What is a Border Garden?

A border garden, also known as a border bed or border planting, is a type of garden design that focuses on creating a defined edge or boundary between different areas of a landscape. It is typically used to separate different sections of a garden, such as a lawn and a flower bed, or to create a transition between different types of plants or hardscape elements.

Border gardens can be designed in various shapes and sizes, depending on the available space and the desired aesthetic. They can be long and narrow, running along a fence or a pathway, or they can be wider and more expansive, creating a focal point in the garden. The plants used in a border garden are carefully selected to create a cohesive and visually appealing display.

Benefits of a Border Garden

There are several benefits to incorporating a border garden into your landscape design:

1. Definition and Structure: A border garden helps define and structure different areas of your garden, creating a sense of order and organization. It provides a clear separation between different elements, such as the lawn, flower beds, and pathways, making your garden more visually appealing.

2. Visual Interest: A well-designed border garden adds visual interest and variety to your landscape. By using a combination of different plants with varying heights, colors, and textures, you can create a dynamic and eye-catching display that changes throughout the seasons.

3. Transition and Flow: A border garden can be used to create a smooth transition between different areas of your garden. It can guide the eye from one section to another, creating a sense of flow and continuity. This is especially important if you have a large or irregularly shaped garden.

4. Wildlife Habitat: A border garden can attract a variety of wildlife, such as butterflies, bees, and birds. By incorporating native plants and providing food, water, and shelter, you can create a welcoming habitat for these beneficial creatures.

5. Low Maintenance: Once established, a border garden can be relatively low maintenance. By choosing plants that are well-suited to your climate and soil conditions, you can create a self-sustaining ecosystem that requires minimal intervention.

Designing a Border Garden

When designing a border garden, there are several factors to consider:

1. Location: Choose a location for your border garden that receives adequate sunlight and has good drainage. Consider the existing landscape and how the border garden will fit into the overall design.

2. Shape and Size: Determine the shape and size of your border garden based on the available space and the desired aesthetic. Consider the proportions of the surrounding landscape and how the border garden will complement the existing elements.

3. Plant Selection: Choose plants that are well-suited to your climate, soil conditions, and the amount of sunlight available. Consider the height, color, and texture of the plants to create a visually appealing display. Include a mix of perennials, annuals, shrubs, and grasses for year-round interest.

4. Maintenance: Consider the maintenance requirements of the plants you choose. Select plants that are low maintenance and require minimal pruning, watering, and fertilizing. Group plants with similar needs together to make maintenance easier.

5. Hardscape Elements: Consider incorporating hardscape elements, such as pathways, edging, or decorative features, to enhance the design of your border garden. These elements can add structure and visual interest to the overall composition.

Examples of Border Garden Designs

There are countless ways to design a border garden, depending on your personal style and preferences. Here are a few examples to inspire you:

1. Cottage Garden Border: This design features a mix of colorful perennials, such as roses, lavender, and delphiniums, arranged in a loose and informal manner. The plants are allowed to spill over the edges, creating a soft and romantic look.

2. Formal Garden Border: This design features neatly trimmed hedges, symmetrical plantings, and a limited color palette. It creates a formal and structured look that is often seen in traditional English gardens.

3. Native Plant Border: This design focuses on using native plants that are well-adapted to the local climate and require minimal maintenance. It creates a natural and eco-friendly look that supports local wildlife.

4. Tropical Border: This design features lush and exotic plants with bold foliage and vibrant flowers. It creates a tropical and exotic look that is reminiscent of a vacation getaway.

5. Herbaceous Border: This design features a mix of herbaceous perennials, such as daylilies, peonies, and hostas, arranged in a layered and structured manner. It creates a classic and timeless look that is often seen in formal gardens.


Border gardens are a versatile and visually appealing addition to any landscape. They provide definition, structure, and visual interest, while also attracting wildlife and requiring minimal maintenance. By carefully selecting plants and considering the overall design, you can create a border garden that enhances the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space.