6 Tips for Creating a “Bed-Head” Garden

Lantana Flowers

The effortless beauty of “bed head” is all the rage in fashion right now, and gardeners are beginning to follow suit, with garden beds that emphasize natural beauty as opposed to the primping and preening that goes into formal gardens.

Garden Media Group pointed to the phenomenon in their 2015 Garden Trends Report. GMG president Susan McCoy explains: "Purposefully un-styled outdoor spaces are the result of intentionally working within the natural landscape. This casual landscape style expresses an effortless personality with an 'anything goes' attitude."

The decision to embrace a more natural, wild look is not only a stylish aesthetic choice, but also one that connects with a lot of gardeners’ reverence for nature. Respecting the environment has always been a core value of many gardeners, but the counter-culture against industrial farming has really exploded in recent years. From homesteaders that seek to create self-reliant small farms to Permaculture designers trying to regenerate soils and build food forests to health enthusiasts that rely on their own garden for fresh, chemical-free, non-GMO, organic food, it is clear that gardeners are more environmentally conscious than ever.

The environmentally-conscious gardener tends to favor drought-tolerant natives over thirsty exotic plants, tends to fight pest problems with companion plants, predatory insects, or chickens rather than using chemical sprays, and tends to embrace the more mixed and chaotic way that plants grow in nature rather than strain against nature to impose their own order.

How to Bring the “Bed Head” Style to the Garden:

1. Landscaping-Curvy. Keep the landscape’s natural hills and dales, connected with windy, curving paths.

2. Hardscaping-Minimal. Bed head gardens rarely use garden structures, and when they do, the emphasis is on raw, natural materials like stones and logs.

3. Plant arrangement-Mixed drifts. The key to a real bed head look is to mix together different plants in the way you might find on the prairie. Plants naturally grow in drifts, with strong clusters that thin out towards the edges and intersperse with their neighbors.

4. Plant selection-Native and low-maintenance. The most popular plants for the style are native flowers (Coreopsis, Liatris, Lantana, and especially taller ones like Coneflowers) and grasses (Try Pink Muhly Grass or ‘Cassian’). Flowers that don’t need staking (like single peonies) are important because stakes ruin the illusion of a natural planting.

5. Maintenance-Infrequent. The real beauty of an intentionally “messy” look is that it doesn’t require the constant maintenance of a well-manicured, formal garden. Prune and weed sparingly to encourage more of an “overgrown” aesthetic.

6. Color Design-Wild. Color theory is abandoned and reds, purples, blues, and yellows all intermingle into a riot of color!

For more garden design ideas, visit waysidegardens.com or contact us directly by calling our public relations department at 1-864-941-4521.

Happy gardening!