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Border plants are those which edge a garden bed or space. Small plants that define the extent of the garden bed or delineates paths.
Borders give structure and formality to the garden, saying the grass ends here and the garden/path starts there!
Generally, these will be low growing plants that allow a view to the rest of the garden, maybe less than 300mm high, perhaps even ground covers. Plants may be neatly trimmed in formal landscaping or left as leafy grasses where a softer look is desired.
You may want to create a disciplined effect, using neat boxed rows in straight, curved or angled lines. Buxus species work well for this arrangement as do Carissa ‘Desert Star’.
Informal gardens will use plants that don’t require frequent clipping; Liriope ‘Evergreen Giant’ make excellent border plants and may be placed in a single line or two or even morphed out in irregular shapes.
Borders may define a property boundary and provide an alternative to hard fences. Here the height can drift up to 1 to 1.5 meters. Lilly Pillies (Syzygium and Acmena) make great border plant species.
Borders may extend some distance and either be exposed to sunlight or shade. In this case, you may want a plant species that is tolerant of both regimes or elect to change the species part way down the length according to suitability.
Think about the plant width at maturity: planted too close to the bed edge and you will be continually clipping. As an example, if a plant spreads to 500mm wide, make the planting hole about 250mm back from the edge.