How to create a new border


As the weather finally begins to take a turn for the better this month, it’s just the encouragement we need to get out into the garden and crack on with that long list of jobs we’ve been putting off. While there are undoubtedly many tasks you can undertake in April, from weeding to tree planting, the warmer air and moist soil also makes it the perfect time to dig deep and create a new border.

Borders can really transform a garden, and add some colour and interest to areas that may previously have looked a little unloved. With some careful planning, you could create a border that will continue to flourish with the passing seasons, or even use the border to disguise areas you’d prefer to keep hidden, like walls and sheds. The great thing about borders is there’s no one size fits all approach; meaning whether you’ve got a cosy cottage garden or a sprawling lawn, you’ll be able to create something that works for you and your outside space.

Ready to cross into a new border? Here’s how to give your garden the edge it deserves...

Get plotting

Before you go digging and planting up your new border, you’ll need to do some important groundwork. Planning is essential - in order to decide which plants you’d like to grow, you’ll need to determine how much light and shade the area you’re hoping to place the border will get. Once you know this, you’ll have a better idea of the types of plants that will thrive in the new border, and you’ll avoid frustrations later down the line when things may struggle to grow due to their conditions. If you’re planting herbaceous perennials, bear in mind that they’ll really flourish next year, so consider planting a mix of perennials and annuals to help the border thrive while your perennials are establishing themselves.

Measure up

Another important factor in designing your new border is knowing how much space you’ve got to work with - there’s nothing worse than returning from the nursery with a car boot filled with blooms, only to discover you’ve bought far too many or few for your desired space. You’ll also want to know the size of the border so you can calculate how much mulch you’ll need once you’ve finished planting.

Dream in colour

Once you know the size and conditions of your new border, you can start planning which plants you’d like to fill it with. For small borders, one type of each plant will give you plenty to be working with, while for larger borders you may want to create clusters of 3-5 plants. Also plan for filling any gaps with bedding plants, seeds and bulbs. Think about what’s in flower when, as timing will be essential when it comes to keeping the colour going for as long as possible.

Start digging

Once you’ve defined the space for your border, it’s time to start making that dream a reality. Firstly, use a spade to cut the desired shape for the border, then lift out the grass in sections. Remove any stones or roots that may be lying under there. Once this is done, you can put down some compost to help enrich the soil and encourage healthy growth in your new plants. Now it’s time to edge your border - use your spade to define a clear edge of about 4-6 inches deep. If you’re looking for really neat edges, use shears to trim the grass after digging out your edges.

Plant prep

Now that you’ve dug out your border and it’s ready for your plants, it can be tempting to just start putting things into the ground - but be patient because a little planning now will pay off later. Before planting, take each of your plants in its pot and place it in the position you’d like it to grow in. Do this with each one until they’re all laid out, then stand back and take a look. Now’s the time to move anything you’re unsure about or that won’t give you the desired look you’re after.

Let it grow

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for - planting time! Dig each hole to be about the same size as the pot, and place the plant into it, teasing the roots out as you go. Once everything is in place, water your new border thoroughly. Finally, add some mulch to keep the soil moist (and to deter those pesky weeds from ruining your hard work) - then stand back and admire your handiwork!