5 Tips for Planting a Fragrant Garden

Sweet smelling plants like honeysuckle stop passersby in their tracks to take in their scent.
Sweet smelling plants like honeysuckle stop passersby in their tracks to take in their scent.

A beautiful garden is undoubtedly a feast for the eyes, but it can also be a feast for the olfactory sense. Just as you layer the size, shape, and color of the flowers in your garden to create a stunning visual, you can also mix the flowers in your garden to create a striking aroma that will have you stopping to smell the roses -- and the lilacs, and all the other plants in your garden. But before you start digging to create a fragrant garden, take these five important factors into account.

Scent is a Personal Preference

Like taste, scent is a very personal sense. Choose scents for your garden that appeal the most to you while also bearing in mind that someone else may not enjoy it when visiting. The University of Rhode Island Master Gardeners offer a reference list of popular fragrant plants, and visiting a local garden center to take a whiff of a variety of plants to determine variations and strength in the scents before making your final selections is a good idea.

Choose Complimentary Scents

Much like a colorful garden, a fragrant garden shouldn’t be over-and-done-with in just a short period of time. Select plants that will reach their peak at varying times throughout the season so that there is always an appealing aroma. Lilacs in early spring will lead nicely into honeysuckle later in the season and so on.

Disperse the Scents throughout the Entire Yard

A fragrant garden shouldn’t be contained to one section of the yard. Layer the fragrances so that you’ll be able to take in some scents as you come through the gate, others while you’re in the herb garden, and others still in the various parts of your yard space.

Enclose the Fragrant Plants

One of the greatest challenges in planting a fragrant garden is keeping the fragrances from escaping your outdoor space. To ensure that the wind doesn’t blow the sweet smells you savor out of your yard, plant your fragrant plants in a protected area and enclose them with fences, hedges or arbors.

More Great Links


  • “Perfumed Blossoms and Fragrant Foliage.” Monrovia. http://www.monrovia.com/design-inspiration/specialty-gardening/fragrant-garden.php
  • “Fragrance Gardens” URI Master Gardeners. http://www.urimastergardeners.org/kbase/Fragrance%20Gardens