Before you plant a new garden, whether it is in the ground or in a container, think about the vibe you want to create. Rustic wildflowers? Bold tropical? Soothing Zen? Modern Contemporary? What color palette will best compliment this year’s outdoor activities? Here are some quick ideas to get you pointed in the right direction.

Cottage Garden

Think romance. Abundant masses of color and fragrance with plants growing freely, spilling over walls, containers and onto paths are hallmarks of the rustic cottage garden.

Get the Look: Plant lots of free-forming annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines and herbs for color and fragrance. Trellises, birdbaths and statuary complete the look. Plants to try: peonies, Russian sage, daisies, lavender, creeping thyme, hydrangeas, iris, lilacs, coneflowers, tall phlox, roses, false indigo, gay feather, Angelonia, cosmos, clematis, rose of Sharon.

Modern Contemporary

Think simple. Crisp, clean lines with an absence of clutter are an intrinsic part of contemporary design. Color and interest often come from plant foliage and shape rather than flowers. Gently clipped hedges, bold shapes, and striking specimens become part of the garden architecture. Natural materials, such as stone and wood, complement this look. Reflective pools add an element of relaxation.

Get the look: Select plants and garden containers and other accents with strong architectural elements. Plants to try: The Rising Sun redbud, Coral bark Japanese maple, yucca, cannas, red-hot poker, blue fescue, Karl Foerster grass, sedum, Emerald Green arborvitae, Sky Pencil holly, Green Velvet boxwood, coleus, elephant ears, sweet potato vine, yellowwood, agave, Blue Ice cypress, Degroots Spire arborvitae, Lysimachia.

Zen Garden

Think relaxation. Lush green plants and soft flower colors envelop you in calm and transport you to a place of tranquility. Water and windchimes are often an element.

Get the Look: Ferns, hostas, laurel, white or soft pink astilbe, camellia, brunnera, plumbago, white blooming hydrangea, styrax, Hummingbird clethra, inkberry, Japanese forest grass, foam flower, cranes bill, bellflower, white or soft pink azaleas, sarcococca, dogwood, Japanese maple, turtlehead.