Original Designs

Inspirational Ideas

Creative Transformations

Original Designs

Inspirational Ideas

< Back
June, 2018

Beauty in the border

If you planned your borders last year, you'll be enjoying the fruits of your labour with succession planting for a long season of interest, shrubs for backbone structure and ornamental trees for height and impact. No? Don't worry, you're not alone. Here we outline some planting design tips to help you get your borders in tip-top shape.

Beautiful borders don't just happen: they are planned. The best time to take stock of your borders is during spring and summer when you can see what's working well, identify any problem areas and gaps that need to be addressed and make a plan to improve them. When you start to plan your border it's tempting to include every plant you love but a good rule of thumb to follow is 'less is more'. If you're an impulse buyer down at the local garden centre, edit your long list of plants down to maybe six or seven favourites that you know will work well together.

Key things to consider are the ultimate height and spread of the plant (making sure you allow plenty of room for it to grow into the space), fragrance, colour, length, and season, of interest. Also, think about the overall effect you are trying to achieve, for example a cottage garden versus a bold exotic garden, and combine plants that are best suited to your chosen theme. If you're a first-time gardener, try to stick with two or three main colours that complement each other and then add a few accents that pull the whole scheme together. If you're feeling adventurous adopt a scheme with bright contrasts or plants in shades of only one colour.

It's a good idea to map out your border on paper at first. Then working with the list of plants you have chosen, start by putting the tallest plants at the back of the border working towards the front where your lower-growing or edging plants can be positioned. Plant your selected perennials in groups of odd numbers, such as three, five and seven. This will create a more visually impactful scheme than planting in ones and twos which can result in a 'dotty' effect. The idea is to fill the available space so that as the plants establish they will grow to cover every bit of soil leaving little or no room for pesky weeds to get in on the act!