‘Create an illusion of more space’- expert shares top tips on designing a garden border

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A range of factors should be considered before creating a border, from the location to the shape. Plant expert Jo Lambell, founder of beardsanddaisies.co.uk, has shared some top tips for turning the garden feature into a focal point. 

The first part of the planning stage involves deciding where to feature a garden border. 

“Light is an important factor to consider as it’s key to whether your greenery flourishes or fails,” explained Jo.

The location of a border will determine the type of plants that can feature in the space, and whether they require full sun or shade.

For an area in full sun, Jo suggested planting an Osteospermums, or African daisy, as it’s also known. The plant thrives in hot and dry conditions and provides an abundance of flowers. A Delosperma is another hardy plant which is drought resistant and requires full sun.

An Astilbe would be well-suited to a shaded area as it thrives in damp conditions, however, it can be planted in a sunny location with damp soil during warmer months.

Soil conditions

Other factors to consider include the type of soil and level of drainage.

Shaping a border

Once the location has been established, careful thought will need to go into the shape and size of the border.

“This is exciting and a chance to really let your imagination go wild,” said Jo, “as there are many ways this could go, from straight and square borders for a more minimalistic look, to curved edges that create the illusion of more space.”

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Creating an outline of where a border will be positioned can be beneficial.  Sharing a useful tip to form the shape, Jo explained: “A good hack is to make use of a garden hose if you’re considering a curved border as you can lay this into the shape of a curve to help you envision how it’ll look.”

Creating edges

The next stage involves removing grass and creating edges. With the use of a spade, old patches of grass should be removed, along with any stones and weeds. Jo recommended pouring fresh compost in to the border to provide the new plants with “the best growing conditions possible”.

“To create a clear distinction between the rest of your garden and the border, you want obvious edges to separate the two,” said Jo.

To achieve distinctive edging, a gardening tool, such as an edging knife, should be used to line the border. A trench is then created with a minimum depth of four centimetres.

Choice of plants

The final stage involves choosing and planting a selection of greenery in the border.

“Think about if you want to create a specific colour scheme – perhaps the brighter the better, or a pretty pastel pink to purple theme,” said Jo.

When deciding where to position the plants, the size and height of the plants should be considered.

“Put the tallest plants at the back, and smaller ones at the front to create a graduated effect of different sizes,” advised Jo. “Alternatively, you could choose only plants of a similar height for a more uniformed look.”

Another factor to consider is the width of a plant and how wide it is expected to grow.

“If a plant’s width can grow to 30 centimetres, you need to make sure it has around 15 centimetres on either side before planting another plant next to it,” explained Jo.

Before placing the plants into position, it is a good idea to arrange them while still in their pots. Jo advised soaking the plants in a bucket of water before planting them in, and to dig a hole which is larger than the plant’s roots.

To find out more about Beards and Daisies, visit: https://www.beardsanddaisies.co.uk

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