DIY Network

How To Prepare a Space for a Shrub Border

Learn how to choose shrubs that are right for your yard, creating cascading waves of color that will last from season to season.

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choose shrubs that are right for yard
  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Create a Digital Plan

The best place to start is with computer software that allows you to download a digital picture of the area, then click and drag images until you've created the perfect area — before you even lift that first shovelful of dirt. Be sure to get all of your supplies together in advance so you'll be ready to start work bright and early.

Step 2: Clear the Area

First, rake the debris in the border’s spot and clean up the site. Pull up any weeds, taking time to be careful — pulling slowly will usually remove the weed's root (Image 1), which means it won't have to be pulled again next season. For weeds with roots that spread out beneath the soil, there is no centralized root; this means the soil must be loosened before the weed and its entire root structure can be successfully removed (Image 2).

Step 3: Mark Where the Shrubs Will Go

Once the site is cleaned up and leveled, spray paint where the shrubs will go. The tallest shrubs will be in the back, while the medium-sized shrubs will sit in front of the taller ones. The large space in front will be the home to all the low-lying shrubs.

mark where shrubs will go