• Types of Garden Plants to Bring Year-Round Interest to Your Yard

    The most successful gardeners know that an interesting garden is one that is home to many plant types. Each type of plant has a different job in the garden, whether it’s producing a rainbow of colourful flowers in summer or providing greenery and height interest in winter. Types of Garden Plants to Bring Year-Round Interest to Your Yard

    For instance, in England, Joe’s Blooms are providing tools for people to comply with the new ‘biodiversity net gain’ regulations and improve biodiversity across the country. The key to the perfect outdoor space is to ensure the different plant types complement each other and work together to create a garden that is not only unique but also has something to draw the eye in all seasons.

    Understanding the different types of outside plants available can help you choose the right ones for your garden to create a space you’ll want to spend time in all year round.

    Plant Type Groups Explained

    Plants can get broadly separated into main types, but some fit into 2 or more categories.


    Annual plants are usually the star of the garden during the summer months. They grow quickly, producing eye-catching blooms before dying off in autumn, as they only live for one growing season. Annuals are usually planted in flower beds, window boxes and containers, which they fill with beautiful flowers from late spring to mid-summer.


    Reaching around 6 feet tall, sunflowers are fast-growing annuals with large flowers of brilliant yellow on erect stems. They flower through late summer and early autumn. As you’d imagine, these cheerful blooms love bright conditions and prefer a sheltered south-facing spot where they can soak up the sun. Sunflowers are easy to grow and make a great project to get children interested in gardening.


    Perfect for planting in beds, window boxes, hanging baskets and pots, marigolds are the right plants for brightening up gardens with vivid orange and yellow blooms. Marigolds like to be positioned in full sun and need to be watered regularly in pots and containers. When planted in flower beds, these annuals often self-seed, which means if the seeds germinate, you may see another flourish the following year.


    Biennials are flowering plants that take 2 years to complete their growth cycle. The roots, stems, and leaves develop during the first growing season before the plant goes dormant to survive winter. The second growing season sees them bloom flowers and set seed then the plant dies towards the end of autumn.

    Sweet William

    Flowering from early spring through summer, sweet Williams feature long, slender leaves with erect stems bearing clusters of flower heads in shades of pink, purple, red and white. They prefer fertile, well-drained soil and grow best in a sheltered spot with plenty of natural sunlight. Sweet William is related to the carnation and shares the spicy fragrance of the herbaceous perennial.


    Famous for its tall spires of bell-shaped pink-purple blooms, foxglove is a popular choice for cottage gardens and informal settings. Foxgloves flower from spring through summer, and bees are highly attracted to the nectar-rich blooms. Plant foxglove in moist but well-draining soil in full or partial sun. Deadhead fading blooms if you don’t want the plant to self-seed.


    Perennial plant types have a longer lifespan than annuals and biennials, living for 3 years or more. Some may even last up to 30 years, making them a longer-term garden commitment.

    These plants split into 2 sub-categories: hardy perennials and half-hardy perennials. The former are cold-hardy and can remain outdoors during the winter. Half-hardy perennials need additional frost protection or be brought indoors as the temperature drops.


    A rose is instantly recognisable as a classic garden flower. Roses bloom from early summer in an array of hues, from pastel apricot shades to vivid red flowers. Rose plants are hardy perennials that can cope with cold winter temperatures before bursting back to life the following spring.

    Butterfly Bushes

    Boasting long spikes of bright flowers, the butterfly bush can be a deciduous shrub but falls into the hardy perennial category in cooler climates. Even in warmer regions, gardeners recommend that the plant gets pruned to the ground as it will grow back quickly in spring. The butterfly bush is easy to grow and flowers from late spring to late summer.

    Herbaceous Perennials

    Herbaceous perennials are deciduous plants that retreat underground for the winter before emerging again in early spring. These types of plants have non-woody stems that grow to their full height and flower every year, as if on repeat. Herbaceous perennials tend to be low-maintenance plant types. Generally, they only need the spent foliage to get pruned before winter.

    Black-Eyed Susan

    Getting its name from the flower’s striking deep brown centre, black-eyed Susans have bright yellow blooms that are a magnet for pollinators. They grow best in full sun in moist but well-drained soil.


    Verbena grows equally well in borders and containers, bringing a long-lasting flourish of pink, purple, red and white colours. The hardiness of verbenas depends on the variety, so check the plant tag at the garden centre to ensure the plant is well-suited to your garden. Vebenas love the sun and thrive in fertile, well-drained soil.

    Ground Cover Plants

    Ground cover plants do a great job hiding soil and bare spots in borders and flower beds. They are generally low-growing and help to keep weeds at bay.


    Succulents are unfussy plants, making them ideal for ground cover. Drought-tolerant and available in a range of colours, sizes and textures, succulents add interest to borders and beds and complement different plant types. A succulent is the ultimate low-maintenance plant. The fleshy leaves store moisture, which means the plant only needs to be watered during particularly dry spells.


    Many types of low-growing ferns are perfect for providing ground cover. Ferns cope well in shaded areas, making them ideal for planting underneath taller shrubs and trees. They are undemanding plants that don’t take much work to grow successfully. Dense fronds and intricate leaf patterns provide plenty of interest.


    Many types of herbs are perennials and will come back year after year, while others need replanting every season. Bees, butterflies and other pollinators are drawn to flowering herbs and help pollinate other nearby plants too. The concept of ‘grow-your-own’ has really taken off in recent years, and herbs are an easy way to grow culinary plants in small gardens.


    With tall stems bearing small purple flowers, lavender is a popular herb that grows well in beds and containers. Its highly fragrant flowers are added to cocktails, lamb dishes and teas as a garnish or for a more intense flavour. Lavender is a summer-blooming herb that produces stunning shades of purple in June and July.


    Planting mint in the garden not only allows you to add fresh mint to your culinary creations but also fills the outdoor space with a pleasant fragrance. There are lots of varieties to choose from, including peppermint, spearmint, strawberry mint and lemon mint, each with its own delicious scent. Mint plants produce small purple or white flowers in summer, attracting bees for pollination.

    Evergreen Shrubs and Trees

    Evergreen trees and shrubs keep their foliage through the winter and make a permanent garden focal point, looking much the same throughout the year. They are great for privacy and noise screening and are most welcome as a source of greenery in the colder months when the garden looks otherwise bare.


    One of the most famous evergreen shrubs in the world, holly is a distinctive garden plant with spiky leaves and bright red berries. They do best in well-drained, moist soil and prefer a spot where they can soak up the sun. Carefully consider where you plant holly, as it doesn’t like being transplanted once it’s in the ground.

    Bay Tree

    Left to their own devices, bay trees can grow to over 23 feet tall when planted in the ground. However, they also work well as ornamental trees planted in pots or containers. The dark green foliage responds well to pruning and can be trimmed into topiary shapes that look great on patios or flanking an entrance. Bay leaves are aromatic and are used in stews, soups, and curries.

    Deciduous Shrubs and Trees

    Japanese Maples

    Japanese maple trees are renowned for their year-round colour. They are easy to grow, slow-growing small trees with a graceful habit and stunning tones of green, gold, red and purple. The striking foliage really catches the eye in autumn, when it turns dramatic hues before the leaves fall for winter. While the tree is bare during the cold months, the bright red branches and stems retain some interest.


    Producing masses of large, showy blooms in shades of pink, blue and white from mid to late summer, hydrangeas are popular shrubs among gardeners. They come in many different types and can be used to brighten borders or planted in containers. Hydrangea shrubs prefer being planted in partial shade where the soil won’t dry out too quickly.

    Using a range of these plant types is the best way to achieve a perfect garden. Mixing and matching annuals with perennials, shrubs, and trees adds texture, colour, and height contrasts that provide interest throughout the year.

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