How to Plan a Garden Border


When you are rebuilding, adding to or installing a garden on your property, you want it to look as complete as possible. Nothing completes a garden like a garden border. To have a border, you will need to plan a garden border first. This will help you create the best visual effects before planting; and help you eliminate the need to rip out and replant anything later.

Step 1

Pick the plants you want for your garden border. Know how tall all of your plants are expected to be before planting them. Plan your garden border around the height of the plants; placing the taller plants to the rear and the shorter plants up front. Also plan for spacing by knowing how much room each plant needs at the base. Know the shape your garden border plants will have. This includes the leaves, stems and blossoms. Place the small mound plants, such as artemisiz, in front; creeping plants such as dianthus work well at the front as well as provide ground cover. Daylily and Gaura may be suitable for the rear border of the garden. Make note of the texture and color of the plants as well. Coarse leaves may make the space seem smaller; bright colors need contrast to keep the garden border from overwhelming the garden.

Step 2

Use the garden catalogs to get a general idea of what plants go well together and what plants need to go together. Consider the amount of sunlight, soil and water when designing the border. Sun loving plants will not do well in the back of a corner garden.

Step 3

Draw out the garden border on the graph paper. Figure out the shape of the border; draw the overall garden shape and size onto the graph paper. Draw the general area where each type of plant will go within the border next. This will help you visualize the overall layout of the garden and the border.

Step 4

Determine if you are using pavers, stone or other border elements along with the garden. Draw these into the plan as well. Know the size and shape of the elements to understand how much room they will take up.

Step 5

Go to where you are placing the garden. Measure out the width of the border from the existing garden, if there is one, to get an idea of how much space the garden border will take up. If this is a new garden, measure the entire garden including the garden border to get an overall size. This will help you determine if you made the plans too large or too small, and where you need to adjust areas before planting.


  • Beautiful Perennials; Marilyn Rogers; 2006
  • 20 Ways To Design & Plant A Border
Keywords: planning a garden, garden borders, garden plants

About this Author

William A. Swan is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management.