These Garden Layout Ideas Work in All Kinds of Spaces

These Garden Layout Ideas Work in All Kinds of Spaces

Starting a garden from scratch may seem daunting! But we’ve got you covered with tons of great ideas and free garden plans for every type of yard, whether it’s big and sprawling or teeny-tiny. For starters, look at the area you want to plant: Does it get full sun, which is 6 or more hours per day? Or maybe it gets only part sun, which is about half that, or full shade. Watch that space for a few days to get a sense of what’s happening at what time of day. Think about seasonal changes, too. For example, an area that’s full shade in summer may be full sun in spring. That will dictate what plants will thrive in that area. It’s also important to read plant tags and make sure a perennial, shrub or tree can survive winters in your USDA Hardiness Zone (find yours here).

It’s also important to be patient because gardens aren’t built overnight! They evolve through the years as you learn more about plants you love. And whether you’re an experienced gardener or a complete newbie, Mother Nature will continue to throw you some unexpected twists and turns. The bottom line is you’re never done learning about plants and your garden. So, embrace the challenges, enjoy the surprises, and read on to discover great garden plants and layout ideas for your own backyard.


1 Patio Garden Bed

If you’re constructing a new patio, create a planting bed as part of the patio to define the space and make it feel more like an outdoor room.

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Find best patio plants here.

2 Ultimate Kitchen Garden

Say hello to the potager of our dreams, designed by renowned gardener Jon Carloftis. Overflowing with amazing edible plants handpicked by some of the nation’s best chefs, this brings new meaning to farm-to-table dining because it’s your own back yard!

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3 Perennial Garden

Why plant new flowers every year? By incorporating perennials, which return for many years, you’ll be able to build a garden that will need little care from you to bloom.

Find the best perennial plants here.

4 A Glorious Kitchen-Garden Plan

When faced with Linda Lipsett’s 30-by-90-foot plot, garden designer Chris Fischer got crafty with organization. He denoted three prominent portions—a large middle area surrounded by two smaller sections—and adorned each with raised beds for better soil quality control.

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5 Vertical Garden

Sometimes the only way to grow is up! Vining plants add interest and also can provide screening and privacy on a deck or patio. Vines in pots work just as well as those planted in beds.

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Find the best flowering vines here.

6 Foliage-Filled Garden

Sean Conway’s got nothing against flowers, but it’s the garden designer’s way with foliage that makes his Rhode Island spread sing.

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7 Herb Garden

Even if your space is limited, you can grow herbs right outside your door. Assemble a collection of pots and plant the herbs that you use most often, as well as some varieties that are less familiar to you (you may discover a new fave!). Plant both annual and perennial herbs for a good mix year after year.

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Find the best perennial herbs here.

8 Crevice Garden

How about perking up that drab Zone 5 to 8 patio or terrace with a sundial and some compact flowering plants? All you have to do is remove a few of the pavers and plant a few sprawling perennials.

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9 Rose Garden

Every garden needs roses! And they’re not as fussy as you might suspect. New shrub types are hardy and more disease-resistant so they’re perfect even for beginners.

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10 Water Garden

This small water feature is suitable for a Zone 6 to 9 residential garden in the city or suburbs, where it could be placed on a deck, terrace, or patio.

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11 Bark Appeal Garden

Does your garden lack color during the leafless season? Trees and shrubs with interesting or peeling bark make a great addition to your landscape.

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12 Cottage Garden

This Zone 5 to 8 garden integrates charming old-time annuals and perennials, herbs, and flowering shrubs to produce a simple, informal display that provides plenty of flowers for cutting.

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14 Fall Cutting Garden

Nothing dresses up a home like fresh flowers, and growing them yourself is a fun bonus. This small raised-bed cutting garden will provide cut flowers for weeks and weeks.

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15 Spring Bulb Garden

Nothing’s more refreshing after a long, dark winter than greeting spring with bright and cheery flowering bulbs. Plant them in fall for a show next spring. You also can plant in pots if you have limited space.

Find the best spring bulbs here.

16 Fall Decorating Garden

Tired of having to buy all the items you need to craft natural seasonal decorations? Why not take some space in your garden and grow your own autumn plantings?

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18 Porch Border Garden

Forget about boring foundation plantings. Dress up your front yard with a mixed border of annuals, perennials and shrubs.

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19 Raised Planter Garden

Limited space or poor soil? A raised bed solves the problem, and you can grow ornamentals or edibles in these containers.

Get the garden plan.

20 Round Evergreens

Round evergreens are so much fun! They add character and whimsy to any garden and are an essential spot of year-round color.

See more evergreen shrubs.

Erin Cavoto Erin Cavoto is the Editorial Assistant at, covering food, holidays, home decor, and more.

Arricca Elin SanSone Arricca SanSone writes for,, Family Circle,, Cooking Light,, and many others.

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