Narrow garden borders require just as much careful planning as larger garden beds and landscaping accents. Ideal locations in your yard include strips along walkways, in front of fences or walls and around hardscaping items like benches, ponds and statuary. Lay down a piece of rope or old garden hose in the shape of the planned garden border. This will help you finalize the plans for where and how large the garden border will be.
Watch the amounts of sunlight that hit the proposed garden spot throughout the day. You must figure out if the location of the garden border gets full sun, partial sun or is in shade. This will determine what type of plants that are available for the location. It will also help figure out maintenance schedules for watering.
Research plants, both perennials and annuals, compatible with the amount of sunlight the garden border location gets. If the area is wide, shrubs and bushes can be considered as well. In most narrow garden borders, less bulky plants are warranted. Look through gardening books or peruse Internet garden and plant sites for inspiration and information. It is also important to take into account the types of soil you have in the area. Clay or sand soils must be augmented in most cases for better growth and health of plants.
Consider adding edging material to your garden border. Strips of plants near sidewalks especially can benefit from the inclusion of a barrier to keep dirt and mulch inside the bed. Stones, bricks, wood slats or flexible plastic garden edging are all good choices. Ideally, the material should match the general construction of your home or other hardscaping accents in your yard.
Draw rough estimates of the plants you like on a piece of paper that represents the garden border. Put taller plants in the back of any garden up against a wall or fence, or to the center of a garden that can be seen from both sides. Shorter plants should be in the front. Garden borders that edge walkways should be kept short to not obstruct the view of the rest of the landscaping.
Purchase the plants that will do well in your location and plant them in the prepared garden border. Plan for plant growth instead of positioning the young plants for maximum fullness from the start. Pay attention to soil quality – clay, loam or sand – and augment the soil as needed. Complete the garden border with a layer of mulch to help reduce weed growth and give a more finished appearance.