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How wide should a garden border be?

Updated February 21, 2017

Border gardens can be filled with a variety of plants including flowers, shrubs and even small trees. There is no hard and fast rule about how wide garden borders should be. If you plan ahead, they can be almost any width.

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Borders for small areas

If you have a small area that you'd like to line with borders, keep things narrow. A 1 to 1.25 metre border can accommodate annual and perennial flowers, small shrubs and climbing plants.

Borders for large areas

Large areas can handle wider borders that are 2 to 3 metres deep. Wide borders are also good if you have a small space but are more interested in decorating with borders than having lots of lawn.


Borders don't have to be uniform in width. You can create undulating borders that have curves. If you do this, keep the border curves gentle rather than pronounced, for aesthetics and ease of mowing.


Easy access to all areas of your border gardens in necessary for weeding and plant care. Create paths within wide borders so you can reach your entire garden. Stepping stones help avoid compaction of the soil.

Plants for garden borders

Flowers and grasses are commonly used in borders. You can also use shrubs that offer interesting form, pretty flowers or great foliage colour. Wide garden borders can also be planted with small ornamental trees or climbing plants.

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About the Author

Leslie Lane

Leslie Lane has been writing professionally since 2007. Her areas of expertise include landscape and garden design; trees, shrubs and perennials; plant care; and plant pests and diseases. An education in landscape horticulture from Lansing Community College is paired with several years experience working for one of Michigan's premier wholesale/retail nurseries and growing farms.

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