Bedhead Garden Ideas: How To Grow A Bedhead Garden

Bedhead Garden Ideas: How To Grow A Bedhead Garden

By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

Admit it, you love your days off when you can roll out of bed, throw on comfy clothes and embrace the bedhead look. While this messy, comfortable look may not fly at the office, it’s perfect for running errands, doing home and garden chores or just lounging around. In fact, this laid back style works great in gardens, not just for yourself but for the whole garden. Continue reading to learn more about low maintenance bedhead gardens.

Bedhead Garden Ideas

What is a bedhead garden? It is simply a new trend of landscaping with low maintenance, messy garden designs. Bedhead gardens have a careless but not completely neglected appearance. These messy garden designs are generally filled with native plants, such as ornamental grasses and wildflowers.

Bedhead gardens may also contain trees, shrubs, and bulbs. Plants are usually selected for their drought tolerance and low maintenance needs. Here some common plants for bedhead gardens:

  • Muhly Grass
  • Sedum
  • Garden Phlox
  • Beebalm
  • Columbine
  • Miscanthus
  • Feather Reed Grass
  • Coneflower
  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Penstemon
  • Foxglove
  • Liatris
  • Russian Sage
  • Lantana
  • Salvia
  • Lavender
  • Coreopsis
  • Elderberry
  • Serviceberry

How to Grow a Bedhead Garden

Bedhead gardens do not require any special formal plan. In fact, these informal garden plants are placed in a manner that suggests there was no plan at all. However, they do usually have curvy edges and winding paths running through them, so some planning is actually required. You will also need to lay out the plants in a way that allows them to be seen and enjoyed. For example, make sure taller plants are planted behind shorter plants.

Bedhead garden design is kind of a cross between cottage garden style and wild prairie. Be sure to give plants proper spacing and keep garden debris cleaned up. There is a difference between a messy garden design and just a mess.

The meandering paths of bedhead gardens are generally filled with small rocks or other natural materials. Objects like concrete stepping stones tend to look out of place. In fact, all garden décor or other objects placed in bedhead gardens should be made of natural materials. For example, in lieu of metal or vinyl chairs or benches, try wood or stone seating areas. Instead of whimsical, colorful garden art, place driftwood or stone accents in the garden.

Placement of the bedhead garden is also important. As stated above, these are filled with wildflowers and native plants; therefore, they will attract plenty of pollinators. It may be helpful to place bedhead gardens near orchards or fruit and veggie gardens. At the same time, if you do a lot of alfresco dining or entertaining in the garden, you may just want to place bedhead gardens as a scenic backdrop to the more formal areas often used for this.

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Designing With Grasses

Mix and match grasses. Annuals and perennials combine with several different grasses to make an ever-changing and colorful tableau.

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Terraced garden design features

When designing your terraced yard, there are a few considerations and elements that can make your life a lot easier.

Steps and paths

Access and functionality are a key question to answer. Do you want every level to be accessible? Will some levels be for aesthetics only? Would you like to wander through your terraces, or simply admire them from below? This will dictate where you need paths and stairs.

Living zones

Further to the above point, you should consider how you want to use each level gardens are not the only option. If space permits, you create living zones on different levels, nestled amongst the terraces! Some ideas include:

  • Built-in bench seating
  • Outdoor fire pit area
  • Deck or patio
  • Pond or terrarium for small pets

Feature plants

Whilst modern gardens usually limit choices to a few specific plants planted en masse, a feature plant can help create striking focal points. Some popular feature plants and trees that include:

  • Dragon trees (dracaena)
  • Bird of paradise (strelitzia)
  • Grass trees (xanthorrhoea)
  • Foxtail fern (asparagus aethiopicus)
  • Ponytail palms (beaucarnea recurvata)
  • ‘Birthday Candles’ banksia (banksia spinulosa)
  • Prickly pear (opuntia)
  • Bird’s nest fern (asplenium nidus)
  • Flowering gum (corymbia ficifolia)
  • Elephant ears (colocasia)
  • Foxtail agave (agave attenuata)
  • River wattle (acacia cognata)

(image source)

Outdoor lighting

What’s the point of good landscaping if you can only see it half the time? Bring some magic and depth into those levels and light it up! From solar lights, to wall lights, to garden lanterns and fairy lights, there are so many outdoor lighting options to make your garden come to life at night.

Irrigation systems

The natural gravity of terraced gardens create a lot of flexibility with irrigation systems. It’s also an important factor to consider when deciding on how many level you want access to if you can’t water it by hand, you’ll want to consider an irrigation system.

The other key factor here is drainage for the retaining walls to remain strong and avoid damage, there needs to be adequate drainage at every level. This can be worked out when you discuss the irrigation system for instance, the lowest level could be a rain garden, which are designed purely to use run-off.

Water features

What better opportunity will you get to build your very own waterfall? A terraced garden lends itself beautifully to water features, whether is it a simple water dish or a multi-level design. This may also be a factor to include when discussing your drainage and irrigation plans!

Article: How to install a Smart Garden

Smart garden systems

Mow the lawn, heat up the hot tub, switch on the landscape lighting and schedule the soaker hose overnight…all with the press of a button from your couch, on the train or out at dinner! Smart garden systems are the latest trend for automated homes. Not only is it incredibly convenient (especially for tiered gardens and sloping blocks), but it’s actually been suggested to be more energy efficient!

2015 Garden Trend: Bedhead Gardens

Twenty years ago, it was unheard of for women to get out of the shower, tussle their hair with a little product, and walk out the door. Nowadays, low-maintenance, mussed up “bedhead” hair is all the rage. Gardens seem to be following suit, and formal landscapes are taking second stage as bedhead gardening trends take root.

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Enjoy the Low-Maintenance Bedhead Gardening Trend for 2015

What’s a bedhead garden you ask? It’s one that lets the plants have a little room to grow and “do their thing” without all the regular pruning, trimming, and precise edges we find in formal English gardens or more traditional landscape designs.

Here are some bedhead garden traits:

They’re a little more random. A more traditional garden will use plants in repetition, create geometric shapes, and lines and will have a precise feel about them. It’s like there is a place for everything and everything in its place. Bedhead gardens, on the other hand, will have a more random and wild approach. Think mountain meadow as opposed to a golf course or formal English garden.

Native and drought tolerant. Typically, bedhead gardens are landscaped with mostly native plants. These will include native grasses, drought tolerant shrubs, and perennial flowers that can withstand the climate changes here in Colorado. These plants grow on their own in nature without any help from a gardener, and they can do almost the same thing in your garden.

Color with wild abandon. Rather than selecting purples for this corner and reds in that corner, your bedhead garden will combine a riot of colors to mix things up a bit.

Casual without being overgrown. While bedhead gardens do require less maintenance, they aren’t completely overgrown. Planting trees, shrubs, and flowers in areas that allow them to reach their medium to highest heights and widths simply means you have to groom them less often. Curved pathways, rather than rigid walkways, allow plants to stretch and bloom with their own personality.

Contact Lifescape when you’re ready to free up some of those warm weather weekends and embrace the bedhead gardening trend for 2015.

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