12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (2024)




Peg Aloi

12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (1)

Peg Aloi

Peg Aloi is a gardening expert and former garden designer with 13 years experience working as a professional gardener in the Boston and upstate New York areas. She received her certificate in horticulture from the Berkshire Botanical Garden in 2018.

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Published on 02/15/23

Reviewed by

Kathleen Miller

12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (2)

Reviewed byKathleen Miller

Kathleen Miller is a highly-regarded Master Gardener and horticulturist with over 30 years of experience in organic gardening, farming, and landscape design. She founded Gaia's Farm and Gardens,aworking sustainable permaculture farm, and writes for Gaia Grows, a local newspaper column.

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12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (3)

The garden border can be a variety of things. In Europe a garden border is another word for a flower bed sometimes known as an herbaceous border. In the United States, a garden border is an edge of the flower bed or garden, the one closest to a path, walkway or driveway. A garden border can also sometimes refer to a narrow strip of ground planted as a flower bed or other planting area.

Depending on your climate and growing zones, the size and shape of your yard, and your individual garden style, there are many possibilities for creating a functional yet striking border—no matter how you define it.

Here are our favorite ideas for attractive low-maintenance garden borders, featuring a variety of plants and flowers with considerations for factors like color, texture, bloom time and placement. Whether they feature perennials and/or annuals, they all are low maintenance.

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    Color Block Design

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (4)

    Large blocks of color can be a very striking and easily-implemented strategy for the garden border. This simple mix of ajuga and anemones offers a rich burst of violet-blue in this flower bed, right at the border for maximum impact. Also try forget-me-nots which bloom profusely in pale blue in spring (deadhead them to keep them from reseeding too much, but new plants are easy to pull up).

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    Spring Bulb Spectacle

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (5)

    Designing with spring bulbs offers lots of flexibility for three seasons of blooms and beauty. They're great for the front of the border for a showy garden in early spring, like this one with multiple beds showcasing tulips and daffodils at the edge of their borders. Once your bulbs begin to die back (in April and May) there's room for additional perennials to pop up and fill in. Good choices to plant near bulbs include plants with small root areas and foliage that sits up off the ground, like hostas, day lilies, asters, and ferns.

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    Colorful Foliage

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (6)

    Plants with colorful foliage are a great way to have low maintenance color at the front of the border. Artemisias provide silvery tones, heucheras provide a wonderful range of colors, euphorbias come in a range of colors and textures, and lower-growing sedums also have a range of foliage colors in blues, greens, greys, and purples. Here we see silver tansy (Tanacetum haradjanii) and Euphorbia myrsinites melding their striking colors of blue-grey and chartreuse together. Annuals with colorful foliage include coleus and caladiums.

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  • 04 of 12

    Colorful Shade Border

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (7)

    The shade garden need not be barren of color. The border of this circular shade garden catches the eye with vivid clumps of burgundy heuchera, variegated euonymus, and airy light green ferns.

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    Mediterranean Style

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (8)

    In the temperate climate of southern Europe, herbs have the perfect growing environment. if you have sandy, loamy soil, plentiful sun, and a growing zone on the warmer side, consider some fragrant culinary herbs for your border. Oregano, thyme, rosemary, savory, tarragon, lavender and many other useful herbs grow as perennials in the right conditions. These lavender gardens in Spain create a perfumed paradise for visitors, with the huge plants overflowing into the walkways.

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    Tall But Airy

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (9)

    Usually one sees shorter plants at the front of the border, but tall ones can work too. The key is to choose plants with a small crown and a light airy form, allowing for a view of the plants behind them. This might include agapanthus, alliums, camassia, fairy lilies (a bulb that comes up in early autumn), heucheras, flax, anchusa ('Dropmore'), delphiniums, rose campion, anemones (pictured above), and globe thistles. Annual cosmos are also a tall flower with feathery stems and delicate blooms.

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    Low Hedges

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (10)

    This lush garden in Sweden has paths connecting one area to another. The borders along this path have short, chunky boxwood hedges clipped to stay square and neat. The angular shape complements the round and organic shapes found throughout the garden.

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    Late Season Color

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    Keep the show going with perennials that flower late in the season. Perennial mums are a reliable source of vivid color: order them from a reliable nursery in the spring for blooms in the fall, and the plants will increase in size each year. The striking contrast of these yellow zinnias and purple mums is a showstopper for the autumn border.

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    Drought-Tolerant Border Plants

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (12)

    If you're in a dry or desert climate, or simply want a more drought-tolerant border, there's a large variety to choose from. Euphorbias and succulents like creeping sedums or hens and chicks are an easy way to have a lush, low maintenance border. These plants spread quickly but not aggressively and there are many flowering varieties. In this California garden, drought-tolerant plants including yarrow, euphorbia and nepeta (flowering catmint) are a perfect choice for times of inconsistent rainfall.

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    Creeping and Meandering

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (13)

    Creeping plants like euphorbia, low-spreading sedums, dianthus (especially spreading varieties like 'Firewitch'), thread-leaf coreopsis, or short asters (like 'Wood's Blue') can spill over the border edge in a fetching way, creating an organic looking design. Keep blooming perennials looking neat by deadheading which also encourages more blooms: this dianthus will put out a second or even third round of blooms after spent flowers are trimmed off.

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    Uplifting Miniatures

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    Many perennials have low-growing, dwarf or miniature versions, including irises (pictured are 'Bright Blue Eyes'), columbines, asters, day lilies, sedums and even roses. Choosing these shorter plants allows for more possibilities for three seasons of blooming perennials at the front of the border.

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    Green Borders

    12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (15)

    This shady border features a variety of plants with vibrant green foliage, showcasing beautiful shapes and textures, including variegated irises, heuchera, hosta, and pulmonaria. Note the color variations include not just shades of green but stripes, spots, edges and centers. These plants also produce colorful flowers.

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12 Low-Maintenance Garden Border Ideas (2024)


What is the best low maintenance edging? ›

Concrete edging

Concrete edging is low-maintenance and fairly cost-effective. While this durable option is heavy, it is still DIY-friendly. Concrete edging also serves many functional purposes. Craft seating, retain soil or mulch in garden beds, or create dimensions with varying heights.

How do I create a low maintenance border? ›

Plant perennials that come back yearly and fill in with colorful annuals. Choose groundcovers and low-growing plants that won't need much pruning. Look for drought-tolerant plants. Consider stone or another edging to keep the border neat.

How do you make a beautiful low maintenance garden? ›

12 Ideas and Tips for Creating a Low-Maintenance Garden
  1. Limit the Variety of Plants in the Garden.
  2. Use Organic Matter for Low Maintenance Garden Beds.
  3. Grow Low Maintenance Garden Plants. ...
  4. Avoid Planting Perennials That Attract Pests.
  5. Use Ground Cover in Your Garden.
  6. Avoid Plants That Need Support.

What type of garden is easiest to maintain? ›

Simple lawn shapes with a low level edge are easier to maintain. If you do have a lawn, install a permanent edge to it, such as a run of bricks or paving stones, or lay small-sized gravel at a lower level than the lawn. This means you won't have to spend time trimming the edges every time you cut the grass.

What is the best and easiest landscape edging? ›

We think the best overall landscape edging is the EasyFlex No-Dig Landscape Edging Kit for its easy installation, flexibility, minimal look, and suitability for all soil types. If your project requires a large amount of edging, we recommend Suncast Plastic Landscape Edging Roll as the best value landscape edging.

How do you make a neat border? ›

How to create a border in eight simple steps
  1. ​Position and mark out your border. Decide where in the garden you want your border and mark out its shape. ...
  2. Begin preparing the ground. ...
  3. Improve your soil. ...
  4. Prepare soil for planting. ...
  5. Position your plants. ...
  6. Water your plants. ...
  7. Begin planting. ...
  8. Water well after planting.

How do you make borders look good? ›

Start by positioning evergreen and large structural plants, to create the 'bones' of the border. Then position groups of herbaceous perennials or small deciduous shrubs of the same species or cultivar. Planting these in groups, ideally with an odd number of plants, helps prevent the border looking 'bitty'.

What is the most efficient garden layout? ›

As a general rule, put tall veggies toward the back of the bed, mid-sized ones in the middle, and smaller plants in the front or as a border. Consider adding pollinator plants to attract beneficial insects that can not only help you get a better harvest, but will also prey on garden pests.

How do I simplify my garden? ›

Simplify your approach to edges

The trick is to leave a space between the edge and the plants, to keep that space weeded, and to trim carefully and uniformly. Another strategy that helps maintain the lines of the beds is to choose foreground plants that remain neat and attractive all season.

How can I make my yard look nice without grass? ›

  1. Gravel and Stone. When it comes to creating a stunning backyard without grass, gravel and stone are two of your best options. ...
  2. Paver Patio. ...
  3. Xeriscaping. ...
  4. Mulch Landscaping. ...
  5. Raised Deck. ...
  6. Container Gardens. ...
  7. Backyard Water Features. ...
  8. Create a Multi-Use Storage Shed.
Jun 15, 2023

What type of garden is easiest for elderly people to use? ›

Stand-up beds, container gardens, and vertical gardening make reaching plants easier. You can use a combination of different types to make accessible gardens for Senior Citizens.

How to build a garden cheaply? ›

Here are 10 ways to garden without breaking the bank.
  1. Be on the lookout for plant swaps. ...
  2. Shop for plants in the off-season. ...
  3. Start from seeds. ...
  4. Save seeds. ...
  5. Accept cuttings from friends. ...
  6. Build a raised bed from found materials. ...
  7. Make your own soil amendments. ...
  8. Find free mulch.
Jan 14, 2022

What do professional landscapers use for edging? ›

These materials can include natural stone, cobblestone pavers, wood, metal, plastic, concrete, and brick. Each material gives a different look and has different pros and cons.

What type of edging is best landscaping? ›

Concrete Edging

Concrete is a terrific choice when it comes to landscape edging as it offers unmatched durability and versatility. This material can be altered into virtually any form or design, allowing for plenty of creative ways to accentuate your garden bed and delineate areas of your landscape.

What is the easiest edging to install? ›

Pound-in plastic edging is much easier to install by yourself, and it lasts for many years, too.

Is landscape edging worth it? ›

Taller landscape edging options, such as short hedges or low fencing, can help keep people on defined paths. Landscape edging also keeps visitors out of areas you don't want them to go, such as planting beds. If landscape edging is flat and wide enough, it can handle the wheels of a lawn mower.

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