Ideas for a Three-Tiered Flower Bed

Written by cheryl munson
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Ideas for a Three-Tiered Flower Bed
Select flowers to give the three-tier bed colour, structure and balance. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Creating a three-tiered flowerbed can make an original garden statement. Each tier provides an opportunity to select flowers and foliage that have a special meaning or purpose. This can span from an explosion of various colours to a specific colour theme such as red or blue, to a concentration on native flowers.

Ground -- Annuals and Perennials

Plant a combination of annuals and perennials on the ground level so you can easily reach them for care and attention. Choose flowers that will make a dramatic and colourful display, such as vividly coloured petunias for summer, Dutch tulips and irises for spring, and chrysanthemums for colour that lasts from summer through fall. Stage bulbs in mid-centre to welcome spring. Choose bright coloured flowers such as petunias front and centre to give the ground-level tier a full look in the summer.

On the far right and left sides choose a taller growing flower, such as purple coneflower to attract butterflies and create a striking balance between the heights of flowers in the centre areas. Use brick pavers or flagstones to create a walkway for you and your family to stop and enjoy the flowers and design on each level.

Mid -- Flowers and Statuary

Select a variety of medium to taller growing flowers. Center the mid-tier with daylilies for colour, height and an ongoing daily display of flowers. Flank the right and left side of the daylily bed with flowers that complement the daylilies and the flowers on the ground-level tier. Consider varieties such as a chartreuse coleus or red and green variegated coleus to give a colour “pop” to the foliage.

Include statuary that defines a theme. For example, if the colours, flowers and foliage you select are fanciful and varied, include a whimsical garden gnome to greet you and your garden guests. If your design and planting selection is statelier, include a mirror ball or cement reproduction of a classic Greek figure like Venus – the goddess of love and beauty, or Demeter – the goddess of the harvest.

You could even look for a replica of the statue of the little girl from the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” If you stumble upon garden rocks during your shopping trips with your favourite quotes, grab them to place in key areas on the mid-level so they can stand out and easy to read.

Top -- Flowers and Water Feature

Design the top level to take advantage of opportunities to use flowers that drape, spread and cascade. This will enhance and define the structure of your three-tiered flowerbed. Consider placing a centrepiece on the third tier for drama. This could include clay or cement planters that contain ferns, fuchias and cascading flowers that spill over the edges of the container.

Create a waterfall feature placed in the centre that includes downspouts that allow the water to travel onto both the mid and ground levels. You could even make the water feature one that recycles rainwater to provide watering. Use a wooden barrel, clay pot, urn or repurpose a strawberry jar to catch the rainwater.

Work hoses through the bottom of the container and tilt it so that the water flow travels from the top tier to the bottom to keep flowers on all three levels well-watered and nourished. Use landscaping rocks such as river rocks or pea gravel to surround the centre container or the water feature.

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