A foundation bed is the perfect spot for a flower garden. It’s small enough to be planted quickly, and the backdrop creates an instant stage for plants. Plus, you get to see your handiwork every time you enter or leave the house. This design features flowers with various colors, heights, and habits—intermingled for a cottage garden look.
Good to Know: Repetition keeps the flowerbed from looking chaotic. Orange, yellow, white, and purple are repeated throughout the bed. The hanging basket and rail planters match. And the painted pots and butterfly house coordinate with the color of the home.
Terracotta pots have a timeless appeal, but a coat of paint brings a fresh look. Use a concrete paint—covering both the outside and inside of the pots so moisture doesn’t cause paint to blister.
Marigolds and Euphorbia
With its clouds of diminutive white flowers, ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbia adds fine texture to the bolder marigolds in hanging planters. Both euphorbia and marigolds are low-maintenance and able to withstand heat with occasional watering.
Although purely ornamental, this DIY butterfly house is a charming accessory that serves as a focal point. See how to build this garden ornament.
A colorful shrub in warm areas of the country, lantana is a dependable annual elsewhere. It has a pungent fragrance and boasts bright blooms of yellow, orange, pink, and mixes.
Spidery flowers (also available in magenta) give cleome its other name: spider flower. The white-flowered variety partners well with the yellow and orange flowers in this bed. It’s a prolific self-seeder, so you’ll get free replacement plants every year.
A mildew-resistant zinnia with cheerful daisylike flowers, Zinnia angustifolia grows without pampering. It reaches 8–24 inches tall, depending on cultivar.
The large flowers of Profusion Yellow, a zinnia hybrid, are hard to miss—and they keep showing off all summer. Plants grow from 12–15 inches tall and are resistant to mildew.
Also known as flowering tobacco, nicotiana is an adaptable annual with a season-long show. Shorter varieties boast trumpet-shape flowers in colors such as pink, white, salmon, red, and lime.
Angelonia is a tender perennial (winter hardy in Zones 9–11) used as an annual elsewhere because of its upright habit and stalks of bright flowers. It loves hot weather but needs plenty of moisture.
Colorful and easy to grow, calibrachoa is like a small-flowered version of petunia. Also called Million Bells, it’s especially suited to growing in pots or along the front of a flower border.
Sweet Potato Vine
Sweet potato vine looks great spilling out of a container or onto a sidewalk. The heart-shape leaves are available in burgundy, lime, and variegated colors, offering a pleasing contrast to companions.
With purplish blue flower panicles rising 1–2 feet, depending on variety, salvia is hard to miss. Although a perennial in some areas, it’s usually treated as an annual and treasured for its long season of bloom.
Most of us know ageratum as a low-growing border plant, but you can also find cultivars that are up to 30 inches tall. Deadheading keeps the brushlike lavender-blue flowers looking their best.
The double-flowered orange zinnia (Zinnia elegans) is a vigorous annual that packs a wallop of color. Remove faded blooms to ensure that only the brightest blooms remain.
Black-Eyed Susan Vine
Despite the name, black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) isn’t a prairie perennial like its namesake. It’s an old-fashioned twining climber. It twirls best around small-diameter supports—here it clings to narrow metal rods surrounding the pole holding the butterfly house.
The silvery foliage of dusty miller (Senecio cineraria) makes companion plants look brighter. A perennial in Zones 8–11, it is frost-hardy so you get a long growing season. It sometimes returns in colder areas if the winter is mild.
Purple Fountain Grass
A perennial in Zones 8–11, purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Purpureum’) is an easy-growing annual elsewhere. It’s admired for its pendulous habit and dark purple foliage.