A few years ago Dean and I visited a historic home in England with the most amazing rose garden. I remember how before I walked into the Rose garden I started smelling the most incredible scent. As I walked through the walled garden gate I saw the incredible colours of all the bloom and that was the moment I decided to create a rose garden where I could sit and enjoy my book and a cup of tea.
We spent weeks doing research on how to create a quintessential British rose garden without having to hire any professional help and doing the work ourselves. The beauty of a rose garden is, that you can adapt it to any garden.
Before any project starts we always ensure that we have all the tools that we need, that is why we went to ManoMano as they have everything that you need for any project at great prices so you don’t need to be shopping around. After 10 minutes shopping we were set to start.
What you’ll need
- Hedge trimmer
- Wood chipper
- Pen & paper
- Tape measure
- Spray paint
- Hand spade
- Mortar (optional)
- Garden or path edging (optional)
9 easy steps to creating a beautiful rose garden
1- Decide the location
The fundamental step is to decide where would you like to have a rose garden. This step is rather important as you need to consider not only the amount of sun that the garden will be getting but consider how the space will flow. All roses grow best in full sun with moist, well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter. Make sure your roses get at least 6 hours of direct sun a day; if they get less light, the plants won’t bloom as well and will be more susceptible to attack from pests and diseases.
2- Measure the site & design your layout
To design a good layout, it’s very important that you get pen, paper and a tape measure. You will want to draw up the shape of the area that will be the rose garden and measure it, write it all down on paper, as this will be crucial to start designing.
By now roses will probably be the only thing you are thinking about, you would have pinned lots of inspiration photographs, you will have an idea about colours, and you will overall have a good idea how you will want the overall scheme of your garden. This is the phase where you should take your time creating different options, create paths, write down measurements, and see what design you feel works best for the area and flows better within your garden.
3- Clear the Area
The back breaking work commences! If you, like us, have an area that has not been touched for many years you need to clear all the ground from brambles, nettles, etc. You’ll want to start with a blank canvas, which will help you bring your design to life. Trim any hedges that you have around so they don’t interfere later on. We used a variety of different tools that we purchased from ManoMano.co.uk to help us with the work. It is always worth treating yourself to tools and machines that will help you do the job better and faster, especially if you doing the work yourselves. Look at it as a sensible investment!
4- Work the Soil
The hard work continues! If you feel exhausted have a nice cup of tea and look back at the amount of work that you have already done, which is sure to bring your energy back in no time. Working the soil is very important; you want to turn it well so you can level it up and loosen it so when you start planting your new roses, so the roots don’t have to spend all their energy trying to break up the soil. You might find a lot of loose roots lying around as you cleared the area in step 4. This is completely ok; try to remove as much as you can. We used the wood chipper to break down bits of wood and create mulch for the rose garden.
We could not have done this job without the tiller. Turning the soil on a big patch takes patience and perseverance. But once you do it you will finally have the blank canvas you need.
5- Mark the Paths and Beds
Remember the design with the layout that you did? Now is the time to use it as we now start applying the drawing to create your rose garden! Start by measuring and marking where the paths will go, and where you will want the beds. To make your job a lot easier use pegs and string to mark the lines. When this is done you can mark the ground with spray paint, as this will enable you to remove the pegs and string and have a really good vision of the design. If you would like everything to be perfectly flat use a spirit level and ensure your string lines are level. Otherwise pull them tight and work with the falls of the land.
6- Install Path Edging
This is a personal design preference we decided to add to our rose garden design. We added victorian rope edging to make the space feel like it has always been there, a bit more of a vintage feel, and to better define the lines and paths. There are many creative options if you decide to put edgings!
Installing is not as daunting and difficult as it may seem. What you want to do is to use two pegs, one on each end of the border, and put a string connecting them both, ensure the string is tight and level. With a hand spade, dig a small trench underneath the string and start laying the edging to sit just below the string (we used the string as a marker of what height we wanted the edging), then fill the gaps with soil and press it.
We also mixed some mortar and put it along the lines to reinforce it but this is not a requirement and is completely optional.
7- Build and install your arches
Our rose garden design had to have some arches, it is a rose garden after all! We got ours from ManoMano.co.uk and its great fun to put them together as its very quick and you can place them wherever you want them to be.
We used simple metal arches and joined four together to build a central arbor in the centre of our rose garden.
By now your whole structure will be built and you will be dreaming about starting to plant!
8- Grass the paths
We wanted to have grass paths in our rose garden design to make it feel even more like a garden. Laying turf always instantly transforms and beautifies any space! Make sure that you have all the tools to maintain the grass afterwards, we got all ours from ManoMano and we opted for the battery powered ones.
9- Plant your rose beds
All the hard work has finally paid off! Now you finally start filling the beds with the roses that you have always wanted and continue to enjoy them for many years to come. The great thing about a rose garden is that you can get planting at any time of the year (except when it is very cold or there is frost on the ground). We used a high quality topsoil for planting. As roses prefer the soil to drain well, adding sand to your mix is always a good idea.