Build an Island Bed in a Sea of Grass

What is an Island Bed?

At first glance, the name “island bed” might make you think of a hammock or other features commonly found on a tropical island. However, in gardening terms, an island bed is simply a stand-alone garden bed that is surrounded by grass or paving stones and can be viewed from all angles.

Benefits of an Island Garden Bed

An island bed allows you to break up a large expanse of lawn efficiently, adding curb appeal to your property. This type of garden bed can also be an attractive focal point, especially in a garden that lacks one. There are several benefits to having an island garden bed:

  • An island bed can offer a money-saving and low-maintenance solution for changing your landscaping theme without having to redesign your entire garden or yard.
  • Since most island garden beds are set at a distance from the house, you don’t have to worry about rainwater from eaves when it rains.
  • Maintenance tasks are easier to perform on an island garden bed because it is accessible from all sides.
  • The plantings in an island bed are usually exposed to light and air on all sides, which can promote even growth and make them stronger.
  • An island garden bed doesn’t require modifying an existing foundation planting, allowing you to experiment with different designs.

Basic Points You Need To Know When Designing an Island Bed

Did you know that an island bed set in the middle of a large expanse of lawn can create an illusion of space? Since island beds can be viewed from all sides, it’s important to keep some basic points in mind when designing your island beds.

  • Placement:

Before setting up your island bed, consider where you will be viewing it from. Will it be visible from all sides or just from one direction, such as the kitchen window? Also, consider whether you are trying to fill in an empty space or mask a view, such as your neighbor’s yard. If you have large trees on one side of the yard but nothing on the other, consider creating visual balance with your island bed. You can also set up an island bed following the natural contours of the land, such as on a slope.

  • Size and Shape:

The size and scale of your island bed are significant. Large or small, it depends on the size of your house and the size of your yard or garden. If it’s too small, it will disappear into the large yard, while if it’s too big, it will make your outdoor space look small. Too big island beds will also make it difficult to reach the center for weeding and pruning.

There are many different shapes you can choose for your island bed, such as round, square, rectangular, hexagonal, kidney-shaped, crescent-shaped, or any other way you like. A regular shape such as a circle, square, or rectangle is suitable for a formal garden or yard. Island beds can also be informal with free-flowing, curvy edges, and they also work well.

To help with the placement and size of your island bed, you can use a hose or flour to outline the size and shape of the bed on the lawn.

  • Soil Preparation:

It is important to prepare the soil before planting in your island bed. Consider adding organic matter to the soil to improve drainage, fertility, and soil structure. You can use compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure to add organic matter to the soil.

  • Plant Selection:

Choose plants that are appropriate for your climate, soil type, and light conditions. Consider the mature size of the plants and how they will fit in with the overall design of your island bed. You can also choose plants with different textures, heights, and colors to add interest to your island bed.

  • Maintenance:

Island beds require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. This includes weeding, pruning, deadheading, and watering. Consider using mulch to help retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.

  • Lighting:

You can also consider adding lighting to your island bed to enhance its beauty at night. This can be achieved through the use of spotlights, uplights, or string lights.

  • Accessories:

Finally, you can consider adding accessories to your island bed to add interest and personality. This could include sculptures, birdbaths, or garden ornaments. Just make sure that the accessories you choose complement the overall design of your island bed.

The island bed below is an inspiring example we found, take a look:

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See the Full Instructions for Build an Island Bed with Retaining Wall Bricks