Designs for Garden Flower Beds
Planting Ideas for Every Garden Aspect

designs for garden flower beds - poppies thriving in a sunny spot

Designs for Garden Flower Beds - Planting Ideas for Every Aspect

Learn how to create flower garden designs that suit your particular garden...

What's your garden aspect? And which plants should you use to make the most of this? Find out, here...

The 'aspect' or direction which your garden faces has a big impact on the plants you choose, and your designs for garden flower beds...

We've already seen how the aspect of the garden can affect how you use your garden, and where you might want to position your seating areas...

If you missed that, or if you want a refresher, click here to see my garden design tips for garden aspect...

Click here to look at more Site Considerations for how to design a garden...

Click here for the Checklist to help you complete this section...

Now, we're going to look at how your designs for garden flower beds is (or should be!) very much influenced by the aspect of your garden...

Choosing plants that work well in your garden, and your particular garden aspect, will mean:

  • your garden design ideas will work well
  • your garden will look good
  • and will stay looking good
  • and less work for you!

For this page on flower gardening advice for garden aspect, we're going to concentrate on choosing climbers, shrubs and plants that work well in a particular aspect...

You can use your Free Garden Design Checklist to note any particular plants to consider for your own designs for garden flower beds...

North facing Gardens
East facing Gardens
South facing Gardens
West facing Gardens

Print Checklist

Next section - Light and Shade in Gardens

Please note: This information is correct for gardens in the northern hemisphere - for gardens in the southern hemisphere, you should swap north for south in the following help for designs for garden flower beds - East and West will remain the same.

Designs for Garden Flower Beds that Face North

Northern-facing beds and walls are quite shady places - and this means you have the best chance of your flower garden designs succeeding if you choose plants that thrive in shady places...


  • Garrya elliptica (Silk Tassel Bush)
    • A large evergreen shrub, which produces pretty 'silk tassels' (catkins) in late winter
    • I have one of these on my north facing garage wall - it's grown pretty large in the 7 years it's been there - and has survived well.
    • I've recently hacked it right back, to remove some lower branches, and create more of a 'tree' shape, more suitable for my tiny garden.
  • Hedera colchica 'Sulphur Heart' (Ivy)
    • Ivies tend to be very tolerant of shady spaces - this is a lovely climber to include in flower garden designs that face north - a great way to brighten up a dark wall or corner! (nice, bright, yellow leaves)
  • Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea)
    • Quite a large, bushy climber, with pretty, white and cream flowers - it can take quite a while to establish, though.
  • Jasminum nudiflorum (also Jasminum humile)
    (Winter Jasmine)
    • A floppy shrub, with tiny yellow flowers in late winter.
  • Drimys Winteri (Winter's Bark)
    • A lovely, evergreen shrub, with fine, long leaves, and pretty, fragrant flowers
  • Camellia x Williamsii 'Golden Spangles'
    • An evergreen shrub with beautiful, big, pink flowers.
    • Excellent for acid soils (only for acid soils!)
  • Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun' or 'Charity'

    Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun' - designs for garden flower beds - north facing

    Mahonia 'Winter Sun'

    • A good architectural shrub - evergreen - with prickly leaves.
    • Long, yellow flowers in winter, followed by unusual berries.
  • Clematis 'Nelly Moser' (or Clematis montana)
    • A good, early flowering climber, with big, pretty, pink flowers.

  • Clematis montana - designs for garden flower beds that face north

    Clematis montana

  • Rosa 'Danse du Feu' and Rosa 'Souvenir du Docteur Jamain'
    • Pretty climbing roses, with deep red flowers

Also see plants for shady areas for more planting ideas - Click here for planting for shade in gardens.

Designs for Garden Flower Beds that Face East

East facing walls and flower garden designs have the main problem of the morning sun - you might think it's lovely to wake up in sunshine...

...and so it is!

...but for plants, it can be a big problem - especially in winter and early Spring, when tender leaves and buds are frozen with cold!

The rapid thawing on frozen plants can damage the buds and leaves (camellias are particularly susceptible to this).

Damage to frozen flowers can also mean that plants produce no fruit - so if you want to put fruiting plants in an east facing position in your garden design ideas, the best flower gardening advice is to choose plants that flower later on in the year, when the risk of frost is less.

With the morning sun, plants can start their new growth in Spring earlier - so it appears when there is still a risk of damage from frost.


  • Chaenomeles japonica (Flowering quince)
    • A pretty, but quite straggly, shrub, with pinky flowers and unusual fruits.
    • A neighbour had one of these when I was a child, and it always seemed a most exotic and unusual plant to me!
  • Clematis (all varieties)
    • An east-facing wall is an ideal spot for all clematis varieties - as they all like their head in the sun, and their roots in the shade.
    • Plant deeply and a little away from the wall edge, with a thick mulch.
  • Cotoneaster horizontalis

    Cotoneaster - designs for garden flower beds that face east


    • A useful spreading shrub, with lovely red berries in autumn and winter
  • Pyracantha 'Soleil D'Or
    • A spiny evergreen shrub, with very bright, yellow berries in autumn and winter.
  • Forsythia suspensa
    • A very pretty shrub with lovely, little, yellow flowers - great for Spring color.
  • Aconitum hemsleyanum
    • A late-flowering climber, with unusual purple flowers.
  • Lonicera japonica 'Halliana' (Honeysuckle)
    • A strong growing, evergreen honeysuckle, with scented white and yellow flowers.
    • Especially suitable for dry positions and chalky soils
  • Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Boston Ivy)
    • A popular climber, with colorful red leaves in autumn.
    • Can grow very large.
    • Also good for chalky soils and sunny spots
  • Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet Peas)

    Lathyrus odoratus - Sweet pea - designs for garden flower beds facing east

    Lathyrus odoratus - Sweet Pea

    • A pretty and popular annual climber, ideal for eastern facing flower garden designs.
    • Comes in many whites, pinks, blues and purples.

Designs for Garden Flower Beds that Face South

South facing garden beds can be real hot-spots. Many plants love the extra light and warmth, but some will find it just too hot!

A south facing wall or bed can also help tender plants survive the winter.

South facing beds can be hot and dry though, especially at the base of walls. Try to plant a little away from the wall, and choose plants that cope better with dry conditions.


  • Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' or 'Lutescens'
    • A climbing rose with pretty yellow flowers. Loves sun and has fragrant flowers.
  • Magnolia grandiflora 'Goliath'
    • A lovely evergreen tree, with big, white flowers. Best against a south wall, and in acid soils.
  • Buddleja crispa (Himalayan Butterfly Bush)
    • Lots of lovely purple flowers, all summer long - also attracts butterflies and bees (hence the common name!)
  • Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Skylark'
    • Lots of lovely purple-blue flowers again (flowers a little earlier than buddleja - above)
    • Evergreen, but survives better against a warm, south-facing wall.
  • Choisya ternata 'Sundance'

    Choisya ternata 'Sundance' - designs for garden flower beds facing south

    Choisya ternata 'Sundance'

    • One of my all-time favorite useful shrubs! A lovely, evergreen shrub with bright yellow leaves - great in hot and dry locations.
  • Cytisus battandieri (Pineapple Broom)
    • Lovely, bright yellow flowers, with a fetching pineapple fragrance. Flowers best in hot and dry locations.
    • Works in sandy soils
  • Leptospermum scoparium 'Kiwi' (Dwarf New Zealand tea tree)
    • Pretty pink flowers - the dwarf form is very suitable for south-facing rock gardens.
    • May need winter protection.
    • Also good in coastal areas
  • Passiflora caerulea 'Constance Elliott' (Passion Flower)
    • Exotic and unusual looking flowers - loves sun and needs a hot and sunny position.

  • Passifloa caerulea 'Constance Elliott'  - designs for garden flower beds that face south

    Passiflora caerulea 'Constance Elliott'

  • Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' (Golden Hop)
    • Bright golden leaves and flowers - climber - dig in lots of organic matter and water well until established.
  • Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria)
    • A large climber with beautiful, hanging, lilac flowers - may take a while to establish itself and flower.

Also see plants for hot and dry conditions.

Designs for Garden Flower Beds that Face West

Afternoon and evening sun is great for plants that love sun, but can't quite cope with the intense heat and dryness of a south-facing wall.

It is also a good spot for early flowering shrubs and plants (that might be damaged by morning sun in east facing beds)


  • Abeliophyllum (White Forsythia)
    • Lovely, scented, white flowers in late winter and early Spring.
  • Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin' (Chilean Potato Vine)
    • Very vigorous climber, with purple flowers. I have the white version 'Album' but it's extremely vigorous and resists all my attempts to get rid of it, and keep sprouting back!
    • Pretty though!
  • Clematis 'Etoile Rose', 'Bill Mackenzie' or 'Rehderiana'
    • Vigorous climbers with pretty flowers.

    • Clematis 'Bill Mackenzie' - designs for garden flower beds that face west

      Clematis 'Bill Mackenzie'

    • Needs cool roots, so plant and mulch deeply too.
    • Prune hard each Spring.
  • Lonicera x tellmanniana or Lonicera fragrantissima or Lonicera sempervirens (Honeysuckles)
    • Fragrant, deciduous honeysuckles.
    • Good for containers
    • Tolerates chalk soils.
  • Jasminum officinale (Jasmine)
    • A strong climber, with pretty little flowers.
    • Good for containers, and chalky soils, but protect from cold.
  • Carpenteria Californica (Tree Anemone)
    • A lovely, evergreen shrub, with large, white and yellow flowers.
    • May be frost tender so protect from cold - in hard winters new shoots may emerge from below ground in Spring.
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine)
    • Evergreen climber, with fragrant white flowers - mulch deeply in winter.
  • Rosa x odorata 'Mutabilis' or Rosa 'Dublin Bay' or Rosa 'Madame Gregoire Staechelin'
    • Lovely, big, pink flowers, on a vigorous climber. Good for containers and chalky soil

Please note: This information is correct for gardens in the northern hemisphere - for gardens in the southern hemisphere, you should swap north for south in the above help for designs for garden flower beds - East and West will remain the same.

These garden aspects designs for garden flower beds should give you a good indication of what will work well in a particular spot in your garden.

Don't worry too much about the specifics for now - just note down on your Free Downloadable Garden Design Online Checklist some ideas about your own garden aspect, and about any suitable plants you like the sounds of, and you think might fit your garden design ideas...

To help you with this, we'll also look at more designs for garden flower beds, concentrating on Light and Shade in Gardens.

Also look at low maintenance gardening for hot and dry gardens

...and gardening hints for damp and bog gardens

More about garden design tips for your aspect, here...

Recommended Reading

I recommend this great little RHS Guide, which has some very good sections on choosing plants for your own designs for garden flower beds, by their preferred aspect and planting position:

If any of the books recommended on this page interest you, please support my website by using the links on this page to buy. The price to you is always the same, but I will earn a small commission.

This allows me to continue to provide you with the information on this website, all for free.

Thanks for your continued support :)

Have you got your free subscription to my e-zine yet?

Get your free, monthly email newsletter full of garden design ideas, tips, techniques and useful information to help you create your designs for garden flower beds - and keeping you up-to-date with everything that's going on at Garden Design It Yourself....

Enter your E-mail Address
Enter your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Garden Design It Yourself.

Return to the main How to Design a Garden - Site Considerations page for more help in creating your own designs for garden flower beds to suit your own particular garden situation...

Return to the main Starting a Garden checklist page

Return from this Planting Ideas for Every Aspect - Designs for Garden Flower Beds page to the Home Page

Top of Page

Search my site for a word or phrase:

Custom Search

Protected by Copyscape DMCA Takedown Notice Violation Search

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Search my site:

Custom Search

Printer icon

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow GardenDesigny on Twitter

Copyright © 2010-2013 Charlotte Brown t/a Charlotte Sneddon -

vBulletin tracker