Planting a border

23rd February 2021

Home » Planting a border

A well structured border can define areas in your garden and create year – round colour, scent and interest. Do you like your borders unkempt and whimsical or prefer them to conform? Whatever your preference we can suggest plant combinations to suit your style, expectations and budget.

Things to consider when planting a border:

• Have a plan – don’t just rush out and buy the first thing you see
• Consider what plants already do well in and around your garden
• Think about aspect; what plants will suit the light and soil conditions
• What planting theme will work best for the location and compliment the overall garden style (see below)
• Does the border need to look good all year or for a specific season ?
• How much maintenance do you want – evergreens will provide less maintenance
• Structure; Think trees, hedging and large shrubs first and build around these
• Viewpoint and scale; If the border is viewed from a distance, larger drifts of the same plant will have more impact than too much variety
• Colour schemes – will these be planned or deliberately unplanned (see below)
• Go big! Borders can be used to add height and architectural interest (see below)
• Use plants that grow together as these will naturally compliment each other and create a bold theme. For example, choose plants that attract pollinators so they have lots to visit whilst they’re there. Plant shade lovers under larger sun worshippers.

Colour schemes:

Single colour, complimentary colours, warm colours or cool colours. Warm colours leap out whereas cool colours retreat, this can be used to add an illusion of depth. This can be in foliage as well as flower. Colour in winter is also an option using coloured stems like Cornus.

Go big:

Yes! Use one or more large architectural plants to create a structure then build around that. They don’t necessarily have to be in the back of the border. A large plant partially blocking a view of the rest of the garden can create a sense of space and intrigue.


Mediterranean and jungle themes are very popular, worth keeping in mind what else is around and the style of the house too. You can even divide a garden up into different themes per border. Do you want it evergreen? In which case a cottage garden is less likely to be so, whereas a jungle feel is often more structural and evergreen. Some themes will require more maintenance than others.

Top plant picks for borders:

• Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’
• Pittosporum tobira ‘Nana’
• Pittosporum tenuifolium varieties
• Ceanothus varieties
• Loropetalum chinense rubrum ‘Firedance’
• Lavandula angustifolia
• Liriope muscari
• Vinca minor
• Grasses

You might think of borders as simply a flower bed, but they can be so much more. This exotic border below is in the process of “setting out”. This is when our planting team set all the plants out, still in containers, as per the design. It makes it much easier to move things around if you change your mind. If you haven’t followed a plan, it’s worth leaving the plants set our in their containers for a couple of days to check you are 100% happy with your idea.

Stuck for ideas?

We offer a planting consultancy service, ideal if you are looking for help or advice on any of the following:

• Creating new screening/privacy in the garden
• Re-planting an existing border/s in the garden
• Which trees to plant in your existing garden
• Hedge planting in your existing garden
• Rejuvenating a planting border in the existing garden
• Creating new borders in the existing garden
• You have had extension work to the property and wish to re-instate a planting border
• You simply want to discuss general planting improvements in the existing garden
• You need to comply with planning conditions with new tree planting
• You are looking for an alternative gift idea

To find out more about this service <CLICK HERE>