Rose Garden Design

Savor the beauty of one of the most beloved flowers: the rose. Discover practical tips for designing a rose garden.

Always dreamed of growing roses? Make those dreams a reality by learning basic concepts of rose garden design. Roses look good in many types of gardens, and whether you plant them solo or blended with other perennials or shrubs, you can grow these renowned beauties in your own yard. The secret to successful rose garden design starts with giving these bloomers what they need. 

Sunlight is vital for roses—these are sun-worshiping flowers. You’ll get the most blooms when you site your rose garden design in full sun. Morning sun is always better than afternoon sun, especially in more southern regions, where afternoon sun can be especially brutal. Most roses yield the best flowers when plants receive six to eight hours of sun each day. 

A Cape Cod Rose Garden

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A Cape Cod Rose Garden

This beautiful apricot floribunda is featured in Irwin and Cindy Ehrenreich's Massachusets garden. This variety was created by crossing hybrid tea roses and polyanthas roses.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

A Cape Cod Rose Garden

Roses can be trained to climb trellises such as this lovely variety called New Dawn.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Koko Loco

This beautiful floribunda rose named 'Koko Loco' starts out with a mocha color and fades to a lovely lavender color.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Heirloom Roses

'Bonica' and 'New Dawn' are found along the rock walls of this Cape Cod garden. In 1997, 'New Dawn' was voted the most popular rose in the world at the 11th World Convention of Rose Societies.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Champagne Cocktail Anyone?

This is a lovely florabunda bi-color bloomer named 'Champagne Cocktail'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Colors that Complement

Here 'Burgundy Iceberg' and 'Earth Song' complement one another in the garden bed.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Like Butter

This floribunda rose is named 'Julia Child'. She approved and said the color reminded her of butter!

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

David Austen Rose

This David Austin rose variety is called 'Crocus Rose'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Pristine

'Pristine' is a hybrid tea rose whose white color is accented with a tinge of pink.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Royal Sunset

This was one of the very first roses that Irwin and Cindy Ehrenreich planted. This Royal Sunset is a deep orange colored climber that fades to apricot.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Silicone Valley Diamond

'Silicone Valley Diamond' is a sweet miniature rose that makes a lovely bush.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Graham Thomas

'Graham Thomas' is one of the most popular varieties of David Austin's English roses.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Monet Inspired Tunnel

Rose grower Irwin Ehrenreich was inspired by Monet's gardens and created this lovely tunnel by combining three arched trellises and rebar for the climbing roses, 'Scarlet Sensation', to grow upon.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Kordes Aloha

This lovely German multi-colored climber, 'Kordes Aloha', climbs the white picket fence along the roadway.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Eden Climber

Here the 'Eden Climber', part of the Romantica Series, takes hold of an arbor.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Colette

Rays of sunlight touch the old fashioned blooms on this apricot colored climber called 'Colette'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Prairie Star

'Prairie Star' is another hardy shrub rose that was hybridized by Griffith Buck.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Floribunda Beauty

This bed is filled with many floribundas as well as the miniature climbing rose on the obelisk called 'Jeanne La Joie'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Honey Dijon

This gorgeous mustard-colored grandiflora is aptly named 'Honey Dijon'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Polar Ice

'Polar Ice' is a hybrid rugosa that requires little care, is incredibly fragrant and a prolific bloomer all season long.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

White Out

'White Out' is a very healthy and hardy shrub rose.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Rhode Island Red

This climber was hybridized by New England native Dr. Walter Brownell. Here is grows near the mailbox on a trellis.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Down the Garden Path

An assortment of roses flank the sides of the garden pathway.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Rock Walls and Roses

'Bonica' compliments the hardscaped rock wall along the front of the property.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Sweet Revenge

'Sweet Revenge' is a gorgeous miniature rose.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Ole

'Ole' is a pretty shrub rose available from Bailey Nurseries.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Cover the House

Incorporating climbing roses into your architectural design is a lovely way to accent the exterior walls of your home.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Midnight Blue

These shrub roses start out as dark purple and fade to various shades of purple as the blooms age.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Sharifa Asma

'Sharifa Asma' has a heavy perfumed fragrance. This rose greets visitors near the front door.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Pretty in Pink

'Sharifa Asma' is a David Austen rose.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Rose Garden Sunset

The sun sets on this gorgeous assortment of David Austen Roses.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Morning Magic

'Morning Magic' is one of the best climbing roses for beginners. It is very hardy, extremely disease resistant, and is a prolific bloomer. 

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Earth Song and Felicia

'Earth Song' and the hybrid musk 'Felicia' make for a wonderful color combination.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Morning Dew

Dew drops sit on the petals of 'Koko Loco'.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Mother of Pearl

This variety of rose is one of Irwin and Cindy's favorites. 'Mother of Pearl' is always full of blooms. It is a healthy and hardy grandiflora.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Queen Nefertiti

'Queen Nefertiti' and 'Teasing Georgia', both very fragrant English roses, welcome visitors to the garden at the gate along the roadside.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Distant Drums

 This lovely hybridized rose by Griffith Buck has incredibly unique coloration.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

A Hedge of Roses

These 'Morning Magic' roses create a hedge of roses that mark another entry into the front garden.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Roses Galore

A mass of 'Ole', 'Earth Song', and 'Teasing Georgia' delight the senses.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Climbing Colette

'Colette' climbs another garden trellis inspired by dragon flies.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Cindy Ehrenreich

Choose the roses you plant carefully. Many modern rose introductions boast repeat blooming, flowering non-stop the entire growing season. If you crave the lush, fully petaled fragrance of a classic rose, you might want to plant old-fashioned roses, many of which flower just once a year. If you opt for Hybrid Tea roses, expect repeat beautiful blooms from plants that need pampering. Research the roses you’re planting so you know the types of flower show you can expect. 

Roses benefit from ample elbow room. As you craft your rose garden design, don’t jam roses on top of one another or between tightly spaced perennials. Many roses are subject to diseases, which spread easily when plants don’t have sufficient air circulation.

In your rose garden design, give each rose a space as wide as the plant’s mature height. For example, if a rose tag says the plant will reach four to five feet, give it 2 to 2.5 feet clearance on all sides. You’ll also appreciate this liberal spacing when you need to prune your roses.

Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are another key in keeping rose diseases at bay. Many rose diseases attack leaves and spread by splashing water. Limit overhead watering by incorporating root zone irrigation in your rose garden design. If you’re designing a brand new planting area, using root zone watering is one of the most important steps you can take toward improving rose health.

Decide if you want to create a garden devoted solely to roses or if you want to intermingle roses with other garden plants. For a solo rose garden, you’ll likely want formal planting beds to showcase different varieties and types. Many roses have knobby “knees” or lower stems. In a formal rose garden, hide these stems with a neatly trimmed boxwood or germander hedge. 

‘Brilliant Veranda’ Rose

This floribunda rose is outstanding for its nearly glowing, red-orange blooms.. The full flowers may remind you of lush English roses. Bred especially for containers, 'Brilliant Veranda' is stunning when combined with annuals or perennials and also thrives in a sunny bed or border.

Photo By: Jackson and Perkins

'Lavender Veranda' Rose

Compact ‘Lavender™ Veranda’®, like other roses in the Veranda® series, is great as a patio plant, but it also flourishes in a sunny garden spot. This floribunda has dense, "old-fashioned" blooms. It's exceptionally cold hardy, recommended for zones 5 to 9, and holds up well in hot, humid weather.

Photo By: Jackson and Perkins

'Cream Veranda' Rose

If you want to enjoy your roses in containers on your deck or patio, grow 'Cream Veranda®. The plants were bred to thrive in containers until fall, when they can be planted into your garden. This rose has creamy, double blooms with apricot centers that open to 2-½ inches across.

Photo By: Jackson and Perkins

'Busy Bee' Rose

Opt for ‘Busy Bee’™ if you’re planting in a small space or container. This miniature hybrid tea has very good resistance to cold and stands up well to summer heat and humidity. The flowers start out apricot, peach and coral, gradually fading to light and hot pink at the edges. For best results, keep the plants deadheaded.

Photo By: Jackson and Perkins

Easy Elegance Coral Cove Rose

If you’re in the market for a fuss-free rose, check out the multi-colored beauty of Coral Cove. Three-inch blossoms open to reveal a trio of hues: dark pink outer edges, orange centers and a bright yellow base. Use it as an informal hedge along a walkway or planting bed. Disease-resistant plants grow 3 feet tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Botanical name: Rosa ‘BAIove’

Photo By: Bailey Nursery

Stone Patio Pink Roses in Blue Containers

Patio roses are smaller rose varieties that can grow in container gardens with little room. Bright blue containers look lovely paired with the soft pink of the flowers.

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Easy Elegance Little Mischief Rose

Perfect for front-of-the-bed plantings, this little rose grows to a tidy 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. Deep pink 1-inch flowers fade to light pink as they age, ensuring your shrub is covered in pink shades all season long. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Botanical name: Rosa ‘BAIief’

Photo By: Bailey Nursery

'Grace' David Austin English Rose

Winner of an RHS Award of Garden Merit, ‘Grace’ has apricot-colored blooms that combine beautifully with dark red and purple flowers and foliage. Grow this tree rose for its repeat blooms, warm perfume and exceptionally healthy performance in the garden.

Photo By: David Austin Roses

'Winchester Cathedral' David Austin English Rose

Try ‘Winchester Cathedral’ in mixed borders. This shrub blooms unusually early in the growing season, forming double white flowers brushed with buff-pink in the centers. In warm weather, the old rose fragrance becomes stronger, perfuming the air with the scent of honey and almond blossoms.

Photo By: David Austin Roses

DIY Paper Flower Bouquet

Keep adding crepe-paper petals to the bud and secure with floral tape at the base each time. Repeat as many times as you wish to vary the fullness of the rose. Continue making paper flowers with steps 1-3 until your desired number of blooms is achieved.

Showcase climbing roses on a trellis, tripod, or tuteur. Some old-fashioned climbers will gladly clamber up a dead tree, soaring to amazing heights. Or build a specialized umbrella-type trellis that allows canes to grow up and drape over a wheel perched atop a pole. Climbing roses demand sturdy supports. Make sure posts are well anchored or your climber might wrestle its support to the ground.

To display roses with other plants, make sure you don’t surround a rose with a plant that’s going to overtake it. Perennials like Rozanne cranesbill geranium (Geranium x ‘Rozanne’) can quickly spread up and over a newly planted rose, and a happily spreading false indigo (Baptisia australis) or Morning Light maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’) can crowd out and shade a rose.

No matter which type of rose garden design you pursue, always start with soil that’s heavily enriched with organic matter. Whether you’re growing Old Garden roses, Hybrid Teas or modern Shrub roses, these blooming beauties demand rich soil that’s well-drained. Amend soil with well-rotted manure, homegrown compost or other locally available soil conditioner.

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