Once you've addressed color and texture in your annuals garden design, you're ready for some more complex design techniques. Understanding form and scale can help you upgrade your garden from merely pretty to downright stunning.
Consider the overall growth habit of each annual plant. Flower forms include tall spikes, round globes, sprays, and clusters. Plant forms range from tall and skinny to low and ranging. Try interplanting tall, open annuals with a spreading carpet of contrasting form. A garden is more visually stimulating when a variety of forms is used.
When planning your annual garden, it's important to keep in mind scale (the size of the plant). Miniature plants are great to use in small spaces and where people are close enough to see them, but in a large area, they can become completely lost.
On the other hand, large-growing plants such as spider plants, cosmos, and nasturtiums may dominate and even smother out smaller neighbors when space is limited. In general, plant tall, spikelike annuals in the background of mixed beds, while reserving closer foreground seats for smaller, delicate beauties.
Plant staggered rows of annuals to create a fuller look. A single marching line of annuals such as French marigolds set side by side can look weak in a bigger garden. You can beef up their impact by planting a second row behind the first, with the rear plants centered on the openings between the front-row plants.
Staggered rows are also nice for showcasing taller annuals, such as blue salvia or snapdragons, set in the rear of a garden. A double row of spider plants can become so full and bushy it resembles a flowering hedge.
Annuals have many uses outside an annuals garden -- for example, you can use them as placeholders while waiting for perennial plants to grow and mature. Keep reading to learn about other uses for annuals.
Want more information about gardening with annuals? Try these: