Transform your garden into something new and exciting with these thrilling garden border ideas and planting schemes for UK gardens.

Are you interested in transforming your garden into a place with creative garden border ideas and planting schemes? Are you tired of having your garden look the same and not having anything to stand out or be appealing on the eye? In this article, you will find our picks for the best garden border ideas and planting schemes for you to add to your garden in the UK on a small budget. We’ll cover essential aspects such as garden aspects, low maintenance options, and innovative lighting techniques. 

Choosing Your Garden Border Ideas

Transforming your garden into a picturesque landscape is simpler than you might think. With the right garden border ideas, even the most modest outdoor spaces can become an outstanding oasis. Borders aren’t just about delineating areas; they’re about creating an aesthetic dialogue between nature and your personal style. 

Whether you’re drawn to sweeping curves or prefer the crispness of straight lines, garden borders offer unlimited possibilities. For those new to this, sticking to a limited plant palette and repeating patterns can promise stunning results. Remember, being cohesive with border ideas for your garden is important too, and ensuring that your chosen plants share similar growing conditions is crucial for a delightful display.

How To Create A Garden Border

The journey to a beautiful garden begins with planning your border. The size and shape of your border should display the character of your garden. Small gardens benefit from curved borders, adding an illusion of space, while long gardens might need wider borders to break the monotony. Visualising your border is crucial before you start digging. Use a string line or a hose to mark out straight or curved borders respectively, ensuring your envisioned design translates well into reality.

Choosing The Right Plants For Your Border

A successful planting scheme is key for optimising your garden border to its fullest potential. Sun-loving plants are perfect for south-facing borders, thriving best in the summer. Conversely, north-facing borders, which receive less sunlight, are ideal for shade-loving plants like Hostas or evergreen shrubs such as Sarcococca confusa. 

Borders facing west enjoy afternoon sun and need plants that can handle this exposure, whereas east-facing borders, basking in morning light, are ideal for plants that prefer partial shade.

Defining Style And Personality In Your Garden

What colour and theme should you have your garden borders to be? Do you envision a dramatic, exotic garden replete with architectural plants like palms? Or does the charm of a cottage garden, with its pastel hues, appeal more to you? Consistency in your colour palette improves the overall aesthetic, whether you opt for monochromatic elegance or a vibrant mix of colours.

Positioning Your Plants

garden border ideas positioning plants

The real magic happens when you start positioning your plants. Place them temporarily to gauge how they complement each other. Consider design principles, such as grouping in odd numbers and positioning taller plants like delphiniums at the back. This not only creates depth but also helps in masking walls or fences. Factor in the mature size of each plant to avoid overcrowding. To keep your border lively throughout the growing season, fill any gaps with annuals, either grown from seed or bought as plug plants.

Adding Plants For Borders

Every garden has its challenging spots, be it shade-heavy corners or clay-heavy soil. These challenges, however, are opportunities to explore and introduce unique plants that thrive under such conditions. Shady borders can be transformed with dramatic foliage and light-coloured flowers, creating a serene corner in your garden. Selecting plants that are well-suited to your soil type not only eases gardening tasks but also reduces the need for frequent replacements.

Low Maintenance Garden Borders

For those who want beauty without the burden of high maintenance, low-maintenance garden borders are a blessing. Opt for perennials that promise year-round charm with minimal care. Nepeta, for instance, is a delight with its fragrant, silver foliage and lovely blue-violet flowers. These hardy plants keep flourishing year after year, demanding little more than an annual pruning.

For more options, try our article on low maintenance plants for pots.

Garden Border Lighting

garden border ideas lighting

The lighting and beauty of your garden won’t end when the sun sets. Integrating lighting within your border can create a mesmerising nighttime landscape. Discreet ground lights can softly illuminate your plants, highlighting their forms and textures. For a whimsical touch, fairy lights or small lanterns can be artfully placed, bringing a magical glow to your garden nights.

Types Of Garden Borders To Consider

garden border ideas planting positions

Garden borders are not just boundaries; they are the epitome of your garden’s masterpiece. Let’s delve into various types of garden borders that can redefine your outdoor space.

1. Add Edging Borders

Edging borders are essential for creating a polished look in your garden. They provide a distinct separation between your garden beds and the lawn, making maintenance like mowing simpler. Options range from natural dips to sophisticated stone or brick edging. Even in vigorously growing areas, a clear edge maintains the border’s shape and foundation, adding a neat, structured appearance to your garden.

2. Low Maintenance Garden Borders

For gardeners seeking minimal upkeep, low maintenance garden borders are ideal. Incorporate perennial plants like Nepeta, which offers enduring charm with little care. These borders keep your garden looking splendid throughout the year with minimal effort, perfect for busy lifestyles or those who prefer to enjoy their garden’s beauty with less hands-on work.

3. Wildflower Borders

Introducing wildflower borders can transform your garden into a vibrant and dynamic ecosystem. These borders are not only visually stunning but also attract essential pollinators like bees and butterflies. Wildflowers offer a low-maintenance solution that enriches your garden with a kaleidoscope of colours and textures. Learn more by checking out our wildlife garden ideas.

4. Garden Border Lighting

Lighting within your garden borders can turn your garden into an enchanting nighttime retreat. Use a mix of discreet ground lights and decorative fairy lights or lanterns to create a balanced, inviting ambiance. Thoughtful lighting highlights the beauty of your plants and adds a magical touch to your garden after dusk.

5. Divide Areas 

Borders are more than decorative; they’re functional elements that help structure your garden. They define spaces and bring form to the landscape, working effortlessly with features like decks and patios. When designing your border, consider how contrasting colours can make each garden element stand out, adding depth and interest to your outdoor space.

Why not try integrating these garden pond ideas as well to help divide areas of your garden.

6. Sticking to a Colour Scheme

A cohesive colour scheme is imperative to a visually appealing garden border. Start with three types of colours – a neutral, a deep tone, and a bright accent – to guide your plant choices and create an attractive display. Colours can come in many forms, from painting to plants. One prominent plant that comes to mind is lavender, which can bring many benefits to your colour schemes as well. Find out how to grow lavender in your revisited garden today.

7. Add Pots in Borders

Incorporating pots into your garden borders adds versatility and an extra layer of interest. Choose larger pots for a statement effect and to avoid a cluttered look. Pots are especially useful in transitional periods between seasons, allowing you to experiment with different plants and styles without committing to permanent changes in your garden layout.

Check out our range of garden accessories and see how you can decorate your borders.

Enjoy Planting Schemes For Small Borders In Your Garden

In summary, these diverse garden border ideas offer various ways to enchant your outdoor space, from practical solutions like low-maintenance plantings and clear edging to aesthetic enhancements like strategic lighting and colour schemes. Each type of border brings its unique charm, helping you create a garden that is not only beautiful but also a reflection of your personal style and needs.


What is the cheapest way to fill a garden border?

The cheapest way to fill a garden border is typically by using seeds for annual or perennial plants, as they tend to be more cost-effective than purchasing mature plants.

How do I make my garden border look nice?

To make your garden border look nice, consider these tips:

Choose a variety of plants with different heights, colors, and textures.
Use mulch to prevent weeds and retain moisture.
Maintain regular pruning and weeding.
Add decorative elements like garden ornaments or edging.

What is best for garden borders?

The best plants for garden borders depend on your preferences, but popular choices include perennials like lavender, roses, and hostas, as well as annuals like petunias and marigolds. Select plants that thrive in your climate and soil conditions.

How wide should a garden border be in the UK?

Garden border width in the UK can vary, but a common guideline is around 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) wide. However, it ultimately depends on the available space and your design preferences. 


Paul, P., (2023) 17 Things To Plant In December To Keep Your Garden Flourishing. A-Z Animals. [online] Available at: [accessed 20/12/23]

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