5 Ways To Design With Roses

Ah, 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. Their wide variety of growth habits, sizes, colors, and textures can fill any niche in the home landscape, and as breeders have made improvements in disease resistance, they’re less work, too. As long as the site is right, there is no reason you can’t have roses in all parts of your garden. Here are five of our favorite ways to use them.



Sure you could plant an evergreen or conifer, but taller shrub roses (such as Cloud Ten™ Climbing Rose which can be a shrub or climber) 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, not more than 2 ft.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 ft. tall. Zone: 5 – 9


White Out™ Rose

Ideal for a low hedge, check out this exceptionally disease resistant compact beauty with abundant, single white flowers. Full sun. Up to 3 ft. tall. Zone: 5 – 9


Gold Struck™ Grandiflora Rose

Clusters of large, golden yellow blooms with a subtle orange gradient make for a great hedge with the bonus of stellar cut flowers, too. Full Sun. Up to 6 ft. tall. Zone 5 – 9



Roses can play a supporting role, too. Look for taller varieties such as The Charlatan® Climbing Rose (which may be grown as a large shrub) 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 an “estate look” by massing not less than two groups of 3 roses in a long border or along the foundation. 

These are fat and sassy:

CP076177 - flowering rose

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 ft. tall. Zone 5 – 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 ft. tall. Zone: 5 – 10

Rosa 'Brilliant Pink Iceberg', syn 'Probric'

Brilliant Pink Iceberg Shrub Rose

Profuse cerise-pink and cream blooms on a nearly-thornless, disease resistant plant. Lovely massed with lavender. Partial to full sun. Up to 4 ft tall. Zone 5 – 9



Climbers and ramblers such as Eden Climber® Rose 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 tuteurs.

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, Rosa hybrid, at Monrovia Nursery Co.

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 ft. 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 ft. 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 ft. long. Zone: 6 – 9



Whether one eye-popping large shrub in a large container, or one of the new compact roses (such as Sweet Spot™ Peach Rose) 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 hardscaped areas 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:


Burgundy Iceberg Shrub Rose

Like a Goth version of the popular white iceberg, blooms are deep-purple with creamy accents. Partial to full sun. Up to 3 ft. tall. Zone: 5 – 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 (such as Flower Carpet® Pink Groundcover Rose) 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 with a low spreading habit is perfect for smaller garden borders, or along paths. Full sun. Up to 2 ft. tall. Zone: 4 – 11


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 ft. tall. Zone: 4 – 10


Rugostar® Raspberry 

A true groundcover version of the popular beach rose that blooms with clove-scented flowers throughout the warm months. Full sun. Up to 3 ft. tall. Zone: 4 – 9

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!

Blue Enchantress® Hydrangea

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