10 tips to help you design a perfect border

2 Written by Lisa on 6th Aug 2010 in From the drawing board

Planting design can be really challenging, there’s just so much to think about!  Here are some helpful tips to make the job easier:

  1. Know the soil, aspect and drainage of the site – this is key if you are to choose plants that will really thrive.  Think about the conditions, you’ll probably know which bits of your garden are hot and sunny or damp and shady already!
  2. Survey the site – take some basic measurements of the area to be planted and draw to scale on graph paper – 1:50 is a good scale to work at.
  3. For borders that require interest all year round, you’ll need some evergreen structure.  Consider the overall shape and form of these plants, perhaps choose shrubs that flower in Winter.
  4. Limit the number of species used within the planting scheme.  Plant in groups or swathes of the same plant (odd numbers are good).
  5. Repeat planting gives continuity and helps to link areas together.  For planting areas either side of a path try planting, say, 5 of one species on one side and 7 of the same species on the other.  This will give additional interest and look less contrived.
  6. Restrict the colour palette. Try to use colours that are harmonious together.  Putting together a collage of pictures can really help – the internet is an excellent resource!
  7. Don’t always plant the tall things at the back and the short things at the front.  Plant taller things at the front sometimes, think about succession – spring-flowering short things will be finished before summer-flowering tall things so it doesn’t matter if the tall things steal the show when they’re in full bloom.
  8. Planting beds should be as deep as possible – if space allows 1.5m+ will allow you to be more creative and provide space for succession planting.  Narrow beds = one row of plants!
  9. Think about ultimate size of the plant and plant accordingly.  A perennial when you plant it might only take up 10cm of space but could grow as big as 1.2m wide depending on the species!
  10. Use a circle guide to help you plot numbers and species onto your survey drawing.  This will help you with how many plants to fit in a designated area.

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2 Responses to “10 tips to help you design a perfect border”

  1. Olive Ghaor says:

    This was definitely something I’m pleased I read this blog. I was actually just about to go back before I read the first sentence. It offered a swaying, easy to read, and, most importantly, a different method of looking at it. Kudos bro!

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks Olive, good to know it was useful for you!

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Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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