Creating landscape borders around your home and maintaining them gives the house a lived-in look as well as some character. There is no set way that you have to build these borders; however, you'll achieve a more harmonious look if you balance borders on both sides of the house. The most important thing to remember is not to create more than you can take care of. Shrubs need trimming, flowers need watering and plant beds need weeding. If you create large beds that must be filled, then you will have more to look after.
Mark the outline of the landscaping with a spray paint. This is especially useful if you are going to have a free-form design rather than incorporating straight edges. For straight edges, you could use stakes and twine to create perfect lines and angles.
Dig out grass in the landscape area so that there is no possibility of it growing back. You can use the grass in other areas of the lawn that might be a little thin. There is no need to waste it if it is good grass.
Break up the soil with a tiller or manually with a hoe. Add a few inches of top soil to this as well as some mulch. The mulch will slowly release nutrients into the plant beds over time. If there is enough height around the house for you to build up the plant beds without hiding features of the house, then you can add several more inches of soil. This is a good method if you have poor soil quality or soil that doesn't drain well.
Place stones or landscaping timbers along the edges of the beds it you would like. This in not a necessary step, but does add charm and definition to the plant beds.
Plant the landscaping as directed based on the types of plant that you choose. Do not plant vegetation that will grow tall in front of windows. This will cause a security issue for your home. Leave space in front of trees and shrubs for flowers if you want a splash of color. Try to add a variety of plants so that your landscaping will have interest in all seasons. Use some evergreens for winter greenery, some deciduous trees for fall color as well as certain flowers, and flowering trees and flowers for summer and spring.
Dig a trench around the plant beds a couple inches wide and a couple inches deep. This will help keep grass from growing into the plant beds.