Beautiful Perennial Borders

Creating a border around your garden with perennials can add a dramatic must look effect to your whole landscaping and you will be surprised just how easy it really is to do.

There are four essential elements to creating a perfect perennial border and they are; correctly preparing the soil, selecting suitable colors, creating an inspiring border composition and the most important thing, getting your timing right.

Getting The Soil Right

Soil preparation is important, but you should never buy soil in, just use and improve the soil you already have, otherwise foreign soil can introduce weeds. A good plan of action is to get the soil structure right and you can do that by adding manure and compost to your soil.

Choosing Your Colors

One of the best ways to choose the color scheme of your perennial border is to find a picture of a border you like and copy it. It's always good to know what type of effect you are going for when choosing your colors. If you want a more sedate looking border, choose softer colors, if you want a dramatic looking border use bright colors. It's always best to plan your border on paper first, this helps decide how many plants you will need.

Composing Your Border

Composing your border consists of three aspects. Rhythm, harmony and repetition. Rhythm can be created by running groups of different textures through each other. You will need to vary the size of the groups as well as the heights and size of the flowers and foliage. Harmony is created by using flower colors of the same hue. You can use flower colors to make areas of your border darker and lighter and to make certain areas of your border more intense then others. Repetition leads the eye to the next area of the border. You can repeat the same plant, color or texture.

Timing Is Everything

Getting your flowers to flower at the same time is a hard task indeed and requires a lot of practice and patience. You can get some perennials to flower twice if you cut them back in midsummer. This can help delay flowering to coincide with later plantings. The key with timing is to plant in large clumps or drifts.

Perennial Border Tips

  1. Use repeat plantings. Throughout the border, repeat plantings need to be used to create repetition as big blocks of color are essential. Also essential is the restriction of your palette to a reasonable number of colors, depending on the size of the border.
  2. Don't be afraid to remove flowers. If a plant has good foliage color but the flower color doesn't sit with the rest of the border, it's perfectly acceptable to remove the flowers. Give it a try and see what you think.
  3. Create a large border. Perennials needs to be bold and dramatic and this won't happen with a narrow bed running along your fence line. The most effective width for a perennial border is five groupings wide with each grouping 0.5m apart.

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