Best Garden Border Ideas

Design an eye-catching garden border with these can’t-miss tricks.


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A well-designed garden border invites lingering looks. Orchestrated plantings unfold like a symphony, creating tempo, harmony and crescendo. What’s the secret to creating a winning garden border? Timeless design tenets.

Perennial Border With Lawn

Perennial Border With Curved Edges

A beautifully designed perennial border features sweeping curves.

Photo by: Preen


These classic garden design tricks transform plantings into artistic compositions—and they work whether you’re growing annuals, perennials, edibles or a mix. This border showcases curves, which stir visual interest. Capitalize on curves by using two curves of different sizes to play off one another. Lay out curves initially with ropes or hoses, and make sure you can easily mow them in one smooth movement.

Short to Tall

Ageratum, Bidens, Argyranthemum, Coleus

Blue And Gold Flower Border

A colorful annual border boasts classic design tricks, including arranging plants short to tall and repeating color blocks.

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Arrange a garden border with shorter plants in front and taller plants in back. Whether you’re designing with annuals, perennials or edibles, plants fill three height slots: short, medium and tall. In this annual garden border, Royal Glissade ColorBlaze coleus plays the tall role, with Butterfly Marguerite daisy fitting into a medium height. A short plant duo of purple Artist Blue ageratum and Goldilocks Rocks bidens offers season-long color and overshadows an even shorter plant, Lemon Coral Sedum mexicanum.

Color Blocks

This annual border also showcases another garden border design trick: repeating color blocks. When designing a garden border, repeat color in blocks to draw the eye along the entire border. A repeating color block can feature different plants. For instance, to showcase a repeating white note, you might plant Shasta daisy, white variegated hosta and white garden phlox.

Focal Points

Include a focal point, which commands attention and causes the eye to rest. It often stands above plants, but doesn’t have to. A birdbath or small fountain can serve as a focal point even when nestled into taller plantings. If your border has curves, a good focal point position is in the part of the curve the juts forward.

Container Garden With Coleus, Bidens, Angelonia And Lobelia

Urn In Shrub And Perennial Border

A mixed shrub and perennial border features a container garden focal point.

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An urn or container garden creates a striking focal point, especially when elevated above plantings.

Ribbon Grass, Lamb’s Ears And Frog Statue

Frog Statue Focal Point

A frog statue makes an eye-catching focal point in a perennial border with a white color theme. Plants include silvery-white lamb’s ears and white and green striped ribbon grass.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

A statue is a common focal point. This verdigris frog blends beautifully with green-and-white-variegated ribbon grass and silvery lamb’s-ears.

Edible Crops

Burpee Fordhook Farm Annual Planting Bed

Curly Kale In Flower Border

Mix edible crops into flower borders. Curly kale adds a strong textural element to this annual flower border.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

Count on edibles, like this curly leaf kale, to add color and texture to garden borders filled with annuals and perennials. Integrating edibles into garden borders is a great option when growing space is at a premium. Just be sure to give edible plants enough elbow room to mature and yield a harvest.

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