10 Gorgeous Flower Garden Ideas

Garden at high summer containing a variety colourful flowers including phloxes
Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

A good flower garden design encourages beginners to get their hands dirty, and it never gets boring for those who are seasoned gardeners. Explore 10 beautiful flower gardens that will get you out of bed early on the weekends just for the chance to see what new blooms opened with the sunrise. 

  • 01 of 10

    Large Garden

    Large Flower Garden
    Robyn Cox/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    What's happening in the large flower garden? Oftentimes, the unfortunate answer is, "too much." It's easy to let a large flower garden get out of hand, but some aggressive editing can bring order to the chaos. Save the healthiest trees and handsomest shrubs, as these will be the backbone of the garden. Choose two contrasting colors, or one color family (like purple and pink). Add perennial flowering plants in groups of three to five; the repetition is pleasing to the eye. Finally, focus on regular weeding, because today's weed is tomorrow's weed patch. 

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  • 02 of 10

    Edible Flower Garden

    Potager Garden
    hardworkinghippy/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Hiding the vegetable garden in the back forty is so yesterday. Potager gardens celebrate the fact that gardens can be beautiful and delicious, while playing up the symbiotic relationship between vegetables and flowers. Veggies get a huge boost in productivity when pollinators that are drawn to nectar-rich plantings get busy swapping pollen on tomato, squash, and cucumber blossoms too. What's more, the beneficial insects that rely on floral nectaries (think parasitic wasps and ladybugs for starters) help keep vegetable pests under control, allowing a reduction in pesticide use

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  • 03 of 10

    Flowering Textures

    Globe Thistle and Tiger Lily
    Leonora Enking/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Fuzzy, glossy, silky, waxy, puckered, and prickly blooms and leaves contribute a subtle interest to the garden that contributes to the overall design. Here, the spiky blue flowers of globe thistle contrast with the waxy petals of the tiger lily, creating a lovely but low maintenance partnership in the sunny flower garden. You can discover other fun flowering textures with the fuzzy lamb's ear, the ruffled fringed tulip, the frizzy liatris, or the velvety cockscomb

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  • 04 of 10

    Flowering Vines for the Trellis

    Rose Garden Trellis
    Malcolm Manners/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Have your roses the way you've always wanted them: up close, where you can enjoy their silky petals and perfume as you pass under the arbor. Every garden should host a flowering vine, as the small footprint of a vine takes up no more space than a small container plant. You can grow a trellis-filling vine in one season from seed with a morning glory or moon vine, or you can invest in a perennial vine that will return for many years when you plant a clematis, honeysuckle, or climbing hydrangea. 

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  • 05 of 10

    Flowers for Bogs and Rain Gardens

    Bog Primrose
    Col Ford and Natasha de Vere/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Like a little ray of sunshine, a rain garden or bog garden brightens up a soggy spot. When planning a bog garden, consider plants that love both full sun and wet soil, like the stunning candelabra primrose pictured here. Flowering plants that thrive in bog gardens also include cardinal flower, yellow iris, and leopard plants. A fun and funky addition to the wet garden is the carnivorous pitcher plant. These look like something out of a jungle, but are hardy down to zone 5.

    Your bog garden must never dry out. A natural bog garden will be replenished by rainfall, but if a dry spell hits, you will have to help out with the hose. Some standing water indicates a healthy bog garden. The presence of frogs, salamanders, or even turtles also tells you a bog environment is present. If you wish to cultivate bog plants but don't have a natural depression that collects water, create one by sinking a plastic kiddie pool into the ground. A pond liner can also serve as a bog garden beginning. Disguise the edges with rocks, and fill the bottom with peat moss and sand. 

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  • 06 of 10

    Flower Garden Paths

    Flower Garden Path
    Karen Roe/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    What lies at the end of the flower garden path? Even if it's nothing but a dead end, the mystery that paths provide give the garden a sense of place, and also define borders against which to plant flowers of varying heights. How wide should you make your path? A comfortable path can accommodate a wheelbarrow or garden cart with room to turn around. 

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  • 07 of 10

    Butterfly Flower Garden

    Monarda and Verbena Flowers
    Selena N.B.H./Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Have you ever noticed that some of the most beautiful flowers fall flat when it comes to attracting butterflies? The anatomy of the butterfly proboscis is designed to extract nectar from particular flower shapes, which means that some blooms sound the dinner bell, while others miss the mark. Although butterflies do appreciate bright colors, it's also important to include flowers that have rich nectar stores that are easily accessible in shallow flowers. This garden full of bee balm and verbena bonariensis is busy with butterflies and other pollinators throughout summer. Add some milkweed to nourish Monarch butterflies, which have declined by 90 percent since the early 1990's. 

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  • 08 of 10

    The Wildflower Garden

    Wildflower Garden
    Karen Roe/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    If the thought of all that fertilizing and deadheading takes the wind out of your gardening sails, consider the merits of the wildflower garden. Native flowers developed with Mother Nature to thrive in your region, meaning they are ready to grow in your soil type and with your typical rainfall. 

    Don't discount wildflowers as less showy than hybrid flowers; the exuberant hues of standout varieties like blanket flowers, tiger lilies, and coneflowers will make the butterflies and bees wonder why they went anywhere else. For exceptional height, grow the perennial sunflower Helianthus, which can grow up to eight feet tall by the time autumn arrives. 

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  • 09 of 10

    Formal Flower Garden

    Formal Flower Garden
    Karen Roe/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    The clean lines and tidy layout of a formal garden provide a respite from the stresses of modernity, but the addition of flowers is a welcome counterpoint to a sea of grass and carefully trimmed boxwood shrubs. Stick to one or two flower varieties in the formal garden; those with neat growing habits will complement your scheme the best. Lavender, rose topiaries, tulips, hydrangeas, and salvia are a few flowers that have been used to great effect in the formal garden. You can mass these flowers around a central fountain, use them to edge paths, or fill in geometric hedge plantings with blooms. 

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  • 10 of 10

    Flowering Cottage Garden

    Cottage Garden
    Tony Hisgett/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    The free-form nature of cottage gardening is an invitation to try many classic flowers in the landscape. Cottage garden design values fragrant or heirloom varieties, like old English roses, lavender, Shasta daisies, foxgloves, and hollyhocks. To make sure there's a method to your madness, repeat plant varieties throughout the border or bed and stick to a simple color palette.