10 Criteria For The Selection Of Plants For Decorative Compositions. The Choice Of Flowers For The Flower Garden. Photo

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10 Criteria For The Selection Of Plants For Decorative Compositions. The Choice Of Flowers For The Flower Garden. Photo
10 Criteria For The Selection Of Plants For Decorative Compositions. The Choice Of Flowers For The Flower Garden. Photo
Video: 10 Criteria For The Selection Of Plants For Decorative Compositions. The Choice Of Flowers For The Flower Garden. Photo
Video: Top Five Easy Care Flowers for Your Garden (Great for Beginners!) 2023, February

A huge selection of types and varieties of ornamental plants does not simplify the process of planning flower beds, flower beds and other garden compositions, because there are many things to remember. Each plant has its own requirements for growing conditions, care and even the selection of partners, but the most difficult thing is to find a balance of purely aesthetic characteristics for the composition. Not to get confused in the process of selecting the best candidates for the role of a star or a modest partner in decorative ensembles allows simple criteria by which all decorative deciduous and flowering crops are evaluated.

Flower garden
Flower garden


  • How to choose the "right" plants for your flower garden?
  • In the beginning - the general idea
  • The first step is to separate soloists and partners
  • Height and habit are the basis for the spatial organization of the composition
  • The shape of the leaves and features of their structure
  • Large and small leaves and play with color - the basis of deep contrasts and boring ensembles
  • The shape and type of bloom is the most obvious of the design tools.
  • Continuous flowering relay
  • Emotional color
  • Visual imperfections and plant consistency
  • Fragrant clouds where you can enjoy them

How to choose the "right" plants for your flower garden?

Creation of flower beds and ridges, landscape groups, compositions of trees and shrubs, design of a front garden and mixborder, landscaping near a terrace or recreation area, adding variety to the appearance of a lawn with the help of separate "islands", introducing seasonal bloom spots and even skeletal plantings - all these decorative garden compositions require careful, careful and balanced planning.

Determining the style, location of plants, the shape and size of the composition, its relationship with the surrounding space and the means of harmonious connection with the garden as a whole, the search for decor and interesting solutions are not easy tasks. But the most difficult thing in creating decorative ensembles is still the selection of plants.

Despite the fact that all garden crops are unique and unique, each type and variety has its own advantages, disadvantages, and features. When creating large or small, seasonal or durable compositions, dozens of factors of the interaction of plants with each other have to be taken into account.

Of course, there are also purely practical selection criteria - the same requirements for the soil, its composition, characteristics and lighting. But they, like the design style, the given theme, the nature of the composition and other basic foundations for building compositions, are selected and determined before they begin to search for a successful ratio of plants. This is the so-called basis on which the list of candidate plants is formed. But the achievement of the most decorative effect of the composition requires the selection and assessment of completely different parameters - aesthetic.

The successful selection of partners and the general concept of the composition, the desire for a unique flowering and bright individuality - all these factors are not so easy to "link" together. Many gardeners, especially newcomers to the arrangement of their plots, often think that the successful planning of a flower garden or a bed is a task that only a professional can perform.

But with the acquisition of practice and with a careful approach, success can be achieved without special knowledge. Moreover, all the "secrets" of designers are the techniques that everyone can apply in practice. And the selection of plants is no exception. After all, in fact, there is no secret knowledge: landscape design is based on clear, logical and simple laws for constructing compositions and interaction of elements.

There is nothing insignificant in the choice of plants for decorative ensembles: the assessment and selection is carried out comprehensively, not forgetting about the nature of growth, and about leaves, and about flowering, and even about seasonality. To achieve the task of creating a beautiful flower garden or group, in order to achieve maximum decorativeness, it will be necessary to evaluate and take into account all aesthetic parameters without exception, without losing sight of both the obvious advantages and disadvantages.

If you put everything "on the shelves", then the danger of forgetting about something important or losing sight of one of the parameters will immediately disappear. In order not to get confused in the selection of ornamental plants, it is enough to make a list of those signs by which they need to be assessed - i.e. list of selection criteria.

10 main criteria in the selection of plants:

  1. Solo, partner, or filling character of the plant.
  2. Plant height and size, bush shape or growth shape.
  3. The shape, texture and texture of greenery.
  4. Leaf size.
  5. Leaf color.
  6. Flower size and type of inflorescences.
  7. Coloring of flowers and inflorescences.
  8. Flowering time.
  9. Stability of decorative or decorative period.
  10. Smell or lack thereof.
A flower garden with lined accents, selected contrasts, textures and partners
A flower garden with lined accents, selected contrasts, textures and partners

In the beginning - the general idea

It is worth starting by defining the principles for the selection of ornamental crops, which take into account all ten evaluation criteria. In total, two types of compositions are distinguished.

Built on the principle of contrast

Constructed according to the principle of contrast - ensembles in which plants with opposite characteristics interact. The contrast can capture several characteristics at once or be reduced to only one of the criteria - the shape of the bush, the size of the leaves, the color and shape of the inflorescences, etc.

Contrasts affecting the foliage and structure of the bushes (they are called deep, non-obvious contrasts) always have semantic meaning, but the most catchy and noticeable contrasts associated with the most catchy and bright differing features - flowering (surface contrasts). For example, thuja and spirea, bergenia and daylily, buzulnik and ornamental cereals, astilba and hosta, sedum and fescue, rudbeckia and liatris, roses and delphiniums, etc. contrast with each other.

Built on the principle of nuance

Constructed according to the principle of nuance, these are compositions in which plants are selected so that they have more similarities and common characteristics than differences. At the same time, monotony, nuance is usually created by choosing similar ones either in the shape of a bush or inflorescences, or in color and texture of a plant, adding interest and expressiveness to compositions by differences in other characteristics.

In fact, nuance is impossible without contrast, but not an obvious one, but a deep, soft, hidden, delicate use of opposites, which do not allow the whole ensemble to merge into a continuous dull spot. So, they will introduce a nuance into the ensembles of duets of astilbe and volzhanka, lychnis and wormwood, phlox and violets, delphinium and lupine, poppy and anemone or purslane, host and geraniums, cuffs, geychera, etc.

A flower garden built on the contrast of the texture of the leaves and their colors
A flower garden built on the contrast of the texture of the leaves and their colors

The first step is to separate soloists and partners

All plants in any decorative composition, both in flower beds and in groups of trees and bushes, can be divided into three types.

Soloists or accents

They can be safely called visual "beacons", the main eye-catching and mood-setting cultures. Accents, soloists, focal points, beacons - you can't name such plants, their role will still remain defining and dominant.

Usually, soloists mean large plants, but the main thing is not size, but expressiveness. Soloists are plants with an unusually spectacular shape, catchy foliage or especially luxurious flowering, interesting in lines, graphics or texture, with clear or extravagant shapes that immediately, at first glance, evoke emotions and associations.

Soloists are always the first to stand out in any company, differ sharply from the environment, set the mood for any decorative ensemble, unite the group into a single whole, determine the style, theme or design idea, seasonality and color palette.

Flowering shrubs, the most spectacular perennials, recognizable at first sight, standard and trimmed plants are used as soloists. The number of soloists is not limited to one plant; in the composition, you can create several focal points of attraction of the eye, set rhythm and dynamics with the help of accents. Roses, hydrangeas, peonies, rogers, dicentra, miscanthus, sheared boxwoods are examples of typical soloists.


These are cultures that are selected for a specific soloist or accent. The main task of partner plants is to shade and emphasize the soloist, to maximize the effective disclosure of his merits. It is the partners who give the compositions mass and volume, fill it with colorful flowering, meaning and character, and guarantee that the composition will be attractive throughout the whole year or at least the entire garden season.

Lush plants are usually considered as partner crops, capable of creating large interesting spots, consistently decorative, with interesting flowering. Their main characteristics are dense foliage and expressive beauty, volume. Partners are often lavender, highlander, mint, monarda, astilbe, rudbeckia, erythematosus, ferns, phloxes, geraniums (although geraniums can also play the role of a filler).


These are plants that create a background - they "close" plantings where necessary, introduce transitions and harmonize perception, mask gaps and voids, compensate or hide the shortcomings of partners and soloists. Fill plants create the brightest color and seasonal spots and textured backgrounds.

The selection of plants begins with the main, dominant crops, for which the partner plants are then selected, and the ensemble ends with fillers, or background.

Flower garden with sage focus
Flower garden with sage focus

Height and habit are the basis for the spatial organization of the composition

The height and volume of plants are parameters that determine the vertical structure of the compositions, give it interest or, conversely, bring boredom, are responsible for the balance of mass and the effect of filling. They are guided by height and volume, determining the place of the plant in the composition, creating a linear or non-linear vertical structure.

Taking into account different heights and volumes allows you to successfully include the plant in a specific composition, and create a link with the garden as a whole. Tall plants are planted in the background or middle ground, create a visual and vertical center of the composition, used for accentuation, and in compositions with the task of masking or with a one-sided view or linear structure - as a spectacular high background. Low-growing plants are used in the foreground and as filler. Plants are always selected from high to low.

Branch graphics, contours, line patterns are those parameters that are also known as plant habit. They determine the style and nature of the composition, set the main motives and reveal the idea.

Strict lines or shapes for regular gardens and natural softness for a natural style, playing with geometry and the ratio of contours, airy lightness or massiveness, managing optical effects and "traps", achieving a balance of elements with different visual "weights" - all these are parameters of ensembles, on which affects the physiognomic type of plants. And selection by habit is one of the most important plant selection criteria for any composition, setting the tone for the entire design and creating the basis of the style.

The shape of the leaves and features of their structure

Fantastically beautiful combinations can be built on whether the plant is perceived as openwork or curly, strict or ornamental. The variety of leaf shapes in plants is great. The play on the contrasts of elongated lanceolate and rounded kidney, cordate, xiphoid and pinnately dissected leaves creates the basis for a beautiful interaction.

The leaves of neighboring plants should always be different in shape. But besides this, it is worth considering both the texture and texture - the quality and features of the leaf surface, its perception, effect, the impression of the mass of the leaves.

The texture is created by pubescent or glossy, rough, smooth, dissected, ruffled or wrinkled surfaces, but the nature of the attachment, the density of the arrangement and growth of leaves is the texture. The texture of the leaves creates the effect of living metal, velvet, fabric, makes the plant "shiny" or background, more or less catchy.

The texture determines the perception of the plant and is actually a pattern of light and shade or spots that foliage creates in its mass. Elements of different textures and textures are the basis on which any expressive composition is built. And the main tool for creating amazingly beautiful and unique ensembles.

The contrast of the texture of the leaves of various ornamental plants in the flower garden
The contrast of the texture of the leaves of various ornamental plants in the flower garden

Large and small leaves and play with color - the basis of deep contrasts and boring ensembles

Large-leaved and small-leaved plants, as well as crops with leaves with a complex palmate or pinnately dissected structure, add additional structure to the composition. This is the simplest and most obvious selection criterion for deciduous trees. So, planting hosts next to geraniums or euonymus, they set the basic contrast, which can be clearly seen in the play of textures and shapes.

The color scheme of the leaves is an even simpler tool. In garden plants, in addition to all shades of green, there are also silvery, and golden, and bluish, and yellow colors. Variegated and monotonous, dark and light, the leaves allow not only introducing an interesting play of contrasts or nuances, creating a mood and revealing a style, but also are the most important tool for playing with optical illusions - highlighting compositions, combating uniformity, monotony and gloom.

The shape and type of bloom is the most obvious of the design tools

The most catchy and obvious methods with which they set the character of the composition and embody its contrasting or nuanced principle is the selection of plants with different or similar flower shapes and types of inflorescences. It is these two parameters that determine the place of plants in the composition, their interaction with each other, showiness, harmony of combinations and the first impression of any ensemble. This is the main style tool.

Simple, double or semi-double, small or large single flowers and vertical, umbellate, spherical, paniculate and cloudy inflorescences allow you to select plants for specific tasks and to make diverse and individual compositions.

In today's assortment of flowering garden plants, there are crops with similar flowering, differing only in detail and palette, allowing for rhythm and repetition, motives and style. Delphiniums, veronicastrum, aconite, sage, cereals have much more in common with each other than it seems at first glance.

Magnificent decorative bows have something in common with phlox and hydrangeas, yarrow with stonecrops, astilbe with volzhanks and meadowsweet, and astrania with gypsophila. Such combinations are useful not only for nuanced ensembles, but also for complex, hidden repetition and combining of different plants into a whole composition.

A flower garden built on the contrast of colors and shapes of flowers and inflorescences
A flower garden built on the contrast of colors and shapes of flowers and inflorescences

Continuous flowering relay

Due to the differences in flowering times, you can create both seasonal, created with an eye to a specific season, and constantly flowering plants. At the same time, you can stay within the framework of one composition, but plan the entire garden in such a way that the flower show is continuous. From primroses in April to bright bulbous colors in May to the colorful early summer, its sunny and fiery middle, unexpected autumn colors - nature has prepared a variety worthy of the artist's palette.

And in accordance with the general concept and idea, you can select plants so that a wave of flowering passes through the ensembles, spots and gentle hazes flare up, or the beauty of individual cultures is clearly manifested when you want it. Flowering can and should be controlled. And planning is the only way to subdue the garden parade.

Emotional color

The color scheme of any ensemble controls emotions and mood, style and perception. And if the role of the play of leaf colors does not immediately manifest itself, then in flowering plants everything lies on the surface, is caught by the first impression. Color combinations of flowering cultures govern sensory perception, regulate impulses, determine the influence of individual compositions on our behavior and feelings, and are selected individually and according to the style of decoration.

In order not to get confused in the color scheme and to select plants in a contrasting, harmonious way or creating unexpected combinations, you just need to purchase or draw a simple color wheel. And even in the table-sphere of eight colors, you can easily find winning combinations and harmonious duets. Contrasts are based on diametrically opposite or close to diametrical color combinations.

Depending on how you want to see your composition, you can select plants with a monochromatic, two-color, three-color, four-color or variegated color scheme. The more colors there are, the more difficult it is to match them.

A win-win option is to choose the dominant, main or most catchy color, and to match it with partner and neutral colors, as well as diluting plants that add interest. Highlight, as in the first criterion, color soloists, partners and background, softening cultures.

When choosing a color, one should not forget about the intensity of lighting, the influence of warm and cold tones, the size of the compositions and the garden as a whole, the surroundings and the opening panorama, the need to control optical effects (for example, light, red and yellow flowers bring the background closer, blue and dark - move away and act the other way around in the front).

A flower garden of ornamental plants with different flowering periods
A flower garden of ornamental plants with different flowering periods

Visual imperfections and plant consistency

Many garden crops - evergreen species, the most hardy perennials - are equally attractive not only all season, but also in winter. For other plants, besides beauty at the peak of flowering or at the height of the season, bright fruits are characteristic in autumn or beautiful bark in winter, a change of "outfits" that adds charm to the garden. But there are some plants that drastically lose their decorative effect or disappear altogether after flowering, leaving voids.

When composing decorative compositions, you must always remember how stable the plant is in its decorative effect. If it loses its attractiveness and can spoil the look of the flower garden or leave empty spaces, then you need to choose partners who will compensate for all their shortcomings. Compositions need to be composed so that they make an impression not only in the midst of flowering. And this rule is respected, even when it comes to a seasonal ensemble.

Garden compositions should look good, full and fresh in spring, summer, autumn, and, if possible, in winter. If the ensemble is included in the skeletal plantings, then it is in the cold season that it will be possible to assess the quality of its design.

A flower garden with rhododendron accents and selected partner plants
A flower garden with rhododendron accents and selected partner plants

Fragrant clouds where you can enjoy them

The garden is full of life, movement, colors and aromas. Although the latter are not considered an important criterion for evaluating plants, they cannot be ignored. After all, the use of plants with a pleasant and unpleasant smell can affect the perception of compositions in different ways, bring them to perfection, or, conversely, destroy the whole impression.

Unpleasant-smelling plants, as well as flowers, the aroma of which you do not personally like, cannot be used in places of rest and active movement in the garden, near the house. They should be left for places to be admired from afar.

On the other hand, pleasant scents and aromas are used so that they can be enjoyed. Fragrant plants are planted along paths and alleys, by the terrace, around the recreation area, at the entrance to the house - so that joyful clouds and plumes enhance the pleasure of relaxing and working in your garden. Particular attention should be paid to plants, the aroma of which is revealed at dusk: their competent use will create a special mood and even consider garden crops as aromatherapists.

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