Advice Needed: How do I create a smart plant border along house front?

Ruby Diffey
4 October, 2018

We have extended and refurbished an old chalet bungalow and need to add a few finishing touches. Finally we are getting round to plants! What would you recommend for a smart all year round border at the foot of the front house walls. We have a small flower bed 2ft deep under the middle window and are going to prepare one under the far right window. It will be only these two areas. Looking for something that shapes up nice in winter and looks pretty and colourful in the summer. Any ideas please?

Comments (7)

  • Patrina
    I love the idea of different textures, colours and heights. I especially love the idea of having the formality of buxus plants interspersed with plants like lavender and grasses to add colour and movement. I'm not a gardener but think there is potential for beautiful beds. Hoping that someone with an expert eye will provide you with some great suggestions.
  • PRO

    It a small space so keep the colour palette limited. Purple sedums look stunning with blue grasses or cluster of feathery grasses with Aliums.

  • PRO
    Arthur Road Landscapes

    It's not clear from the photos if the flowerbeds are in the sun or shade or a combination. Or what the soil is like. If possible I would try to make the flowerbeds a little deeper than two feet. It will make the planting more generous and won't look so lost against the house.

    Start with a few evergreen plants to give you some structure, which will also look good in the winter. Then try a few, maybe three or four, different plants for colour and texture. And add in some bulbs for an early shot of colour. But make sure all the plants are suitable for the light and the soil.

  • Ellie
    I agree that 2 feet is very shallow and will not allow you to plant much, and will barely show in that huge expanse of driveway.
  • PRO
    Peter Reader Landscapes

    Hi - yes sorry to pitch in on 'the beds are too small front' as well. The other issue with beds against a house is that they sit in a rain shadow, so anything planted within the 8-12 inches will be very dry. Wider beds give more space for the plants that won't then be 'falling out of the front of the bed' all the time, but also allow you to plant them where they will get more rain.

    I would absolutely agree with Arthur Road on selecting the right plant for the conditions that are present, and also think of final size. You see so many shrubs in particular planted in a space that is too small. They then end up getting chopped back harshly and look ugly very quickly. Patrina's idea would solve that as you shape the plants with regular clipping. Many people are nervous of having to keep the plants in shape, but it is actually very easy to do and usually is only required once a year.

  • forzaitalia
    Trying to create a bed that looks good in winter and flowers in summer needs careful planting. Aspect is crucial - sun lovers will hate shade and shade lovers will frazzle in the sun. I think a few small evergreens such as Hebe or Euonymus would be a start. They are short evergreens and the Hebe has white or purple flowers in the summer. They come in various leaf tones. A row of lavender always looks good, but they need a sunny border, and they do look a bit dead in winter.

    You can also plant groups of bulbs such as miniature daffodils and grape hyacinths ( ideal time to plant is now) which will give you lovely yellow and blue colour in the spring. Then I would fill in with short summer flowering perennials such as Geraniums, Geums and Erigeron - these do die down in the winter, but regrow in late spring. Dig the soil over and add a good helping of compost which will help them grow and water regularly until they are established. Don’t forget your local nursery or garden centre staff will also help you choose plants if you are unsure!
    The plants below are Hebe, Euonymus and Mahonia, all are evergreen.
  • E D

    You have a lovely generous space in front of your house.

    Would you be able to designate more area to planting so it becomes more of a front garden?

    This would require a fair bit of planning, considering what you use the space for etc., but I think it could give your home a great looking front exterior.

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