How to Design a Perennial Border


Adding perennials to a border can make the surrounding area "pop". They can make an otherwise boring looking area in your landscape, come to life. Perennials are good landscape plants because they will come back to life the following year and the varieties are almost endless. The gardener can choose between tall ornamental grasses or low growing, flowering groundcovers to plant in the border. What you use is up to your own personal preference. Once you understand the plant's growth requirements, designing your border will not be hard.

Step 1

Consider the amount of light the planting site receives. You will need to plant perennials with the same light requirements together, if planting more than one species. Do not plant a perennial that requires full sun into the border if it is in the shade.

Step 2

Consider the size of the border, when selecting your plants. This will give you an idea of how much space you have to place your plants and will help you in selecting the appropriate varieties.

Step 3

Figure out the look you want the border to have. If the border area is large, you can plant several varieties of perennials next to one another. Smaller areas may be large enough to house only one variety of perennial. Choose whether you want a border filled with a specific variety and placement of plants, or one filled with a variety of native wildflowers or perennial plants and flowers.

Step 4

Study the growth habits of the plants you are considering using for the border. Figure out how tall and wide each plant grows at full maturity. This will help you plan which plants are best suited for the border and how many you will need.

Step 5

Place plants with similar needs together in the border. Do not line the border with one plant that requires little water with one that does. Fulfilling the needs of one plant may hinder the growth or even kill the companion plant growing next to it.

Step 6

Plant the border plants according to their height, working from the tallest to the smallest. Place tall plants such as ornamental grasses, yarrow or blazing star in the back. Plant the smaller plants such as violets, blue daze or Echinacea in front of the taller perennials. This will add a better flow and balance to the border.

Step 7

Consider the blooming season of each perennial, if flowering plants are used. Use perennials that bloom in different stages throughout the year. This will guarantee the border has yearlong color.

Step 8

Consider the maintenance each plant you are using requires. Use low maintenance plants such as lirope, if you do not want to be constantly trimming the border to keep it in shape. Select plants that require the amount of maintenance you are willing to give.

Things You'll Need

  • Perennial plant guide


  • Designing a Perennial Garden
  • Tips on Perennial Flower Beds
  • Perennial Plant List
Keywords: designing perennial borders, perennial border design, creating a perennial border

About this Author

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