Flower Garden Style: Get the Garden Design Style You Want From Formal to Informal

Which flower garden style do you prefer? Some flower gardeners prefer an overabundant look while others prefer a flower garden that appears restrained, tidy and orderly.


You can control plant selection and the spacing of your flowers to achieve either effect depending on your preference. For example, an informal cottage garden is usually crowded with a kaleidoscopic mix of flowering plants, while a more formal flower garden or a carpet bedding scheme would be more ordered and typically uses only a limited palette of plants.

To some extent, your interior decorating style may give you a hint about your preferred garden style. The architecture and exterior of your house will also give you a clue as to how best to design your flower garden. Ideally, the two should complement each other.

Flower Gardens: Planning and Practice

No matter which garden design style you prefer, success requires careful planning and thoughtful plant selection combined with experience as to how certain flowers perform in your own flower garden. Some plants will simply grow better than others in your particular garden. Some will consistently grow to the top of their size range while others will consistently fail to fulfill their potential.

Trial and error and learning from experience are the best ways to learn about flower gardening. If you are just beginning, visit flower gardens in your local area and talk to the gardeners who tend them. You will learn so much just by observing, and you will also discover that there are as many opinions about gardens and gardening as there are gardeners.

Fixing Mistakes is Easy

Annual flowers last only one season so you can correct any mistakes easily the next year. Sometimes it is instructive to do a trial run using annuals, then replace them with similar perennials the following year.

With perennial flower gardens, selection and spacing problems can usually be corrected by gentle transplanting or division of plants as they outgrow their locations over time, or when you observe they need to be closer together, or when you realize they would grow more happily in another location altogether.

If a particular combination truly bothers you, you can shovel prune – that means dig it up!

Failure or Serendipity

If you work up a design and draw out a garden plan and plant it and nurture it faithfully but the results are not quite what you expected, the true gardener looks and learns from the results.

When things go wrong, it’s perfectly okay to assert, if asked, “How exasperating! Someone must have switched the plant tags! It’s not at all what I expected.” And when things turn out even better than you hoped, well of course “It’s just as I envisioned it!”

Then and again, have you ever seen an ugly flower garden? Of course not. Above all, have fun with your flower garden!