Annuals Garden Design

Annuals Design Tips

Beef up a line of weaker annuals by planting a second row behind the first.
Beef up a line of weaker annuals by planting a second row behind the first.

Use pale sand to outline the plant groupings before planting when laying out annual beds. This is like making a pencil sketch of a painting before stroking on the oil paints. Whether you're planning to put blue ageratums in edging rows, make a teardrop of red zinnias, or create a sweeping mass of pink impatiens, you can adjust and fine-tune the overall shapes before filling them in with colorful flowers. After making the sand outlines, stand back and look at the results objectively. If you don't like the first attempt, cover the sand with soil and try again.

Use a spacing aid to plant annual displays and cutting gardens in even rows. Even the most beautifully grown annuals can be distracting if they are spaced erratically. Fortunately, spacing is one element you can easily control. Here are some options:

  • Make a planting grid by stapling a large piece of wire mesh over a wooden frame. If the mesh openings are two inches square and you want to plant ageratums six inches apart, you can put one seedling in every third hole.
  • Make a spacing rope. Tie knots in the rope to mark specific measurements, for instance, noting every four or six inches. You can stretch the rope between two stakes to make even measurements along a straight line.
  • Take a yardstick with you when you go to plant. Measure the distance between each plant in a row and between rows rather than simply eyeballing it.

Want more information about gardening with annuals? Try these: