How to Install a Garden Border


A garden looks more formal and finished with a border. The border defines the end of the garden and the beginning of a lawn or patio. It can also keep unwanted guests, such as dogs or children, out of the garden. Installation takes a little planning and work, but the results are well worth the effort.

Step 1

Prepare the area for the new border by removing any grass or sod. Dig the border at least 2 feet wide and to a depth of 12 inches. Remove any rocks or debris. Add a 3-inch layer of compost and fertilizer per the package directions. Turn the soil over to mix in the soil amendments. Rake smooth. Soil preparation is key to a beautiful border. Add additional top soil, compost or peat moss to improve the soil.

Step 2

Place the plants, still in their pots, in the border. Taller plants should be at the back of the border, medium size ones in the middle and short plants in the front of the border. Space out the plants so they will have enough room when mature. For example: If the bush spreads to 5 feet wide, the plants should be spaced every 5 feet.

Step 3

Dig holes for each plant. Water to settle the soil down. Remove the plant from its nursery pot and place it in the hole. You may have to add or remove soil so the plant is planted at the same depth in your border as it was in its pot. Fill the holes with soil and water well. Work from the back of the border to the front.

Step 4

Fill in widely spaced plants with annuals so the border doesn't look bare. The annuals may be from a nursery or planted from seed. By the next year, the border will have filled in enough, so you may not have to use annuals as a filler. There is always a good possibility that the annuals you planted this year will go to seed at the end of the season and come back next season by themselves.

Step 5

Mulch the border area to keep down weeds and conserve moisture. The mulch also looks nicer than bare soil. Edge with stones, bricks, wood or decorative ironwork.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Plants or seeds
  • Mulch
  • Edging


  • "Backyard Blueprints"; David Stevens; 2002
  • "Garden Home"; P. Allen Smith; 2003

Who Can Help

  • Garden Borders
Keywords: garden borders, building a garden border, bordering a garden

About this Author

Dee Power holds an MBA. She is the co-author of "Attracting Capital from Angels," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "The Making of a Bestseller," the novel "Over Time," and several screenplays. She contributes to several Web sites and is a regular columnist for