Creating an Island Bed

Island beds are freestanding beds, usually surrounded by lawn. By installing an island bed you can take a bare, uninteresting area and turn it into an attractive, eye-catching landscape feature. Use island beds to create a focal point, screen unattractive features, create privacy and reduce noise and lawn size.

Don't Skimp on Size

Island beds need to be large enough to accommodate your plants' growth in the coming years (look for this information on the plant tag or in our online plant catalog). If you are planning on putting trees and shrubs in your island bed, design a bed that is at least 8 feet wide. This width allows you to maintain your bed easily from the edge. If you design a wider bed, leave room for stepping stones to access your bed to weed and groom.

Create a Pleasing Shape

The shape is best determined by the area you have to work within. In general, a gently curving line is best. Curves are not only calming, but also make mowing and edging easier. To help create your shape, lay a garden hose on the ground to represent the future shape of your bed. Arrange and adjust the hose until you like the shape.

Select Plants That Fit Your Conditions

One of the great advantages of island beds is that you can easily group plants that require the same growing conditions together. For example, a bed located in a front yard that is hot and dry with full sun needs plants that thrive in those conditions: some Maples, Hawthorn, White Pine, Juniper, Quince, Potentilla, Sand Cherry or Bayberry to name a few.

If perennials interest you, there are many choices that thrive in hot, dry conditions. Although a plant might thrive in dry conditions, all plants must be watered while getting established.

Island beds are a great, manageable way to add interest and beauty to your yard. So go ahead and get your hands dirty!