What makes a successful garden border?
A garden border bursting with colour, structure and texture is easy to achieve if you plan in advance. With a little research, and clever use of perennial plants, you can create a border that changes through the seasons to provide all year round interest.
Start by working out what type of soil you have and consider how much sun your border gets. This will help you choose the best plants for your growing conditions. Once you know which plants will thrive in your border, you can start to think about a cohesive colour scheme and adding plants of different heights.
How deep should I make a new garden border?
It’s important to consider the size and shape of your border to get the correct proportions. As a general rule of thumb, the longer the border, the deeper it should be. Shorter borders usually start at about 90cm deep but expand to 2.5m deep if they’re super long. Remember that you don’t need to stick to straight lines. Adding some curves can transform the overall effect.
What plants should I put in a garden border
Borders work best when they contain a mixture of garden shrubs, perennials and annuals. If you already know that some plants and flowers thrive in your garden, add them to the shortlist! If you’re not confident in designing a scheme, try one of the perennial collections put together by our professional head gardener.
How do you arrange plants in a border?
To fill a new border, it helps to think about the space in terms of a front, middle and back. This will help you to choose plants of different heights and arrange them to best advantage. Once you’ve worked out a broad structural framework, be sure to look for some seasonal accents to create different wow-factors throughout the year.
What are the best low-maintenance perennials for a border?
For a cohesive design, choose a limited number of your favourite hardy perennials and repeat them in groups of 3-5 along the border. If you cram too many different types of plants into one space, it becomes overly busy and loses its impact. Some good easy-care perennials for borders include:
- Tall perennials: Alceas, Delphiniums, Lupins and Verbena Bonariensis are great low-maintenance choices for the back of your border.
- Mid-sized perennials: Aquilegia, Coreopsis, Gaillardia, Sweet Williams and Penstemons.
- Front of border perennials: Scabiosa, Salvia ‘New Dimensions’ and Silene.
How to plan a perennial border colour scheme
Colour is the fun part of garden design and your perennial border provides plenty of opportunity to make a statement. Whether you go for gentle pastel colours, a modern single colour palette, or a cheerfully vibrant clash, the colour scheme deserves careful consideration.
Lighter colours like white and pink make a small space look bigger while red and orange can bring the space in. Striking colours like blue, purple or yellow can be exquisite when meticulously placed, but if you overdo it, they can lose their wow factor.
How and when to plant perennials
The best time to plant perennials is in spring (March - May) or autumn (September - October). This helps them to get established while the soil is warm and moist. In summer the weather can be too hot and dries up the soil, meaning plants will struggle and you’ll need to water them a lot.