If you want a sleek look for your outdoor space, follow these contemporary garden design ideas.

Simple colours

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1. White and green is a good base for your colour scheme. So, for instance, use pale limestone paving or gravel to create elegant paths or a patio area.

2. Paint any rendered or brick walls and fences white. Painted brickwork lends an extra element of texture to the design.

Planting structure

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3. Use repeat patterns in your planting to hold the garden together. A row of small trees, box bushes, shrubs or ornaments placed at regular intervals gives an order that looks good and has timeless appeal.

4. Create contrast between the simple geometric shapes of lawns and paths and include some loose, blousy planting spilling out of the flowerbeds.

5. In among the billowing planting, include a pattern of structural plants such as box balls. They’re hardly seen in the summer, just giving a hint of structure, but in winter they hold the garden together.

6. Contemporary planting tends to have a ‘glue’ plant, one that’s in every border and lasts a long time through the summer. One example is Verbena bonariensis, which forms a haze of purple hovering above all other planting.

Finishing touches

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7. Modern designs are fairly pared-back, so it’s best to avoid fads. Have clear reasons for everything you include.

8. For ornaments and furniture, natural materials provide another contrast to the immaculate planting patterns and the crisp, white surfaces. Options include a driftwood bench, or even a well-worn trough.

9. For several years horizontal battens on fencing have been the look for contemporary gardens. They do look great but can be overwhelming, so break up the lines with strong uprights and try not to have them on all sides or you’ll feel like you’re in prison!

10. Lighting is absolutely essential for contemporary gardens. Good lighting is always about what you light, rather than the light fixture. Focus spotlights on elements such as the battens, textured brickwork or the repeated patterns of planting to emphasise the design.

Modern garden design ideas

Design for Me has a community of hundreds of garden designers all across the country and we’ve compiled the most inspiring modern garden designs for you. If you like the look of one, you can click on the image to see that garden designer’s other work and shortlist them for your project

Bringing the inside … out

There is an architectural trend for blurring the lines between the interior and exterior of your home, bringing the “outside in” to create a better relationship with your garden. This can work the other way too – modern clean lines don’t have to be reserved for interiors. Manicured topiary, sculptural pots and rendered walls create a striking effect, that feels like a room outside.

By Maria & Gavin, garden designers in Elmbridge, South-East


We love the minimalism in this garden design, creating a calm, de-cluttered space. Strong geometric gestures and bold lines are softened around the edges by low-level planting.

By Linsey, garden designers in Bracknell, South-East

Contemporary country garden

Modern doesn’t have to mean minimal of course. This modern twist on the English country garden has curved bench seating and architectural elements.

By Patricia, garden designer in Essex

Growing low

The expansive nature of this garden is emphasised by the low-level planting, paving and water feature. This makes the garden feel open, light and spacious and the water feature provides soothing sounds.

By Joanne, garden designer in Leicestershire

Serene green

This garden design is daringly simple, using a colour palette of green planting only and playing with different shapes of leaves and textures. It looks incredibly striking against these beautiful blue concrete planters.

By Denise, garden designer in Ealing, London

A place to relax

This garden is designed around the owner’s desire to entertain and relax on a summer’s day.

By Denise, garden designer in Ealing, London

Creating ‘rooms’

One modern garden design trend is to create a series of ‘rooms’ in a garden, allowing you to appreciate different aspects and functions as you wander around. This is an excellent idea if you have a relatively small area as it allows you to focus on and appreciate each nook of your garden.

By Daryl, garden designer in Gravesham, Kent

Bright, bold and beautiful

Just wow! This modern garden design is fun, playful and bursting with character.

By Dru, garden designer in Bracknell Forest, South East

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25 of the best English gardens to visit

There’s a wealth of gardens to visit across England that can offer inspiration for planting and designing your own garden. From the classic gardens such as Great Dixter in East Sussex to more contemporary styles such as Bury Court in Surrey, there is a garden for every taste and style.

Many of these great English gardens have an impressive horticultural history, too. Eminent garden figures such as Vita Sackville-West, Christopher Lloyd and Gertrude Jekyll are a just a few influential characters that have put their stamp on some of the most-loved gardens in the UK. We asked garden designer and historian Penelope Hobhouse to choose 25 of her favourite gardens to visit throughout England.

Classic Gardens

The vegetable garden at Great Dixter is worth a visit at any time of the year. Photo: Andrew Montgomery.

1 Sissinghurst Castle

One of the most iconic gardens, created in 1930 by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson. It’s still almost perfect, although nowadays it is more manicured to cope with huge public interest.

Sissinghurst Castle, Nr Cranbrook, Kent TN17 2AB
Tel 01580 710700


2 Chelsea Physic Garden
Founded in 1673 as an apothecary’s garden, in a warm microclimate by the river Thames, to train apprentices in medicinal plants. Still on a grid system with order beds and many unusual plants.

Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS
Tel 020 7352 5646

3 Great Dixter
Famous garden of late plantsman Christopher Lloyd. The house and garden were originally restored by Lutyens in the 1920s to create a series of enclosures and garden themes. Unusual, sometimes outrageous, colour schemes, with contrasting formal and informal areas. Interesting plants throughout in the Lloydian tradition continually expanded by head gardener Fergus Garrett.

Great Dixter, Dixter Road, Northiam, Rye, East Sussex TN31 6PH
Tel 01797 252878

4 Hidcote Manor
Lawrence Johnson’s influential early 20th-century garden became a model for many other gardens. Beginning in 1907, Johnson used his artist’s eye to create ‘a cottage garden on the most glorified scale’. Today it’s a little old but remains essential visiting.

Hidcote Manor, Hidcote Bartrim, Nr Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6LR
Tel 01386 438333

5 The Courts
Built around an early 18th-century house, this is another Hidcote-themed garden, but on a smaller scale. Strong Arts and Crafts atmosphere with yew topiary, water features and cottage garden planting. There are many good plants and ideas abound.

The Courts, Holt, Nr Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 6RR
Tel 01225 782875

Plantsmen’s Gardens

At Stone House Cottage Garden in Worcestershire, the nursery plants are grown in sheltered beds so you can admire them in situ before you buy. Photo: Jason Ingram

6 Tresco Abbey
First established by the Isles of Scilly Lord Proprietor Augustus Smith in 1834. A warm climate for tender plants on a terraced hillside, protected from salt winds by pine windbreaks and stone walls. Unusual plants are the key here making it a feast for the plantsman.

Tresco Abbey Garden, Isles of Scilly TR24 0QQ
Tel 01720 424108

7 Coleton Fishacre
An Arts & Crafts garden created in 1925 in this sheltered seaside valley. Microclimatic sites for astonishingly beautiful and rare tender plants.

Coleton Fishacre, Coleton, Kingswear, Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 0EQ
Tel 01803 842382

8 Special Plants
Nursery and garden with many rare plants and a garden laid out by Derry Watkins and her architect husband to demonstrate their use. A magical place.

Special Plants, Greenways Lane, Cold Ashton, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN14 8LA
Tel 01225 891686

9 Stone House Cottage
A garden with walls and sheltered beds specially created to show off nursery plants. A rewarding visit to admire and buy.

Stone House Cottage, Nr Kidderminster, Worcestershire DY10 4BG
Tel 07817 921146

10 Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
This microclimatic garden by the seashore is protected by belts of evergreen oak. The garden is a haven for unusual tender species, and features an interesting plant centre.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Nr Weymouth, Dorset DT3 4LA
Tel 01305 871412

11 The Beth Chatto Gardens
Superb and influential gardener Beth Chatto is responsible for all our current ideas on plant husbandry and suitability, as well as being a supreme garden artist. Splendid nursery of unusual plants.

The Beth Chatto Gardens, Elmstead Market, Colchester, Essex CO7 7OB
Tel 01206 822007

Formal and Landscape Gardens

This impressive sunken garden at Boughton House in Northamptonshire is the work of Kim Wilkie. Photo: Jason Ingram.

12 Stourhead
The most beautiful watery landscape in the country. The brainchild of the banker Henry Hoare, begun in the 1740s and enhanced by deciduous tree plantings and 19th-century conifers.

Stourhead, Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 6QH
Tel 01747 841152

13 Boughton House
In 2010, the 10th Duke of Buccleuch invited Kim Wilkie to augment the early French-style layout with an imaginative and beautiful inverted sunken pyramid of grass based on the legend of the descent of Orpheus into the Underworld.

Boughton House Park, Kettering, Northamptonshire NN14 1BJ
Tel 01536 515731

14 Buscot Park
Harold Peto’s formal vista – a series of box-edged Italianate terraces and narrow canals – is a masterpiece, linking formal gardening with the softer landscape beyond the lake.

Buscot Park, Faringdon, Oxfordshire SN7 8BU
Tel 01367 240786

15 Hestercombe House
Two extraordinary restored historic landscapes. The first is an 18th-century park designed by Copleston Warre Bampfylde, with numerous follies, a grand cascade and a pond. The second is one of the most celebrated Lutyens/Jekyll gardens, with formal stonework, rills and Jekyll colour schemes, designed between 1904 and 1906.

Hestercombe House, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset TA2 8LG
Tel 01823 413923

16 Iford Manor
This Italianate garden, designed for himself by Harold Peto from 1899, is on a steeply terraced slope above and beside a house that gazes over the River Frome. The whole ensemble makes a perfect composition, an evocative balance between steps, stone, walls and quiet planting of evergreens.

Iford Manor, Iford, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire BA15 2BA
Tel 01225 863146

17 Levens Hall
The best-loved topiary garden in England, although originally conceived by a Frenchman, Guillaume Beaumont, in 1694. Today rich in immaculate topiary forms and splendid new herbaceous borders.

Levens Hall, Kendal, Cumbria LA8 0PD
Tel 015395 60321

18 Rousham House
An iconic place of pilgrimage for both historians and the casual visitor, the landscape was designed by William Kent between 1737 and 1741.

Rousham House, Steeple Aston, Bicester, Oxfordshire OX25 4QU
Tel 01869 347110

19 Westbury Court
A beautiful formal Dutch-style water garden created from 1696. Light-reflecting canals lined by formal walls and hedges mark out an inspirational pattern, enlivened by plants authentic to the early period.

Westbury Court, Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire GL14 1PD
Tel 01452 760461

Modern Gardens

The contemporary walled garden at Bury Court in Surrey has been designed by acclaimed Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf.

20 Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden
Special artist’s garden displaying bold plants and sculptures created from 1949. Images to stimulate the senses.

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, Barnoon Hill, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1TG
Tel 01736 796226

21 Cothay Manor
Enchanting well-stocked garden with strong architectural features surrounding a medieval house. Interesting formal layout smothered with soft flowing plants.

Cothay Manor, Greenham, Nr Wellington, Somerset TA2 10JR
Tel 01823 672283

22 Denmans
The garden of the late designer John Brookes now owned by the John Brookes-Denmans Foundation and recently reopened and highlighting John’s eclectic style, combining straight lines alongside more informal, more natural planting schemes. Many lessons to be absorbed here.

Denmans, Fontwell, Nr Arundel, West Sussex BN18 0SU
Tel 01243 278950

23 Herterton House
An astonishing private garden created in 1975, with a series of maze-like enclosures lined with box, inspired by Mondrian and designed to look good in winter and summer.

Herterton House, Hartington, Nr Cambo, Northumberland NE61 6BN
Tel 01670 774278

24 Shute House
A modest-sized masterpiece by Geoffrey Jellicoe, created in 1968, but timeless in atmosphere. Jellicoe incorporated distant views over the downs. Pools and descending rills are hidden in thick planting, introducing surprise elements. Open by appointment only.

Shute House, Donhead St Mary, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 9DG
Tel 01935 814389

25 Bury Court
Two separate gardens respectively by Piet Oudolf (1995) and Christopher Bradley-Hole (2001). Oudolf in his typical exuberant style plants sustainable perennials while Bradley-Hole has a more formal architectural approach.


Bury Court, Nr Bentley, Hampshire GU10 65LZ.
Tel 07771 663437

Please check all opening times carefully with each individual garden before visiting. Also take note of any special events that might be taking place.

extremely well zoned urban garden with a beautiful pond

Those of you who doesn’t live in suburbs or somewhere in a forest might still want to have a beautiful garden in your backyard – we’re here to help. Small urban gardens could be used as for growing vegetables as for simply relaxing outdoors. A city garden needs a careful planning but can become an awesome outdoor “room”. We’ve already shared with you amazing urban terraces and now we’re going to show you some amazing ideas for small urban gardens.

In order to make the most out of your outdoor space, we recommend you to use planters that can be moved, hanging planters, window boxes, allow your trees grow through your terraces and porches, decorate your fence or even hang some shelves to display plants or some garden decor on them. Below you’ll find plenty of clever and cool ideas for a small garden no matter where it’s located. Although if you need some inspiration for a small balcony garden you can visit our friends at DigsDigs.

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small but very modern urban garden with concrete pavers

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lovely small french-style garden design

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beautiful veggie garden

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super tiny garden with trees and shrubs in planters

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small urban backyard that features a nice pool with a terrace

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clever lighting is very important for a small backyard

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if your backyard is small than think about creating two storey outdoor area

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small garden could be used as an outdoor cinema

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trimming shrubs is very important in small city gardens

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if your backyard is small you can cover it with terrace wood

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clever zoning is a must for small gardens

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backyard landscaping is quite easy for urban gardens cuz a lot of space is occupied by a terrace or a porch

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even when you garden is small it need to provide some shade for your relaxation

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it’s always a good idea to surround your outdoor dining area with lots of greenery

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small backyard pond is a cool thing to have in any garden

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gathering with friends outdoors is great if you have comfortable seating there

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Don’t worry if your urban backyard is on sloping slope. With careful planing and landscaping it could look even more awesome than traditional gardens

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every urban garden should feature a bbq area

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water features could make any garden more cool

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In small urban gardens you should use every inch of space. Vertical gardening is always a great solution in this case.

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if you have kids – don’t forget about play areas for them

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in small urban gardens it’s always a good idea to occupy space near walls with thin trees

How to design a small urban garden in six steps

Marie Viljoen knows a thing or two about gardening in tight spaces. After all, her first terrace in Brooklyn measured just 66 square feet, yet she managed to turn the sliver of a room into an outdoor oasis with a small grill, a table and chairs, and dozens of plants: roses, herbs, figs, lilies, strawberries, vines, and more. Her micro garden grew into a blog and a book, both named after the tiny terrace’s size. Here, Viljoen shares her time-tested strategies for small urban gardens.

There is very little as luxurious in a city as coming home to your own green retreat where you can smell the roses. Or pick the blueberries. Or dine beneath the light-polluted stars while watching a migrating hummingbird feeding on scarlet runner bean flowers.

Each outdoor space is unique, with attendant challenges and possibilities, but this six-step guide will give you a sound strategy for tackling the creation of your leafy refuge.

1. Create a blueprint for your garden

Measure your space. Then draw it on graph paper or touchscreen. It does not have to be pretty, but the scale must be accurate. For printed portability it is best if the sketch fits onto a standard sheet of paper (8.5″ x 11″). Convert each linear foot to a scale that will fit on the paper. A half or quarter inch per foot is easy.

Now that you are looking at it objectively, you can see how and where things will fit.

2. Allocate space

How will you use this garden? Are you going to eat meals there? Barbecue? Grow fruit and flowers? What about storage?

Once you know what you want, add your stuff to the sketch: a table, seating, a barbecue. Planters. A shed. How big is the table, and how wide those chairs? Draw them to scale. Consider furniture that does double duty—a table that doubles as a stool or plant stand—and pieces that can be folded up and moved out of the way.

3. Incorporate hardscaping

What does your space need, in terms of construction? Be realistic about what is essential for safety, or for building codes.

Aesthetic elements such as fences, decks, and stonework will depend on your budget. Professional hardscaping is expensive, but the chances are good that it will be done well and will last many years.

Two caveats: Place nothing on an unprotected roof membrane and never block the drain.

For simpler fixes, like hiding ugly chain-link, go it alone. Birch or bamboo poles make an effective screen doubling as a trellis for climbers. You hate the floor tiles? Cover them with landscape fabric and an inch of pea gravel or crushed stone. The walls are a blah beige? Paint them turquoise or cerise; in a small space color is very big.

Is there a water source? You will need one. Hauling a watering can from the kitchen is not all it’s cracked to be.

Marie Viljoen

4. Know your climate and sun exposure

Choosing appropriate plants for your garden, no matter what size, is all about location.

The U.S. is divided into USDA Plant Hardiness Zones. Plants are hardy to a zone that defines how much cold they can withstand. Knowing your zone allows you to choose the right plants for your region and ensure they thrive in your available space.

In cities, even southern exposures might mean full shade, cast by the building across the street. Establish how much direct sun your garden receives; different plants require different light. Don’t guess: observe and record. Even in a small space, one side of your garden might be different from another. Also pay attention to the wind; rooftops and balconies often endure heavy wind gusts that can wreak havoc on many plants.

5. Choose plants that work together and fit your climate

Add plants to your sketch using color markers.

In horticultural literature and on plant labels, plants are described as suitable for full sun (six-plus hours of direct sun); semi-shade (three to six hours of direct or intermittent sun); or full shade (no direct sun). Based on your note-keeping choose plants best suited to your exposure and micro-climate.

A collection of plants that blooms or produces throughout the growing year is more compelling than one where it all fizzles out after spring. Choose plants for different bloom times as well as for interesting texture and foliage. Vary heights by using different size pots as well as a mix of annuals, perennials and shrubs. Repeat some plants several times (odd numbers look more natural), to weave the scheme together.

After the 66-square-foot terrace, Viljoen enjoyed a more spacious garden at her Harlem apartment. She and her husband have since moved back to Brooklyn. Marie Viljoen

Some plant basics to keep in mind when making selections for your garden:

  • Annuals last one growing season and die in winter. They pack punch, and are an excellent seasonal fix for tight spaces.
  • Perennials are herbaceous plants that live longer than a year, blooming for two to six weeks.
  • Shrubs are woody plants that can be annual or perennial in your zone. Choose them for bloom-time, fruit, and structural interest.
  • Climbers expand cramped spaces by taking interest up. They double as green screens. They can be annual or perennial, and they are great for maximizing greenery in a tight space
  • Trees (small and medium) perform well in small gardens and require larger containers. Every few years containerized trees benefit from a root-pruning, to prevent girdling.

6. Choose the right containers

You will need them, unless you’re gardening in-ground. Almost anything is a suitable planting container, as long as it has drainage holes. If weight is an issue on a rooftop, go light with plastic, metal, fiberglass or grow bags. Wood, terracotta, and concrete are fine if weight is of no consideration.

Container size depends on the plants. Annuals can thrive in as little as 4″ in diameter. Perennials need more room– 10″ and upwards. Shrubs, 16″ and up. Small trees, 20″ and larger. Your local nursery will be invaluable in helping you make the right choices. Keep in mind that if your garden is located on a wind-swept balcony, larger containers are less likely to topple over than many small containers, so consider grouping plants rather than individually potting each one.

Small urban garden design – garden design ideas for modern

Urban gardens are the only way to feel more closely connected to nature for many urban dwellers. Some people use to grow food, other people for recreation and entertainment. In any case, the small balcony or rooftop garden is practical, functional and easy to maintain. Who wants to make a small urban garden, may take a look at the pictures shown here, and be inspired.

Elegant organize the roof terrace – urban garden design

Urban gardens are a global trend. The development of the modern city requires a new ecological consciousness. You ever think of alternatives to improve its environment. He aspires to a healthier lifestyle and better dining options. There are more and more initiatives to develop urban agriculture and urban ecology. Not everyone is not least one of the owners happy garden. Those who have only a few square meters on the balcony could be designed with the help of a few pots a reizvoillen. Garden only a pair of beautiful flowers transform the balcony in a much more pleasant place to relax. For those who have a roof terrace or patio, there are relatively more design options.

Small urban garden design – modern and easy to maintain

Landscaping – 100 photos, beautiful gardening ideas and styles

To take full advantage of the space, we can think of a vertical design upper chamber. Vertical gardens are not only fashionable, but also very practical. They can serve as room layout and separate areas on the roof, for example, define the patio or lounge dining room or barbecue. If you want to create an attractive urban garden, you could organize planter interesting look of stone or modern design. Even small trees can be grown in pots.

Planning and garden design – Urban Gardening

To create a small oasis in the garden where you can isolate yourself from the hustle and bustle of the big city, you also need the matching living room furniture. Doing urban garden is a pleasant pastime.

Types of gardens

Flower gardens

Though flower gardens in different countries may vary in the types of plants that are grown, the basic planning and principles are nearly the same, whether the gardens are formal or informal. Trees and shrubs are the mainstay of a well-designed flower garden. These permanent features are usually planned first, and the spaces for herbaceous plants, annuals, and bulbs are arranged around them. The range of flowering trees and shrubs is enormous. It is important, however, that such plants be appropriate to the areas they will occupy when mature. Thus it is of little use to plant a forest tree that will grow 100 feet (30 metres) high and 50 feet across in a small suburban front garden 30 feet square, but a narrow flowering cherry or redbud tree would be quite suitable.

Butchart Gardens: Italian GardenItalian Garden at Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.© 2009fotofriends/.com

Blending and contrast of colour as well as of forms are important aspects to consider in planning a garden. The older type of herbaceous border was designed to give a maximum display of colour in summer, but many gardeners now prefer to have flowers during the early spring as well, at the expense of some bare patches later. This is often done by planting early-flowering bulbs in groups toward the front. Mixed borders of flowering shrubs combined with herbaceous plants are also popular and do not require quite so much maintenance as the completely herbaceous border.

Groups of half-hardy annuals, which can withstand low night temperatures, may be planted at the end of spring to fill gaps left by the spring-flowering bulbs. The perpetual-flowering roses and some of the larger shrub roses look good toward the back of such a border, but the hybrid tea roses and the floribunda and polyantha roses are usually grown in separate rose beds or in a rose garden by themselves.

hybrid tea roseHybrid tea rose.Patrick Johns/Corbis

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