5 Ways To Design With Roses

5 Ways To Design With Roses

5 Ways To Design With Roses

From bud to bloom to falling petals, no garden, from cottage to contemporary, is really complete without at least a few of these dreamy flowering shrubs. A variety of growth habits, sizes, colors, and textures means there’s at least one that can fill any niche in the home landscape. And, breeders have made improvements in disease resistance so they’re less work, too. Here are five of our favorite ways to use them.



Sure you could plant an evergreen or conifer, but taller shrub roses planted close together make a beautiful and effective hedge to create privacy or to define property lines. Lower growers are spectacular used to outline a path or to divide one part of the garden from another.

The secret to a dense hedge is planting shrubs closely, about 2′ to 3′ apart on center.

Here are three to try:


Candy Cane Cocktail™ Rose

Parade of abundant flower clusters (white petals that gradually intensify to a deep pink with red edges) provide season-long color. Full sun. Up to 4′ tall. Zone: 5 – 9

Grace N’ Grit™ Yellow Shrub Rose

Outstanding disease resistance and proven to thrive coast to coast in heat and humidity as well as dry, hot summers. Full sun. Up to 5′ tall. Zone: 4 – 9

Tahitian Treasure™ Rose

Deep-salmon blooms contrast beautifully against the dark green, semi-glossy foliage on an upright, bushy habit. Full Sun. Up to 6′ tall. Zone 5 – 9



Roses can play a supporting role, too. Look for taller varieties to add height and scale to the back of a border, and free-flowering, mid-sized shrubs to amp-up the summer show of mixed evergreen foundation plantings.

Get a power-planted look by massing two or more groups of 3 roses in a long border or along the foundation. 

These are fat and sassy:


Honey Nectar™ Grandiflora Rose

Continuous bloom with clean, glossy, dark green foliage that’s more resistant to hot, humid temperatures. Great for the back of a border. Full sun. Up to 5′ tall. Zone 5 – 9

Grace N’ Grit™ Red Shrub Rose

Upright bouquets of fully-double, red roses on fuss-free shrubs that endure long, hot summers with unwavering blooming zeal. Full sun. Up to 5′ tall. Zone 4 – 9

Tequila Gold™ Rose

Splendid blooms are beautifully contrasted by dense foliage on a bushy, yet compact form with exceptional disease resistance. Full sun. Up to 6′ tall. Zone: 5 – 10



Climbers and ramblers add interest to otherwise plain walls and fences, and provide shady, flowery cover to arbors and pergolas. Use shorter varieties on smaller trellises, pillars, and obelisks.

The secret to getting the most from climbing roses is to plant a second kind of climber that blooms at a different time along with it at a ratio of 2-to-1 (two roses for every secondary vine). (Clematis, jasmine, even grapes, are good companions.)

These are long-legged beauties:


Cecile Brunner Climbing Rose

Tall, vigorous rose with small buds that open to fragrant, light pink, double blooms in large sprays. So romantic! Full sun. Up to 20′ long. Zone: 4 – 11

Crimson Sky™ Climbing Rose

Blooms early & continues throughout the warm season with fire-engine red flowers retaining vibrant color without fading. Full sun. Up to 12′ long. Zone: 5 – 10

White Lady Banks Climbing Rose

Blooms spring to early summer with clusters of fragrant blooms on thornless branches. Great for chain-link fences. Full sun. Up to 20′ long. Zone: 6 – 9



Whether one eye-popping large shrub in a large container, or one of the new compact roses alone or snuggled up with a mix of perennials or annuals, potted- up roses provide solutions for places where it’s difficult to plant such as hardscape or around swimming pools.

Roses set deep roots so be sure to provide a container that’s at least 18″ deep and repot with fresh soil every three years.

Perfect for pots:


Grace N’ Grit™ Pink BiColor Shrub Rose

Ideal for a large container–or a row of containers for a flowery privacy border. Full sun. Up to 5′ tall. Zone: 4 – 9

Sunrosa™ Soft Pink Shrub Rose

Sheer, soft pink semi-double blooms on a compact form combined with lacy foliage. Nearly carefree color for patio containers. Full sun. Up to 2 ft. tall. Zone: 4 – 10

Caramba® Shrub Rose

Compact and bushy, this will easily fill a medium-sized container for a nearly continuous display of bright orange-red color. Full sun. Up to 2 ft. tall. Zone: 5 – 9



Mass these surprisingly tough shrubs in that sunny space where other plants might struggle. Edge a driveway, surround a swimming pool, or cover a slope with groundcover roses that grow dense and help keep down weeds.

When using roses as groundcovers, remember to line the bed with weed-barrier fabric (available at garden centers) before planting and top with mulch. 

These are problem solvers:


Coral Drift® Groundcover Rose

Easy-care, vigorous and cold-hardy; Low spreading habit is perfect for smaller garden borders, or along paths. Full sun. Up to 2′ tall. Zone: 4 – 11

Flower Carpet® Amber Groundcover Rose

Peachy-amber blossoms are fragrant with excellent heat and humidity tolerance.  Full sun. Up to 3′ tall. Zone: 4 – 10

Flower Carpet® Appleblossom 

Don’t be fooled by delicate pastel-pink color! Exceptionally disease resistant, self-cleaning and simple to maintain. Full sun. Up to 2′ tall. Zone: 4 – 10

Keep Roses Happy

  • Start by choosing the right rose. A large shrub rose in a too-small container or a rambler on a less than sturdy pergola can be a battle not worth having.

  • Roses love to eat; feed them about 3 weeks after the first flush of leaves and again just after the first flowers have faded.

  • While tolerant of drier conditions in subsequent years, water regularly during the first season;1-inch per week per shrub depending on your soil.

  • Mulch like you mean it!  Apply 1-3 inches of well-aged organic mulch in spring and again in fall.

  • Major prune in winter or early spring (more here). but summer pruning can keep flowers coming on. Prune stems just above a set of five leaves.

By the way, I go with everything above!