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Front of the border design tips

By: Garden Gate staff
That small strip of plants that runs along the front of your border is prime real estate — it’s the first thing people will see when they glance at your garden.

LOCATION: Sunken Gardens, Lincoln, NE

designing the front of your border

That small strip of plants that runs along the front of your border is prime real estate — it’s the first thing people will see when they glance at your garden. So you want to make sure it looks good. Luckily, that’s easy to do. Here are three easy-to-implement design ideas that will make your border’s edge the talk of the neighborhood.

Go uniform There’s something to be said for simplicity. One plant’s easy to care for (you can do all your deadheading at once!) and it provides a clean, classic look. This is the type of situation where annuals shine. Try a row of impatiens, begonias, petunias or zinnias for color that lasts well into fall. Choose a single color for a more formal look, or mix the colors for a playful bed.

Spike it! Most short, front-of-the-border plants tend to have spreading or mounding forms. They look nice and soothing, but there’s not much contrast. To change that, mix in a few spiky plants, like salvia, pineapple lily or even ornamental onion, and suddenly your edge has variety!

Play with height Not all of your front-of-the-border plants have to be small. It’s OK to add a few taller plants in with the mix as we’ve done here. Just make sure they don’t hide what’s growing behind them. Airy plants, like Korean feather reed grass, are fun to grow — they can get 4 ft. tall, but are so loose and light that you can see through them.

Learn more great garden design tips in our new softcover book, Ultimate Flowers for Sun and Shade. Find out how at right!

Published: March 10, 2009
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