Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Backyard landscaping plans and designs.

Rose Garden Design Ideas

May 8th, 2009 · 1 Comment

From the simple cottage rose garden to an estate-style design the rose fits any garden size.

Types of roses

Not every rose will grow everywhere, but this much-loved flower has inspired much experimenting with cross-breeding and there are species available for almost any climate. Because the topic is so broad, we’ve listed only a few outstanding varieties here.

Hardy and/or late blooming

  • Hawkeye Belle (shrub rose)
    While most roses need protection in USDA zone 5, the Buck rose variety does not, although some protection in zone 4 is advisable. In order for these roses to be ready to overwinter in zones 4 and 5 they should be planted by June 15th.
  • R. rugosa.
    Also known as the Japanese Ramanas rose , this is one hardiest of roses around. It can survive temperatures as low as -50° F and is also remarkably drought-tolerant. In addition, the flowers produce a strongly fruity aroma and the hips are some of the showiest of any known rose.
  • R. sempervirens
    This wild Italian Rose offers delicate polished that stay green for the better part of the winter.
  • R. carolina
    A rose that blooms in late summer and autumn.


    Those climbing roses whose names start with ‘Climbing’ or ‘Cl’ are sports (that is, genetic mutations of the bush varieties with the same name). Climbing roses whose names do not contain ‘Climbing’ or ‘Cl’ are cross-breeds. Cl climbers produce an abundance of blooms in spring and scattered blooms all summer long. Moreover, their flowers often larger and of higher quality than those of bush roses.

  • CL Iceberg
    This rose can reach up to 10 feet tall and in spring is produces an abundance of pure white, semi-double blooms on stems that are nearly thornless. Unfortunately, though, it can be rather difficult to find.
  • Dizzy Heights (FRYblissful)
    Produces idyllically shaped blooms in red-pink to deep scarlet blooms. The foliage that starts off reddish and matures to a deep, glossy green. This rose is also highly disease resistance.

  • Praire rose (R. setigera)
    This spring-bloomer with pink-magenta single blooms works well trained on pillars.
  • Cherokee rose (R. lavigata)
    Good pillar or climbing rose for mild climates, with glossy leaves and large white flowers densely arranged on garland-like canes. It’s a fast grower and in some areas can become invasive — even climbing utility poles and reaching up into the lines. However, this growth pattern also makes it a good screening plant.
  • Memorial rose (R. wichuraiana)
    A vigorous trailing species with small, polished, deep green leaves and delicate white flowers. This rose is popularly used as a ground cover, as well.
  • Himalayan rose (R. macrophylla)
    A handsome, tall growing Rose with many large, full-pink flowers and does well on pillars.

Miniature (teas)
Despite being temperamental and disease-prone, these roses remain favorites with many gardeners.

  • Apricot twist
    Idyllically formed, fragrant, full double blooms in an unusual apricot-amber. It’s also relatively hardy and can tolerate underwatering and minimal spraying.
  • Galaxy
    Velvety, deep red buds open into exhibition shaped blooms. This one will provide you with plenty of blooms all season.
  • Peaches ‘n’ Cream
    A vigorously growing rose whose pale pink flowers produce a slight fragrance.

Roses with Unusual Colors

  • Green ice
    Blooms in a pale shade of mint green. However, in some specimens the flowers are simply white so careful selection is necessary.
  • Julia’s rose
    Strikingly usual and elegant blooms of copper and parchment tan shades blended with soft pink. This is a demanding rose that’s slow to get established and picky about soil and drainage.

Highly Fragrant Roses

  • Velvet Fragrance (hybrid tea)
    Very possibly the most fragrant of all deep red roses. Large, beautifully-shaped double blooms of rich, velvety long-lasting red.
  • ‘Mr. Lincoln’
    Another rich red rose, this plant also produces a powerful damask fragrance.
  • Darlows’s Enigma
    The rich, sweet scent of this rose’s wild rose-like blooms can sometimes be smelled from 10 feet away.

Ramblers are not a separate species, but are a group of vigorous climbers that bloom usually once a year, usually in great profusion. These are the stately magnificent, climbing roses seen in the paintings of Victorian England or in photos of some of today’s English gardens growing over archways or climbing up the walls of houses, or near cottage doorways and garden entrances. They can also be trained to climb into trees or to cover small buildings, accenting entryways, fences, patio coverings, porches, pergolas and gazebos. They can be used effectively to hide architectural eyesores.

  • Paul’s Himalayan Musk
    Fully double, rosette blooms of lovely, soft, blush-pink, borne in sprays, with each bloom standing out as an individual. The sprays are pendulous, swaying gracefully in gentle breezes. Works grown into a tree.
  • R. moschata (R. Brunoni)
    A rambling Himalayan Rose offering plenty of clustered white blooms and bluish foliage. Works well trained to ramble through trees and larger shrubs. Fragrant, white flowers in trusses. Mid-July onwards. Dense growth with gray foliage.
  • R. Banksiae
    A rambling Chinese Rose without prickles, most often used in the double yellow form.

Old World Roses

  • R. damascena (Damask)
    A good old garden Rose of eastern origin that comes in red, white and striped.
  • R. mollis pomifera
    The apple-bearing Rose of older gardens. Produces pink flowers, bluish foliage, and large, attractive hips.
  • R. alba
    This double-bloom, white cottage-garden rose with bluish foliage.
    Maiden’s Blush and Celeste are among its garden varieties. ALthough not considered a real species, the name is usually accepted in botanical classification.
  • R. gallica
    This and the damask rose are no doubt the ancestors of the modern Hybrid Perpetuals. They are the type of most of the older garden Roses.
  • Moss roses
    The traditional roses of Victorian England, moss roses are actually
    Centifolia Roses and Damasks that have developed a distinctive fragrant moss-like growth on the sepals, adding great elegance to the flowers.
  • La Ville de Bruxellesa
    Exceptionally beautiful damask rose. One of the most sublime of old roses.

Planting design

If your climate allows for it, choose a variety of rose shapes and growing patterns. Up-right bush roses can be used in pairs to mark entryways or edge paths.

Climbers can be trained over an arbor arcing over an entryway, statue, or seating area. For an estate-style design use a geometric layout and incorporate trelliswork, brick paving, and comfortable seating.


A bit of planning will help fit in all the varieties of roses you want, particularly if you want to create an entire rose garden rather than just add a few roses here and there.

A simple way to plan is with a map of the garden and circles of paper representing each rose. Coins of different sizes can be used to make circles on paper that can be cut our and labeled. When labeling, use an inventory system that makes sense to you, whether that’s dividing the garden in to quadrants or simply giving each rose name an acronym.

When you’re ready to design, place the circles on a large computer-made or hand-drawn blueprint of the garden until you get an arrangement that suits you.

Unique rose garden ideas

For portable roses keep teas in pots that can be kept on the patio or garden table in summer and taken indoors to overwinter.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Pamela Tew // Jun 24, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I have a very small garden. The rear fence belonging to my neighbour is 6′ chain link not very attractive. I should like to have timber posts with rope between and grow roses to screen. I need to source good timber and also quality rope, which I hope to find at a ships chandlers. Can you advise me on the distance between posts and a supplier for the eyelets for the rope.
    Also, best varieties of roses.

    Many thanks Pamela

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