How to site plants in a border

How to site plants in a border; well it’s simple isn’t it, tall plants at the back, smaller in the front? Well to some extent yes, but often there is a problem with this approach. The taller plants flop over the ones in the front. This is especially true for borders planted along a fence. So how do you site plants in a border so that the whole scheme looks good from top to bottom.

The most common planting mistake many gardeners make is trying to create a balanced looking border is starting at the bottom. You need to start at the top.

Start with plants at eye level

This may seem blindingly obvious, but we notice more stuff at eye level than we do at our feet. So when starting to site plants in a border what is at eye level need sorting first.

The border is a 3-dimensional box not a flat piece of ground. This box needs filling is the design is going to look balanced and impressive. Take this border for example. What do you see at eye level? The wall!

how to site plants in a border

This border has been planted from bottom up. Plants filled the ground level, leaving only a space for a climber to grow up the back. It does not look well balanced.

how to site plants in a border

Now, there is are two features at eye level that attract your attention. The painted trellis and the mirror reflecting light. Tall grasses fill the mid space (without falling over the plants in front) Alliums and the Brunnera at the bottom compliment each other and again say look at me.

The 3 dimensional box has been filled resulting in the border looking more impressive as a result.

Ideas for ‘box-filling’ borders

The aim of this website is to help you make your garden better. So we have created lots of predesigned border ideas you can use in the garden. All the designs will fill the box; we’ve already thought about how to site plants in a border – meaning you don’t have to worry about that bit!

Visit the shop to see our full range, but here are a few to peruse..

Or you could buy our book – it’s really good!

best garden design book - I Want to Like my Garden by Rachel McCartain
Helping you make your garden better