Gardeners define the edge of a garden plot with different materials. Most choose to place bricks, pavers, fencing or plastic edging to prevent the encroachment of grass into the garden bed. Others choose to create a floral edge to soften the lines of the garden. Some plants simple work well for edging as low-growing mounds or flowers that define the border of a garden. Edging with plants presents a less formal look to the garden area than flower beds lined with bricks or a deeply cut trench edging between the lawn and flower bed.
One hardy perennial can serve as the perfect frame for a garden border. Hostas come in a wide variety of green leaf colors, including variegated white or yellow. Hostas tolerate full sun but prefer shadier parts of the garden. The hostas greatest asset lies in their stunning foliage and broad leaves. The brilliant green of many varieties of this plant offers a higher border plant as well as a perfect complement to any flowering plant in the garden.
Mound Ornamental Grass
Ornamental grasses soften the entire border area of a garden and blend well with any color flowering annual or perennial. Blue fescue features a thin slate blue leaf in a soft spiky mound. Fescue grows quickly and requires minimal care other than occasional division to thin out the plant. Another type of grass called liriope features a wider bright green leaf with white lines. Lirope represents one of the toughest landscape plants that can tolerate planting conditions from full sun to shade.
Adding a soft gray border plant to the casual garden draws the eye upward to more dramatic plants and blooms. Stachys byzantina or lamb's ear provides the perfect blend to soften the appearance of a sharp garden edge. This hardy plant features velvet-like leaves that spread quickly to fill in space along the border. Lambs ears mature to 12 to 15 inches high and prefer moderate sunlight.
Phlox comes in a range of sizes and colors for placement anywhere in the garden. However, gardeners place creeping phlox as an edging plant for borders because this type of phlox presents a small flower to add to the floral display. Creeping phlox produces flowers in red, pink, white, magenta or lilac. These low-growing, traditional border plants mature to a height of 6 inches and grow in mounds. Phlox will spread to drape over the edges of landscape timbers, bricks and rock borders to soften the look of the garden.