Flowerbed ideas: 18 stunning ways to create floral displays in your garden

Discover these show-stopping flowerbed ideas – from color schemes and planting picks to tips on where to place them

flowerbed ideas: purple flowers in front of water feature
(Image credit: iBulb)

Looking for some new flowerbed ideas in time for summer? Maybe your garden could do with a few more blooms – after all, you can seldom have too many in our book. Or, perhaps you've taken over a brand new plot and are looking for creative ways to transform it into the flower-filled haven of your dreams.

Well, you've come to the right place, because we've pulled together some of our very favorite flowerbed ideas for you to peruse. From flame-toned displays, contemporary designs and cottage-garden borders to clever ways to position them to create the most impact, we've got tons of styles to get you thinking about your own plot.

Whatever your budget or the size of your space, you're bound to find something you love from these inspiring looks.

1. Use a flowerbed to line a zone

flowerbed ideas: alliums and muscari alongside swimming pool

Alliums add an architectural touch

(Image credit: iBulb)

Whether planted in raised garden beds or straight into the ground, flowerbeds can make excellent garden dividers. Here, alliums bob elegantly beneath deciduous trees not yet in leaf, and above evergreen shrubs getting ready to flower. Muscari in its vivid blue hue adds an extra dose of visual interest alongside the lawn.

2. Mix bold flowers with soft grasses

echinacea and stipa at RHS Hyde Hall

Echinacea and stipa at RHS Hyde Hall makes a stunning duo when planted together

(Image credit: Joanna Kossak/RHS)

You don't have to cram in lots of different types of flowers for a show-stopping display. This example above demonstrates how two varieties can be just as effective.

The sumptuous pink tone and distinct structure of echinacea is the perfect match for the feathery and ethereal stipa. Together, they provide an enchanting vista of contrasting textures and color, offset by the backdrop of leaves and elegant branches from a small tree.

Our advice on how to grow ornamental grasses is a great place to start if you want to recreate the look in your own backyard, as is our guide to the best trees for small gardens.

3. Add interest to paving

white flowerbed in paving in the Darkness to Light Garden designed by Lynn Heslop at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2019

The Darkness to Light Garden designed by Lynn Heslop at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2019

(Image credit: Tim Sandall/RHS)

Bringing small pockets of flowers and foliage to your paving ideas or around your decking is a simple way to give them a boost and soften all those hard lines. 

For a harmonious look, opt for colors that will match the materials. Here, white lupins and the silvery foliage of Senecio 'Angel Wings' complement the surrounding pale tones, whilst alchemilla mollis adds a refreshing splash of green. Plus, alchemilla looks beautiful when sparkling raindrops catch upon its leaves.

4. Go for moody tones

flowerbed in Macmillan Legacy Garden designed by Gary Bristow at RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2019

Moody colors add tons of drama to flowerbed ideas – this is the Macmillan Legacy Garden designed by Gary Bristow at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2019

(Image credit: Neil Hepworth/RHS)

Have you picked a garden color scheme for your plot? Flowerbed ideas are a great way to channel your choices and amplify the theme. 

Whether you choose serene white tones, show-stopping brights, or sultry shades, opting for a consistent palette will give your space a pulled-together look. But, if it's drama and mood that you're after, you can't go far wrong with deep purple flowers and plum-hued foliage. There are lots to choose from – think alliums for structure; chocolate lace flower and brook flower for a more meadow-like feel; heuchera for its prettily-scalloped foliage; the feathery and aniseed-scented bronzed fennel; or the 'Bowl's Mauve' wallflower for a cottage garden classic. 

Up the opulent yet mysterious vibe further by picking a dark stone raised bed or lead-effect planters to position your displays in.

5. Bring in supports for climbing plants

sweet peas growing up supports in cottage garden flowerbed

For masses of sweetly-scented blooms in your flowerbed ideas, opt for clambering sweet peas

(Image credit: Britt Willoughby Dyer/Future)

Flowerbed ideas are most striking when there's vertical interest involved, but you don't have to rely on the plants alone to reach such heights. Supports will provide all the structure that climbers need to scramble upwards effortlessly, and can make a pretty feature in their own right, too.

There are tons of obelisks, trellises, arbors, and other designs available to buy, or if you fancy a spot of DIY, you can make your own support from bean poles. Whichever you choose, they will instantly elevate a flowerbed when combined with the likes of clematis, climbing roses, jasmine, honeysuckle, or, as seen here, mounds of heavenly-scented sweet peas.

Feeling inspired? Our guide on how to grow sweet peas has lots of advice to help you add them to your own plot.

6. Place flowerbed ideas alongside a stream for a natural vibe

flowerbed in The Viking Cruises Lagom Garden designed by Will Williams at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2019

This is the Viking Cruises Lagom Garden, designed by Will Williams at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2019

(Image credit: Neil Hepworth/RHS)

If you've checked out our wildlife garden ideas, you'll know that plenty of nectar-rich blooms are ideal for attracting pollinators to your plot. So to welcome the visiting butterflies and bees, provide a feast of color with large swathes of cottage-garden style planting. 

Digitalis, delphiniums, penstemons, salvias, and agapanthus are all beautiful choices and will provide architectural structure as well as vibrant tones. Nepeta 'Walkers Low' makes a good edging plant around the borders with its pretty violet-colored flowers and aromatic scent.

Go for angular-shaped beds surrounded by sleek paving to keep the look feeling considered rather than chaotic. A water feature nearby makes a lovely and naturalistic addition and will only encourage wildlife further.

7. Break up your patio with bulbs

flowerbed ideas: daffodils in bed on patio

Combine daffodils, tulips and lavender in a square-shaped bed

(Image credit: iBulb)

Add a burst of greenery to your patio ideas by introducing a flowerbed focal point. This square-shaped patch adds a fresh, lemon-sorbet-like zing to the space, with its daffodils and tulips in pastel yellows and whites. 

When they die down, the lavender will come into its glory, sporting spikes of fragranced purple blooms we all know and love. It provides the perfect view for the nearby seating spot and is a fabulous way to elevate an urban plot or courtyard.

8. Go for organic forms

flowerbed ideas: natural planting around water feature

Add a touch of wild to your plot

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

If neat and orderly flowerbeds aren't your style then this idea might be the one for you. 

Firstly, opt for organic shapes to add a wilder edge to a plot or paved space. When it comes to planting, layer up textures in a stripped-back palette for a considered yet natural feel. We adore the use of hydrangeas, ferns, hardy geraniums and wispy grasses as seen here, in their cool green tones.

Complement the look with a rustic water feature, birdbath, or giant stone urn to add to the old-world feel.

9. Use jewel-like hues around water

flowerbed ideas: pink and purple flowers near a water feature

Go for deep-toned blooms in your flowerbed ideas for a sumptuous look

(Image credit: iBulb)

This flowerbed offers a sumptuous summer display, combining the likes of echinacea, phlox, nepeta, astrantia and hardy geraniums. The rich hues of pink and purples are offset wonderfully by the prettily-pastel gladiolus. And, the scene will attract butterflies and bees too, adding an extra dose of life and vibrancy to your plot.

A shimmering water feature adds to the opulent vibe of the display, reflecting the jewel-like colors in the sunlight.

10. Turn up the heat with flame-toned flowers

flowerbed ideas: red dahlias in front of red parasol

Blazing dahlias will always turn heads

(Image credit: iBulb)

Hot reds, yellows and oranges will instantly pep up flowerbed ideas with their warming tones. Dahlias 'Akita' and 'Sunny Reggae' are nothing short of spectacular. 

You could add to the theme with sunflowers – 'Velvet Queen' is as luxurious as it sounds, offering deep-red petals and chocolate-brown centres. Rudbeckia 'Enchanted Embers' are also a fantastic choice, with semi-double blooms in fiery hues.

Why not continue the look with a flame-hued parasol, outdoor cushions, or seating option? Our colorful garden furniture ideas are full of vibrant choices.

11. Divide your plot with cottage-style plants

flowerbed ideas: border alongside lawn

Draw the eye with cottage-style flowerbeds

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

Cottage garden ideas will always be in style and it's simple to recreate the look in your flowerbeds. 

Opt for quintessential classics such as digitalis, agapanthus and salvias, and why not throw in some alliums too for good measure? They add a structural element even after the blooms have faded.

Use to soften the divide between levels as seen here, and edge with dark stone for a contemporary contrast. We also love the addition of a hanging lantern, which will help to illuminate the scene once night falls.

12. Add interest to a lawn with round flowerbeds

flowerbed ideas: round bed on lawn with purple flowers

Go for circular shapes for your flowerbed ideas

(Image credit: Polly Eltes/Future)

A round flowerbed is a lovely way to liven up your lawn ideas

Complement the shape with neatly-clipped topiary balls. Then, accent with brightly-colored blooms, such as these glorious tulips, for a fun look. 

Low-maintenance shrubs such as lavender are a reliable addition, and why not add in an obelisk too? A woven one such as this adds a touch of country-style charm.

13. Use to border a decking area

flowerbed ideas: daffodils bordering a decking area

Brighten up an industrial-themed plot

(Image credit: iBulb)

Corrugated fencing and an angular, rusted-steel table give this decking space an eccentrically industrial feel. You might even find it a little too urban, if it wasn't for the pops of color to brighten the look. 

Of course, you can't miss the yellow chair and the pretty potted bulbs. But, the real feature point is a flowerbed border, positioned all the way around the decking. Jolly daffodils and tulips will always add a hearty dose of spring cheer, but could be swapped out for summer annuals when the season turns – think cosmos, cornflowers, or poppies. 

What's more, the stark contrast between the soft, colorful petals and corrugated metal backdrop behind adds a refreshing twist that feels totally modern.

14. Opt for curved flowerbed ideas

flowerbed ideas: curved flowerbed

Integrate curved walls into your flowerbed ideas 

(Image credit: Howard Walker/Future)

A pared-back, S-shaped wall such as this adds a soothing sense of movement to a space, whilst providing opportunity for creativity across levels. 

Planted up with wild flowers such as poppies and Ammi majus the organic vibe is enhanced. Come summer, this display will burst into life, and will be a real show-stopper.

The addition of an old stone urn only adds to the charm and provides a focal point all year-round.

15. Use the vertical space in narrow plots

flowerbed ideas: raised bed with colourful flowers

Line a narrow space with colorful raised beds

(Image credit: Lizzie Orme/Future)

Short on space? You don't need to sacrifice having a fabulous flowerbed or two. The solution is simply to think vertically. We don't mean living walls (although they are equally good for small gardens). Instead, we're talking about raising up your flowerbeds to line a perimeter. 

These beds don't have to be generously wide. Even narrow beds can be filled with high-reaching flowers for an impressive, almost cocooning-like effect around a courtyard plot. Use the likes of Verbena bonariensis, white gaura, and heleniums for a joyous display of summer color. You could even add in a small olive tree or acer, for extra height and interest.

Paint the sides of the beds white to help reflect the light and add to the feeling of space. Paint the fence behind black to recede it out of focus.

16. Pair pastels with rosemary for a soothing style

flowerbed ideas: rosemary and dahlias dividing space

Pair soft tones with scented foliage

(Image credit: iBulb)

After a romantic touch to your garden? Why not divide a patio from a lawn with a pleasing pocket of billowing florals, as seen here.

Liatris spicata offers bottle-brush-like blooms and comes in white as well as purple, whilst pastel-hued dahlias are always a favorite with their intricate flowers. 

Add a deeply-fragranced foliage such as rosemary to entice the senses further. Its evergreen nature will hold your interest over winter. And, the dainty blue flowers that appear in spring are a true delight to behold.

17. Divide your space with structural flowerbeds

flowerbed ideas: corten steel container with tulips

Make a statement with weathering-steel

(Image credit: iBulb)

Weathering steel is a seriously on-trend material, and it's easy to see why. It adds a wonderfully rustic edge and a warming tone to a space, it is incredibly durable, and is pretty much maintenance-free.

So, if you love the look as much as we do, why not integrate it into your flowerbeds? Here, tall planters house rows of glossy pink tulips – defining the seating area beyond in a stunning and structural way. 

It's a great choice for modern or smaller plots – there's no hassle with digging up the ground to make beds for your blooms. Check out our container gardening ideas for more lovely designs.

18. Brighten a shady spot

flowerbed ideas: shade garden in front of white wall

Transform a shaded space with pretty flowerbed ideas

(Image credit: David Giles/Future)

As seen here, hostas, hydrangeas, and digitalis make a gorgeously elegant mix, especially when chosen in a white-toned theme. A white fence behind lifts the shady spot further, as does the sleek stone edging.

Looking for more inspiration? Our shade garden ideas has tons of tips for transforming the gloomier spots in your plot.

How do I make my flowerbeds look good?

flowerbed ideas: pink flowers against black fence

Glossy bulbs make a striking contrast against a black fence

(Image credit: iBulb)

It's relatively simple to make your flowerbed ideas look good, you just need to take a few factors into consideration: 

  1. Use a complementary color palette for a well-balanced look.
  2. Make sure your flowerbed ideas have something for all seasons, to maintain visual interest all year.
  3. Keep on top of weeding and deadheading.
  4. Top-dress beds and borders with mulch – bark chippings add a pleasing look.
  5. Consider using edging to define the space and make maintenance easier. There are tons of lovely designs available – head over to our modern edging ideas for inspiration.

How do I make my flowerbeds less maintenance?

flowerbed ideas: border in front of blue fence

Use a colorful fence as an eye-catching backdrop for your flowerbed ideas

(Image credit: David Giles/Future)
  1. Prep your soil before you plant your flowerbed ideas. This means removing any perennial weeds to start. And, if it hasn't been planted-up before, dig in one or two bucketfuls per square meter of well-rotted farmyard manure or garden compost, as suggests the RHS.
  2. Choose your plants carefully by taking the conditions of your garden into account. Don't, for instance, try to coerce a sun-loving plant into your shady border. You'll just end up having to give it extra attention – which will most likely be in vain – before needing to replace it entirely. Not very low maintenance at all!
  3. Go for easy-care perennials – ones you can more-or-less leave, before giving them a quick chop in autumn. You could also opt for hardy annuals – grown from seed they are extremely affordable and often don't need much looking after.
  4. Avoid opting for hundreds of different varieties. If you pick a select few, and really get to know them properly, you can deal with them all at the same time. Plus, you'll spend less time having to look up how to maintain them.
  5. Don't forget to mulch. It adds extra nutrients to the soil and will also help to prevent weeds from taking over. Our ultimate guide to mulching has lots of useful tips.

Looking for more low maintenance garden ideas? Head over to our feature for more tips.

How do you lay out a flower bed?

how to grow a butterfly garden: wild planting with colorful blooms

A well-arranged flowerbed will make the most impact

(Image credit: Mark Bolton Photography/Future)

When it comes to laying out your flowerbed ideas, Chris Bonnett at GardeningExpress.co.uk has some expert advice:

  1. It's wise to keep your taller plants along the property line. A great tip is to keep these plants as tall as your bed is deep.
  2. Planting flowers of the same type in groups within the bed creates a better flow across your garden than just to plant singularly. Make sure no plant is left lonely!
  3. Start your beds with evergreens and perennials – the stalwarts. Then draw people into your statement beds with vibrant color.
  4. Remember, you can never have too much color in your garden, but if your color scheme is all over the place it can be a real eyesore, adds Chris. Consider a complementary palette and stick with it.

Should flower beds be higher than the lawn?

spring lawn care tips: tulip border

Keep your flowerbeds slightly lower than your lawn for easier maintenance

(Image credit: jameslee999/Getty Images)

'Generally, if your flowerbeds meet the grass then it's best to keep your beds lower than your lawn,' says Chris Bonnett at GardeningExpress.co.uk.

'This will make mowing the grass less of a nightmare and will stop your beds from interfering with your lawn's growth,' he adds. 

Don't forget about garden edging ideas too, which will help to keep the two areas neatly distinct.

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day!