How to Create a Year-Round Colorful Border in the Garden


Borders in the landscape do not have to be boring. They can be colorful additions capturing the eye and accenting the surroundings. By using plants that provide year-round color, gardeners can turn a lifeless border into an interesting one. Choices of colorful perennial and annual plants suitable for use in border plantings are almost endless. Situate plants with similar water, light and soil requirements together to cut down on potential problems, and borders do not have to be straight but can be curved and flowing.

Step 1

Utilize plants with contrasting colors in the border such as variegated perennials mixed with plants that have maroon, red or golden foliage. Once the flowers are spent, the colorful foliage remains to accent the border, and the white in the variegated plants adds year-round color.

Step 2

Add plants that have a variety of leaf shapes and textures to draw the eye. Use ornamental grasses--like a thin-leafed, variegated liriope--and maroon-leafed plants such as begonia or coleus, which are larger leafed and furry. They add interest and are attractive as well as colorful.

Step 3

Select plants that change colors with the changing seasons. Plants such as sedum change to colors of red, orange and yellow during the cooler months of fall, giving the border a different color scheme.

Step 4

Plant a mixed border utilizing both perennials and annuals. Place the taller perennials in the background and utilize smaller, flowering annuals in front. Change out the flowering annuals during each season with ones in bloom to add constant color.

Step 5

Utilize small, flowering, perennial shrubs that are evergreens. They will fill the border with a constant supply of green as well as colorful flowers throughout the year. Plants such as hibiscus, thryallis and shrub roses bloom for the majority of the year.

Step 6

Use evergreen, perennial plants for a year-round addition of green instead of deciduous ones that lose their leaves and take any color with them. Use two to three different species that flower at different times throughout the year. Place taller plants in the back and smaller plants in the front, creating a tiered effect and a balanced flow.

Step 7

Fill the border with flowering annuals, changing them out as they finish blooming and replanting with the next season's flowers. This method is a little more work intensive but ensures year-round color.

Things You'll Need

  • Variegated perennials Colorful foliage perennials Ornamental grasses Flowering annuals Flowering perennials Evergreen perennials


  • Sooner Garden Club: Create a Colorful Foliage Garden
  • Today's Garden Ideas: Ideas for a Colorful Shrub Border
  • Families Online Magazine: Perennial Borders: Easy Way to Add Character to Landscape
Keywords: yearly colorful borders, planting colorful borders, annual flowering borders

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.