Planning and Implementing a Vibrant Flower Bed
By Sadiya Anjum
Nothing says beauty like a splash of color in your garden with a variety of flowers. Flower beds are popular simply because of their ornamental appeal and can transform a boring yard to a delightful one. Planning a flower bed and carrying out simple tasks before planting can save your plants from dying later or killing the overall look of the flower bed.
Flower beds can be in different shapes and in different areas of the yard. They can act as borders with a fence/ house/ patio etc. as a backdrop. Flower beds can be island beds placed anywhere in the centre of the yard. Circular island beds look amazing but they have to be planned carefully in terms of their size with respect to the rest of the yard. Raised flower beds made of stone or brick are also an option to elevate a section of the yard. In case you have a slope in your yard, you can consider terraced flower beds.
Decide the kind of flower bed you would like and mark out the areas in your yard. Do not locate your flower beds in areas where water tends to stagnate after the rains as most flowering plants prefer well drained soil. Another place to avoid is an area too close to a tree as it will tend to deplete the nutrients in the soil depriving other plants of the same.
For each area you choose, you need to consider the soil and weather conditions. Draw up a rough sketch and indicate which areas are exposed to too much sun and which are shaded areas. This will help you decide the placement of plants with respect to their preference of light conditions.
Another very important factor to consider is the soil. Note the kind of soil and conduct a simple test to check its pH value, organic matter and nutrients content. Depending on the results, you can take appropriate steps to rectify any problems. If you do not have sufficient soil in your yard, then consider raised flower beds. Soil also needs to be prepared before you begin planting on your flower bed. To improve the texture of the soil use sand, manure, peat moss, compost etc. and turn the top soil regularly for two weeks to get rid of weeds before you even begin planting.
After tending to weather and soil conditions, it is time to pick out the flowers. The options are endless and you can either create a theme-like flower bed or just use different flowers. You may consider different flowers whose colors contrast or blend with each other, or flowers of the same basic color but in different hues, or just scented flowers etc. Using a combination of both annuals and perennials will ensure that your bed does not look bland in any season.
Before you plant, make sure you allocate places for each plant leaving enough breathing space for each. Several factors need to be kept in mind while arranging plants in a flower bed. The width of a flower bed should be directly proportional to the length of it, i.e. increasing length means you have to increase the width. Plants that go right at the back should be much taller than the ones that grow in front, since a huge plant in the front is going to block the view of smaller ones at the back. For circular beds, it is nice to have plants of same length but if it is not possible, the taller ones should go in the centre.
It is extremely essential that you leave enough space between each plant so they do not overlap each other above the soil and beneath it too. Picture your flower bed in full bloom and then think of the space each plant will require; allocate that much space accordingly. Also make sure you will be able to easily reach all plants especially the ones at the back. Preferably leave space for you to maneuver yourself between plants by creating small paths made of gravel, stepping stones etc.
These are the absolute essentials you need to consider when creating a flower bed for your yard. Planning well and implementing it smartly will add the picturesque beauty to your yard and home.
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