Gardening Landscape design Planning and Design

Top 5 Garden Design Ideas for Summer

Paysage coloré

By Teena Middleton

Have you always wanted to grow your own summer garden? Now is the time to start planning for it. Of course, you’d need the help of award winning garden designers, but it’s always best that you look around for inspiration, which you can find everywhere. 

To help you out in your plans, we’ve created this compilation of the top 5 garden design ideas for summer that are in trend nowadays. 

  1. Calm Color Palettes to Offset Large Spaces

Gardens with large square footage can easily get out of control if they don’t have a clear design that balances and unifies all its elements. Thus, having a simple color palette in place can tone down the vibes of your yard. Limit the palette to just two contrasting colours, or you can also exhibit multiple shades of one colour. This way, you can plant more varieties of foliage without inadvertently creating a messy or incoherent landscape. 

  1. Climbing Roses Decorating a Pergola
Tonnelle avec rosiers grimpants rouges.

You don’t need to do or spend much to achieve that wow factor in your summer garden. A simple pergola can be made more impressive if you decorate it with climbing roses. Once they’ve grown to their full beauty, they will help to create a picturesque scene in your yard. Here’s a tip, though: climbing roses don’t look good at their base so you can keep those thorny canes hidden from view with an underplanting of liatris plants, which will complement your roses well. 

  1. Setting Up a Fragrant Path

Your summer garden won’t be complete without a pathway lined with all kinds of sweet-smelling blooms. In early summer, the particular scent of lavender mixed with sweet alyssum is something that a lot of flower gardeners anticipate. When creating your own fragrant path, make sure to plant species of flowers that won’t overwhelm or crowd each other out. Some examples of such plants are sedum, coreopsis, and dianthus. Also, make sure you set up this path around areas that don’t attract a lot of foot traffic, as the bees attracted by these flowers might get agitated if they’re disturbed by many passersby. 

  1. The Summer Favourites: Casual Wildflowers
Échinacées à fleurs roses

The summer season is when it’s best to explore the possibility of installing native plants such as casual wildflowers in your summer border. These types of blooms are common favourites when summertime comes around due to their low-maintenance factor as well as their ability to attract pollinators like butterflies and honeybees. Some examples of these wildflowers are bellflowers, coneflower, butterfly weed, penstemon, and beebalm, among others. 

  1. Unique and Rare Selections

If you’re looking for something that’s out of the ordinary, adding some unconventional blooms can do wonders for your garden and make your flower border more special. A couple of examples you can include in your selection would be two species of “lilies”: foxtail lily (Eremurus spp.) and Turk’s cap lily (Lilium superbum). You’d need to learn a bit of specialised knowledge and exert a little effort to grow these particular plants, but the results are worth it as these blooms can be incredibly breathtaking when they’re in full bloom. 


As usual, when creating your summer garden, you shouldn’t forget about the basics. Performing some daily tasks such as watering and weeding and even doing a bit of composting every now and then will help to create that picturesque flower paradise you’ve always dreamed of.      

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Top 5 Garden Design Ideas for Summer

  1. More fads?
    People forgot how to prune roses in the 1980s. They are not going to start pruning them properly now. They may plant them, but will lose interest in them as they become too much work, and the next fad comes along.
    Unique and rare plants are rare for a reason. They are not as easy to grow (ie. ‘sustainable’ [Remember that buzz word?]) as the common sorts.
    Sedum and coreopsis are not fragrant, and most dianthus are only mildy fragrant. Fragrant plants are very appealing, but should instead be dispersed into the garden to share the fragrance throughout, rather than confined to a small area, . . . particularly a confined area that does not attract traffic. (Seriously, how does that make sense?) Bees like lavender and alyssum, but are not as attracted to the most fragrant of flowers, which tend to attract moths and butterflies, . . . and bats (for those that are fragrant at night).
    Compatible colors is a good idea, and always has been, . . . although many of us like wildly incompatible colors.
    Wildflowers is a good idea also, although in our region, we add a few or several that are not native, since so many of the chaparral and desert natives bloom only briefly.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: