Garden border materials can be quite expensive because of the quantity required to surround the entire garden. Thrifty gardeners tend to be frugal, preferring inexpensive and free items, as opposed to costly and expensive material. While formal gardens and well-manicured landscapes can be costly, gardeners don't have to spend a lot of money to maintain attractive, well-tended gardens. Many garden border materials are available for free or at low cost, while offering beautiful results.
Perennial plants are very economical over the lifetime of a garden or landscape. Their initial expense is offset because the plants multiply over time, they require little maintenance to stay healthy, and they return year after year. Dwarf and miniature perennial varieties are perfect for a low front border, while larger perennials work well as back borders in a flower bed or landscape. Dwarf perennial geraniums, creeping phlox and dianthus are just a few small perennial flowers for front flower garden borders.
Make your garden border do double duty by planting an edible border. Herbs such as thyme, oregano, parsley and sage are cheap to buy as seeds, are easy to grow, and prove attractive when planted as a border. Strawberries, dwarf bush bean plants, dwarf bush cherry tomato plants and dwarf bush cucumber varieties produce fruits and vegetables while creating a full border for garden beds. Taller herbs such as dill, angelica, lemon verbena, fennel and tansy grow well as back border plants.
Annual flowers are inexpensive border plants that are easy to grow from seed. Marigolds and sweet alyssum are perfect for front borders, while taller plants such as cosmos, zinnias and asters grow well in back borders. Seeds are very cheap, and bedding plants can be economical if you start them yourself in late winter, to be ready to plant in the spring. With a little effort, gardeners who collect annual seeds from dried flower heads will gain free seeds for next year's garden border.
Gardeners can create cheap borders with recycled and salvaged materials. Willow twigs pushed into the soil in an arch shape and tied together with twine along the outside edge of the garden cost very little for an attractive, rustic border. Old tires cut into sections and pushed into the soil vertically provide a sturdy, rot resistant border material. Logs from felled trees can be cut into circular pieces, halved and pushed into the ground to make attractive border options. Old bricks get a second life when used to edge a flower bed border. Creative and thrifty gardeners will find hundreds of recycled materials for border patrol in flower and vegetable gardens.