The plants in edge beds and also edging help define areas of the outdoor space and offer a transition from one space to the next. Sloping near patios, walkways or driveways soften hardscaping components and add visual interest into the room. Even though there are numerous plants which could be used in borders and edging, designing the space effectively is the key to showcasing every plant and developing an attractive border bed.
Ground covers are frequently used in the front of a border since their short height adds color and interest without covering up taller plants in the middle or back of the border. Plants set in the front of the border help create a transition in the grass or walkway into the planting bed. According to the Scripps Howard News Service article “Pay Extra Attention to Your Garden’s Border Plants,” using many different ground covers helps make sure you’ve got long-lasting shade during the season. Additionally, varying the size, growth habit and texture of the crops at the edge’s front edge helps keep the bed looking appealing. The front of the edge is also a good spot to plant bigger bulb herbs and plants.
Planting midsize perennials, plants between 1 and 3 feet tall, in the middle of the edge bed adds stature to your bed while allowing the plants in the back of the bed to be seen. Taller perennials and smaller evergreen or deciduous shrubs include multi-season shade to the middle of the edge. Some examples include Summer Breeze agatache (Agastache “Summer Breeze”), a perennial that is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture Zones 6 through 10. It grows 1 to 3 feet tall and blooms with tens of thousands of tube-shaped, vibrant blooms from spring through first frost in autumn. An alternative is an evergreen shrub such as snow bush (Breynia disticha “Roseo-picta”), hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Snow bush grows 1 to 3 feet tall and its foliage is mottled with pink and white.
Tall Plants, Shrubs and Trees
The plants at the back of the edge ought to be the tallest. Not only does this enable them to be seen above the plants in the front and middle of the edge, in addition, it provides an appealing backdrop for the plants in front. Choose plants taller than 3 feet to the back of the edge. This includes tall trees and shrubs such as white forsythia (Abeliophyllum distichum), a relative of yellow-flowering forsythia that flowers with white flowers in spring. This deciduous tree grows 3 to 6 feet tall. Pincushion hakea (Hakea laurina) is a tall tree or a small tree hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. It grows 10 to 30 feet tall and blooms with spiky orange or red blooms throughout autumn and winter.
Annuals work well in borders, allowing gardeners to easily change the look of the edge based on the season. Annuals such as wishbone flower (Torenia) or sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritama) bloom from spring through autumn. Alternatives include ornamental grasses such as Ebony Knight mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus “Ebknizam”), hardy in USDA planting zones 5 through 10. Its purple-black leaf adds contrast to surrounding green leaf and its grass-like blades add a different texture to mounding ground covers and other plants.