Gardening Tips > March > ‘How to’? Create a Garden Border

‘How to’? Create a Garden Border

Creating defined borders can be a great way to transform your garden, encourage beneficial wildlife and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

It can be daunting for beginner or less confident gardeners to create a new border as there is a certain level of know how about habits and flowering times that is handy, if not essential, if the idea is to have a border which has plants that add colour and contrast as the seasons pass.  But there is a great deal of satisfaction to be had from having a plan laid out in front of you and getting all the plants into the ground at once.

At the explosive rate herbaceous perennials grow, you could plan today, plant tomorrow and have a fully flowering border within months.

Watering summer border – GAP Photos 2018

For the new gardener, we recommend you follow our 12 -step guide to help you create your perfect first garden border:

  1. 1. Choose your plot – consider the placement of your border in terms of shelter and sunlight. Knowing the environment will guide you on your choice of plants.
  2. 2. Measure – this is essential to allow you consider both size of plants and how many you purchase.
  3. 3. Research – there are lots of styles available make sure you have a vision to work from to help choose your plants.
  4. 4. Keep it simple – creating a border doesn’t have to be difficult but can look cluttered. Choosing a simple colour palette and allowing for repetition of plants will unify your border.
  5. 5. Mark it out – Use your hose to outline your new bed.
  6. 6. Remove grass – using a spade gently cut in the shape then lift off the turf in slices and remove any other debris like rocks or roots.
  7. 7. Compost – depending on the quality of the soil add some compost to enrich the soil.
  8. 8. Edge your border – Dig a trench about 8 inches deep.
  9. 9. Site your plants – to allow you to get your spacing just right and perfect the appearance of your border.
  10. 10.Plant – depending on the size of your plant dig your hole the same size as the pot. Add in a handful of all purpose plant food.  We love Westland Fish, Blood & Bone.
  11. 11. Spread Mulch – Keep you border healthy and low-maintenance by adding a layer of mulch to keep your soil moist and help keep any weeds at bay.
  12. 12. Water – Once your border is planted and mulched, give your plants a good soaking.

Edging Shovel in a border – GAP Photos 2018

Top tip: Position plants in triangles and group plants in 3’s or 5’s!

Planting Ideas

Create a framework with shrubs, evergreens or small trees to provide structure and interest all year round.

Our favourite Evergreen Shrubs:



Choisya × dewitteana ‘White Dazzler’





Photinia ‘Red Robin’

Easy to care for perennials:


Aquilegia ‘Swan’




Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’


Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’




Useful grasses to consider:






Remember: to keep your borders looking brilliant all summer, dead-head flowers, weed and water regularly.

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