Border garden – Typically conforms to the shape of the building, fence, property line, etc. along which it is located. A layering effect can be obtained especially in shady areas with different heights of plants. Taller plants are usually placed behind the shorter varieties. Ground hugging plants may be grown directly under larger ones.
Not all borders need to be straight. Curved borders can be very interesting, leading to areas to be explored.
Border plantings are enhanced by the occasional interruption of a shrub, large rock, driftwood, etc. The object lends a focal point or accent to the planting.
A border bed should be accessible for working in it, sometimes putting a path behind it or through it is helpful.
Container garden – When you are limited to outdoor living space or want to spice up a deck, patio, entrance, etc., container gardening can be very effective. There are many perennials that grow well in larger containers. When combined in a container, they can provide the same feeling as a garden in the ground. Select varieties that grow upright, cascading, medium heights, different foliage colors and different bloom times. Container gardening eliminates back breaking digging, but may require more watering depending on rainfall and location. Use containers to cover up less attractive areas around your home. Containers can also easily be wintered over to use for years to come. For a list of varieties, refer to the Helpful Lists- Container Plants.
Island garden – The shape of the bed may vary from circular, to oval, to rectangular, etc. Sometimes the earth is mounded in the island. The mound should be gradual and look natural, blending in with the landscape. Trees or shrubs or large specimen perennials may act as “anchors” for the planting. As a rule, taller growing perennials are planted in the center. This creates a view form all sides. Usually the plants would be sun tolerant. However, shade gardens may also be shaped as “islands”. A rule of thumb is that the bed be twice as wide as the height of the tallest plants. The island may come right to the lawn or be edged with rocks, wood, bricks, flag stones, mulch, chips, etc.
Mass planting – The art of using many plants of one kind to create a very showy area in the landscape. You can use many different perennials to achieve this look, such as ornamental grasses, hemerocallis(daylilies), hosta, rudbeckia, sedums, etc. Mass planting can also cut down on unsightly weeds.
Rock garden – These are generally areas with poor soil, on hillsides and in full sun light. Perennials that thrive well in these areas are typically low to medium in height, like dry soil, are low in maintenance and prefer full sun. You can select varieties that are fragrant when stepped on, have unique foliage color, attract nature and bloom in all different seasons. For a listing of perennials, refer to the Helpful Lists- Rock Garden.
Shade/Woodland garden – Thought by some to be an obstacle, but should be viewed as an opportunity to discover many of the shade-tolerant perennials available for use. Shade gardening creates a calm, inviting feeling. Shade-tolerant perennials are available in unique textures and foliage colors. When combined properly, you can establish a colorful garden for all seasons. For a listing of perennials, refer to the Helpful Lists- Shade Perennials and Woodland Perennials
Terrace – This is generally used to graduate a steep incline or prevent erosion. By adding perennials along with some lower growing shrubs, you can design a terraced landscape that really makes a statement. There are many products available to create a unique look to your terrace. Remember to use different forms of perennials (vertical, mounded and horizontal) in your design.