eventually be. After you have sowed the seeds in drills, cover them lightly by pulling a rake along the length of the drill.

Sowing fine seeds

Very fine seeds can be scattered on the surface of the soil and left. Protect them from full sun. Always sow your seeds thinly. First mix very small seeds with fine sand in a container. This makes it easier when distributing them thinly.


When you have planted the seeds, use a fine rose attachment on a watering can to water your seeds. Look out for the birds; they will love to eat your seeds. Possibly placing a bird net over the bed. If not, a scarecrow in the garden.

Cultivate seedlings

Cultivate seedlings if you have the space and time or purchase them from a supplier (it may be expensive if you have a large garden). A simpler option is to just sow the seeds where you want the flowers to bloom. Just remember that it could take up to 3 months between sowing the seeds and flowering.

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Pulling it all Together

There are so many things to consider. How to make head or tail of it? You do not have to be the expert! Just carefully do the research on your favorite flowers, review the garden design principles, and get started with your flower garden design.

Once you have taken your first step, it will become easier. Review the first plan carefully. Sleep on it, go to the nursery a couple times, look at plants and then adjust your flower garden design to reflect any new things you have learnt.

Don’t stress. Annuals are planted new each year. So each year you can repeat the exercise and improve on your design! Before not to many years have past you could be an expert on your own garden!

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