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5 Rules for Beautiful Garden Beds

Beautiful Garden Beds

Warm Colors1 - COLOR

Brighter and lighter colors tend to 'pop' or draw attention from surrounding plants. ‘Warm’ colors such as yellow, orange and red tend to appear closer or bigger. Placing these colors in a distant viewing spot is a good way to highlight a space in your landscape. ‘Cool’ colors such as blue, green, and purple tend to appear further away, and are great to use in smaller spaces to create the illusion of depth. Gertens has downloadable landscape plans available that can inspire you with color and all 5 rules for your entryway, backyard, corner garden and more.


Finer textured plants like Spirea, Barberry or Boxwood usually have smaller leaves and/or stems and look softer. They make great highlight plants in the foreground of a landscape. Coarser textured plants like Rhododendron, Hydrangea, and Ninebark have larger leaves or flowers and are great as background plants. Coarser textured plants when placed among fine textured plants or vice versa can create a good focal point or highlight.


Many aspects of design can be changed by changing the quantity of plants. Planting in masses and groups of odd numbers looks more natural and creates a flow for the eye to follow. To create a focal plant a single specimen of a plant in an area and the eye will stop.

4 - FORM and LINES

Plants have different natural growing forms. Some have an overall mounded form like Crimson Pygmy Barberry. Some are very vertically upright like De Groot’s Spire Arborvitae. Others are 'Y' shaped and weeping such as Renaissance Spirea, and some are horizontal like Calgary Carpet Juniper. Using plants with different forms can help create depth and interest in your landscape. You can also use softer formed plants to break apart the hard, rigid, straight edges of hardscapes and buildings.

Garden Repetition5 - REPETITION

To keep some uniformity and balance in your landscape it is good to repeat plantings in multiple areas. Plants with similar forms, colors, and textures can also be repeated for the same affect. To keep a landscape from becoming too busy, avoid planting too many (more than 8) different plants (colors, textures, forms) in any one viewing spot.