Landscaping with flower beds is an opportunity to add color, texture and warmth to your outdoor space. Flower beds can include perennials, annuals, bulbs and even visually attractive herbs, fruits and vegetables. Evaluate your existing landscape including trees, shrubs and structures, and your light and moisture conditions. Then create flower beds that are easy to access, maintain and admire.
Determine from what angles you will see the flower bed. Something known as an island bed in a lawn means that it has no front or back; design it so that you can appreciate it from many different angles. This generally means planting the tallest flowers in the middle and building outwards, adding shorter plants until you reach the edge, where you can plant low-growing blooms and groundcovers. A long, amorphous island can contain several central points, undulating in height and width. If you will see the flower bed from an upstairs window, consider how it will look as a flat graphic element, from above. A long, narrow flower bed along the edge of a fence or against a home's foundation is considered a "border" design; plant taller flowers in the back and shorter ones in front, like you are composing a group photo.
Choose a style. Formal flower beds rely on symmetry and order to create a visually balanced space; informal flower beds create balance asymmetrically, allowing plants to grow naturally without excessive pruning, creating organic lines and shapes. Both types of beds can look fantastic and calm. Consider your own taste, the time you want to devote to maintenance as well as the style of your home when choosing how formal your flower beds will be.
Combine colors, textures and forms that feel right to you. Don't limit your thinking to bloom-color only; leaves and stalks comprise the bulk of some plants, especially those with short blooming seasons. With forethought, you can plan flower beds that will bloom from spring through autumn. And don't be afraid to dig things up and transplant them when they don't work -- a flower bed is a living work of art that should grow and change over time.