When it was still rainy and cold outside in the Early Spring I read a book called Designing Borders by Noel Kingbury 2003 and I was compelled to take notes instead of just flipping through to admire the photos.
I hope that I will refer to them at least once a year.
Which Style to use?
An old house may suggest a cottage border, a finely proportioned house might need something more formal and a modern home may need a border with many ornamental grasses and other simple elegant forms.
Modern thinking aims to have a dense carpet of plants by late spring so there is no bare earth left for weed seedlings. If any appear after this you must pull by hand.
Expert: Do’s and Don’ts on making borders.
DO NOT concentrate on colour
(I go out at dusk and look for myself) Structure is equally important. Does it just look like a clump of all the same thing? It should look just as good in black and white.
Avoid too many shrubs- Many garden centre shrubs become too big over time – SO TRUE! and will take over the border. Many refreshing designs do without. It is wrong to think they are low maintenance. Shrubs can be cut right down to the ground however if they do become too big for the site with positive results.
Avoid bare ground. Aim to have all soil covered by late spring. Gravel is more stylish than chips, more durable over the long-term and makes a good backdrop to a wide variety of colour.
DO NOT make borders too small. No narrow strips. Plough up boring stretches of lawn and replace with wide borders that stretch right across the garden. The bigger the border the more you can try different effects and plant combinations. Do not be discouraged by quirky irregular areas or slopes. This can be more exciting than a rectangle. Decide on a feature that sets the tone for the whole garden. It is nice to have a different perspective to view a garden.
Avoid close planting. If you do you must be prepared to be ruthless in future years removing some.
How’s that for some straightforward advice?