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Colorful Fall Garden Bed

By: Eric FlynnEric Flynn
This easy-care garden plan is full of colorful fall foliage and flowers that give a stellar performance at the end of the growing season.

Fall Garden Bed Plan illustration by Carlie Hamilton: The planting around this flowering crabapple tree really shows off in fall.

Fall garden show-off

Why leave an ornamental tree standing all alone in your yard? Surround it with an island planting like this and you can guarantee a good look in every season without much work on your part! Fall is the perfect time to shop for and plant trees and shrubs — you might find great deals and get a good sense of each plant’s autumn display. Keep reading to learn more about this sunny planting that’ll tolerate well-drained to clay soil.

Plant a garden with multiseason interest

Although there is plenty of spring and summer interest here with the flowering crabapple, spirea and bush honeysuckle flowers and foliage, fall is when this bed reaches its peak. By then the foliage encore is in full swing, with deep red spirea, orange bush honeysuckle and yellow crabapple leaves. Add to that the bluebeard, dahlia, aster and black-eyed Susan flowers, and you have quite a show!

Pollinator magnet

Butterflies and bees flock to bluebeard and asters when they bloom in late summer and early autumn.

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Add bulbs for extra color in spring

For a splash of early spring color to precede the crabapple blooms, underplant the tree with pockets of early-blooming daffodils and grape hyacinths. Their relatively shallow planting depth won’t interfere with tree roots and they should naturalize quickly.

Easy-care fall color

This no-fuss group of plants doesn’t require a lot of work to stay looking good. Here are a few tips to keep this group of plants healthy:

  • Scratch some compost into the soil in spring
  • Apply a 2- to 3-in. layer of organic mulch to conserve water
  • Deadhead any spent blooms to keep things tidy
  • Remove any dead branches or stems from the tree or shrubs

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Fall garden bed plan lettered illustration by Carlie Hamilton:  Stone outcroppings interrupt the clean-cut edge of this kidney-shaped bed and help integrate the planting into the lawn.

Meet the plants in this colorful fall garden bed plan

Click through the slideshow to see more details about the plants used in this garden plan.

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Published: Sept. 25, 2018
Updated: Oct. 22, 2020

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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autumn beds borders fall garden design garden plan island bed plant recommendations

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