As the garden design chosen will impact on the health of your roses, the choice of position should be guided not only by aesthetical reflections but also by practical considerations.


Photo by Vera Bogaerts
Planning and Designing
your Rose Garden
Plant your roses together with other plants that will bloom at the same time and other, later, perennials. Daylilies, delphinium and lavander offer a particularly nice foliage in combination with roses.

Plant odd numbers of anything, five for small plants, three for medium-sized and one occasionally for one big specimen.
Design influences

It is certainly a good idea to visit rose gardens in your area (see: Famous rose gardens) to get some inspiration and general idea of the various ways roses can be presented and combined to form a harmonious entity.

Keeping the planting simple

Keep your choice focused to prevent a mixed planting from becoming too complex. Special care should be taken when grouping different varieties or species of roses together. This applies to foliage as well as color and shape of the flowers.
Lilly's Rose Garden - Ideas for planning and designing your Rose Garden
Red roses combined with blue Delphinium
Photo by Wolfgang Amri
Color and flower combinations
Beautiful American Rose Gardens
by Mary Tonetti Dorrahor,
Richard Felber

More information:
Finding successfull color combinations is probably the trickiest part of a harmonious rose garden design. Unless you are very comfortable with color mixing, we recommend not to plant roses close to plants that have yellow, orange, peach or salmon colored flowers when the roses are blooming. Nice rose color combinations are either, purple, rose, lilac and light yellow, or orange and deep yellow. Light orange and salmon colored roses also make a perfect match.
Roses in Modern Garden
by Sally Court

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With the wide selection of roses available it is wise to consult a good rose guide detailing the availability, stature and habit, usage, and disease susceptibility of each variety in various climates. English roses combine the fragrance and beauty of old roses and the frequent blooming habit of modern hybrids. Most of them are easy to grow in most climates and they form an ideal start to develop further combinations.

Practical Considerations

Air circulation and full sunshine are important for growing healthy roses. Roses should be planted where air circulation is not hampered by screens, walls, fences, buildings, hedges or other plantings.
Smith & Hawken: 100 English Roses for the American Garden
by Clair G. Martin (Author),
Saxon Holt (Photographer)

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They should receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight per day. Choose an area of your garden where the roses receive sunlight in the morning (bright afternoon sun may affect the color of the flowers and burn the leaves of some roses).

Roses are also particularly allergic to draught and the dripping of water on their leaves. Choose a part of your garden not overhung by trees, shrubs or other plants that can lead to rain drip. 

If you have a larger garden, you may want to group your roses in one area of your garden so as to form a separate rose garden. There are many advantages to creating a separate (enclosed) rose garden. When separated from the rest of the garden the design of the rose parterre can be adapted to the cultural needs of your roses and a separate, rose-friendly watering system can be reserved for that area. Indeed, roses should not be watered from the top as this tends to encourage the growth of leaf fungus and the appearance of pests. The garden hose, soaker or a drip watering system should be placed in the bed with the water running slowly. Also, remember that monocultural rose gardens can look very dull in Winter, so either reserve them to an area that is not visible from the house or mix them with evergreen, grey-leaved plants that will give that area a colored touch during the Winter months.
Recommended Reading
The Essential Garden Design Workbook
by Rosemary Alexander

A highly detailed design workbook especially intended for serious home gardeners, students of design, and professionals. Expertly written by Rosemary Alexander (the founder and principal of The English Gardening School),
More information:
The Rose in Literature
Botany of Roses
Roses around the World
Landscaping with Roses:
Gardens Walkways Arbors Containers
by Jeff Cox

More information:
Designing with Roses
Tony Lord

More information:
Garden Gallery: The Plants, Art, and Hardscape of Little and Lewis
by George Little, David Lewis

More information:
Unless otherwise specified photos on this page © Alessandro Carocci Buzi and Lilly's Rose Garden.
Rose Garden Design Patterns
Some rose varieties, such as 'The Fairy' or 'Max Graf' can be used as ground-cover plants.
Along a central path borders made of three rows of roses combined with low, grey-leaved plants or trimmed buxus produce a very nice visual effect.
Rose climbing up an olive tree.
Note the lavander at the base of the tree to protect the rose plant against upclimbing insects.
Photo Alessandro Carocci Buzi
For a larger rose garden preferably choose a pattern composed of geometric beds either stand-alone or arranged symmetrically along the borders, the main walk or any other central element of the garden. The geometric beds can in turn be separated by narrow paths within the pattern.
Choose larger rose groups rather than dividing up the space into numerous, small groups of roses. In a small garden, a single, central rose bed is a nice alternative.

Structures, such as gazebos, arbors, pillars and treillage will give a beautiful, romantic touch and break up the monotony.
Beautiful, ornamental garden with rose shrubs, a trimmed buxus and hornbeam hedge.
Photo by Vera Bogaerts
A rose arbor and picket fence in a country garden
Photo by Verena Matthew
Shrub roses or climbers can be planted along the perimeter of the garden.

Climbing roses can also be trained to climb up trees, such as olive trees or apple trees, provided these have been pruned in a shape that allows enough sunlight to reach the rose plant.
Rose climbing up a tree.
Photo Alessandro Carocci Buzi
Rose 'Dance de Feu' climbing up a Mediterranean pine
Photo: Alessandro Carocci Buzi
Photo by Mike Dabell