17 flower bed ideas – beautiful, budget-friendly looks for front and back yards

Flower bed ideas: Beautiful, budget-friendly ways – even for beginners – to add color and fragrance to your front yard or back garden.

Flower bed ideas to frame a dining area
(Image credit: Future + Ti Archive)

Everyone knows that your backyard should take you on a bit of a journey, and these flower bed ideas will help inspire the feeling and the atmosphere that you want to create in your outdoor space. There are endless looks for both the beginner and experienced gardener to try out, so we've rounded up our favorite ways to plant out your garden borders with flowers to enhance and elevate whatever type of your outdoor space you have.

Color is so important (we are of course mainly talking about flowers here), as is texture and fragrance so bear in mind how you want yourself and visitors to feel when they explore your space. What's brilliant about flower beds is that they do not have to be expensive, you just need to get creative, find the right spot, get your hands a little dirty prepping the soil and planting, then if you're growing from seed, patience is the next step...

How do you start a flower bed for beginners?

We spoke with Kate Turner, Gardening Guru at Miracle-Gro about the best approach when creating floral garden beds if you're making yours for the first time (or with the kids!). She says 'A fantastic introduction for beginners is to have a go at growing flowers from seed. Not only are they a cheap way to start but there’s an endless variety of color and types to choose from. They are also low maintenance.' This of course will take a little longer for a filled out display, but many flower varieties are fast-growing and the end result will be worth the wait.

1. Keep it wild and free flowing

Colorful poppies in modern flower bed

(Image credit: Future + Ti Archive)

If your garden has a fair amount of hard landscaping, or if you're all about a natural garden vibe then choosing wild flowers is the perfect way to soften the look. Try a wild flower seed mix to add poppies, pops of blue cornflower and more bright species to your flower beds.

2. Line ground flower beds with more flowers

Metal planters enhance flower bed

(Image credit: Cox and Cox)

Let your ground flower beds enhance the other plants you have on display by lining containers and pots alongside your display, in the adjacent space. For even more coherence, stick with your flower hue. 

  • Not sure how to start a flower bed let alone design a garden? We can help there too!

3. Combine flowers with succulents 

Succulents combines with florals for bedding

(Image credit: Jacalyn Beales on Unsplash)

Succulents don't just do well on your window sill and they can in fact thrive outdoors. Varieties like Echeveria elegans don't need too much soil space, making them perfect to squeeze in amongst flowers in tight displays, whether you keep them in a separate pot or not. All sempervivums do well outdoors also and need we mention how incredible they look coupled up with roses and the like? Try this look around the side of your backyard or in another small spot.

4. Define your dining area

Flower bed ideas frame outdoor dining area

(Image credit: Future + Ti Archive)

Flower beds in sight will make all outdoor living spaces that little bit more exciting. We love how the flower beds here frame the backyard dining area, setting a natural backdrop and adding heaps of atmosphere also. 

5. Keep yours col and contained

Simple flower bedding in rattan

Sweet and simple rattan planter from Cox & Cox.

(Image credit: Cox and Cox)

If you don't have much soil going on in your backyard, if you only have a balcony or other tiny outside space but still want to get your flower bed look on, you can make it happen with clever container gardening. Choose a pot made from natural materials like rattan or wood for a soft finish that will complement whatever variety of florals you'd like to plant. And, play with levels for interest and elegance. 

6. Make your flower beds edible

Pretty orange nasturtium flowers in the sunlight.

(Image credit: Getty Images | Jennifer A Smith)

Beautiful and delicious? We're game! And if you've got kids that like eating the heads off of flowers (you know the type) then choosing edible flower varieties for your beds will help put your mind at ease – at least half the time. Nasturtiums are beautiful to serve on salads or to decorate a summery bake, repeat the same colored variety for an eclectic pop to your outdoor space.  

Turner also recommends Calendula, 'A wonderful and easy annual flower that brings a bright bold splash of orange happiness to your garden. Although annuals these flowers produce seed which will spread around your garden every year. You can eat the petals in salads and they are also great for pollinators too!'

7. Pick a duo color scheme

Duo of tulips in colorful flower bed

(Image credit: TangChi Lee on Unsplash)

Tulips make great flower bed plants and you can find them in so many colors that you'll be able to create the decor scheme you have in mind with ease. We like just two colors for impact. If you want to jazz it up furthermore, team them with annuals and even perennials for a super low maintenance garden look.

8. Or choose one color to complement the rest 

Pink flower bed ideas complement color scheme

(Image credit: Future + Centaur Archives)

If you're into pink and if that's the color that's popping in your backyard – from your trees to your outdoor cushions – then bring the look together by planting out your garden beds in the same or a very similar hue.

9. Get creative with pots

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp Photography)

This flower bed is beautiful enough, but the trad outdoor sculpture brings it to the next level, adding even more character to the space. You could recreate the same finish by repurposing even an old wheelbarrow or watering can – get creative!

10. Create sensory spots 

Victorian outhouses in the garden of a grade II listed thatched cottage

(Image credit: Future)

We love growing lavender in flower beds to bring a sense of calm alongside herbs like rosemary for their cool texture, look and taste.

11. Combine minimal florals with evergreens in a garden bed

Fuchsia filled flower bed idea

(Image credit: Wayfair)

If you love a little DIY and have built raised flower beds yourself, and if your prefer a fresh, modern finish to your outdoor space, combining delicate flowers like fuchsia with evergreens and shrubs will keep the finish pared back but lovely all the same.

12. Choose a multi-colored display

Garden edging ideas with planting along a gravel path

(Image credit: ibulb x Ineke van Kesteren)

Try for a mix of brights for a multi-colored and fragranced display, all while keeping one color running through each flower bed if your'e fortunate enough to have a few different ones in your backyard!

Turner raves about Sweet Peas especially, 'If you want an addition to your garden that is not only going to look beautiful but smell beautiful too then sow some sweet peas. These are hardy little plants that can be sown in winter and you can even grow them in toilet roll tubes! Once they flower keep picking them and they will keep on flowering.'

13. Go big with begonias

Begonia Plants make for colorful flower bed

(Image credit: Suttons Seeds)

Begonias will flower all throughout the summer months making for an incredible garden bed look, especially if you want an energetic feel to your outdoor space. Combine a few different colored varieties along with smaller impact plants for a multi-level edge. 

14. Make an entrance in your front yard with gladioli

Multicolored gladioli flower bed ideas

(Image credit: Suttons seeds)

Perennial gladioli will flower throughout the summer also and they are easier than they look to grow. Plant out corms/tubers between March and May and see your flower beds blossom. Choose tall varieties for more impact but note you may need to add a little support with a bamboo stick. We love gladioli for front of house flower beds as they make the most welcoming and colorful display we are sure you'll agree.

15. Stay chic and neutral

White garden border

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

If your backyard has a modern and less is more vibe going on, you can plant out flower beds with neutral toned and even white floral varieties to create the right look. Pick different shapes and textures for subtle interest.

16. Add height with sunflowers

garden borders with sunflowers

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Ideal if you're keen on the smaller garden ideas also, sunflowers add sunny and spacious vibes to your spot. Turner says 'A sure winner for all the family is the sunflower which kids can proudly grow themselves. Go for Giganteus if you want to transform your garden into a playful haven, with looming and giant eye-catching yellow flowers. Great for bees but if you leave the seed heads on the plant then you’ve got your very own home grown bird feeder.'

Plus, if you've an unsightly garden shed around, it won't be so ugly anymore...

17. Let flower beds interrupt your garden path

A gravel path winding through a small garden

(Image credit: Clive Nichols)

One of the wilder flower bed ideas, letting your planting be a little more dramatic in ground flower beds so that all those brights spring into your garden path or walkway will make for a playful finish that kids and grown ups alike will love.

How will your garden flower beds grow? 🌷

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Camille Dubuis-Welch

Camille is Digital Editor at Realhomes.com and joined the team in January 2020. As an interior design aficionado, when she’s not developing evergreen content and furiously researching keywords, she is most definitely finding new ways to spruce up her rented space, usually involving a houseplant or two. She loves the challenge that comes with making a room look stylish and feel homely, and her ultimate goal is to renovate the house of dreams, somewhere marvellously sunny with a wild and lavish garden, of course.