This Colorful Border Garden Plan Has Something Blooming for Three Seasons

Dress up a sunny pathway with these flower-filled beds.

watercolor illustration of colorful border garden plan
Photo:

Gary Palmer

Planted along pathways, lawn edges, and other high traffic areas, border gardens should be colorful and eye-catching, yet manageable and unobtrusive. In this design by Nick Cutsumpas, aka the "plantfluencer" known as Farmer Nick, a mix of cold-hardy and warm-season perennials creates a long-lasting display of color from spring to fall. This design also features a range of leaf shapes, sizes, colors, and textures with exotic caladiums, fuzzy lamb's ears, and rugged coneflowers, ensuring plenty of visual appeal throughout the growing season.

Plants for Creating the Colorful Border Garden Plan

  • 3 Angelonia ('Archangel Dark Purple'): Zones 10-11
  • 3 Astilbe (Astilbe chinensis 'Purple Candles'): Zones 4-9
  • 5 Dahlia ('Hypnotica Orange'): Zones 9-11
  • 4 Caladium ('Tapestry'): Zones 9-10
  • 4 Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'Powwow Wild Berry'): Zones 3-9
  • 12 Perennial salvia (Salvia nemorosa 'Blue Marvel'): Zones 4-9
  • 2 Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Strawberry Shake'): Zones 4-8
  • 2 Lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina): Zones 4-8
  • 2 Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata 'Spring Purple'): Zones 3-9 
  • 4 Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm'): Zones 3-9
  • 3 Sedum ('Autumn Joy'): Zones 3-10
  • 6 Verbena (Verbena hybrida 'Lanai Deep Purple'): Zones 9-10

If you aren't able to find the exact varieties listed above, substitute with others that have similar colors, shapes, and sizes. And because some plants can become overly aggressive and spread out of control in certain climates, always check which species are considered invasive in your area before planting. If you need to substitute a different variety, first make sure it isn't one you'll regret planting later.

Get the Free Colorful Border Garden Plan

This free garden plan is available as a printable PDF that includes an illustrated version of the planted garden, a layout diagram, a list of plants for the garden as shown, and complete instructions for installing the garden.

Tips for Planting and Caring for Your Border Garden

Like a well-oiled machine, this border design will keep cranking out flowers and beautiful leaves throughout the growing season in a sunny spot. In cooler regions, note that some of these selections, such as the 'Tapestry caladiums' and 'Hypnotica' dahlias, will require lifting from the garden in fall and replanting in spring if you want to overwinter them.

Cold hardy plants in the design will also require a bit of maintenance after the first couple of years. Black-eyed Susans and coneflowers in particular will benefit from a little editing of wayward seedlings and some replanting as the original plants begin to age.

Some of the hardiest plants in this design, like the panicle hydrangea and creeping phlox, will thrive and expand in size given even moderate care. To keep them looking clean and refreshed each season, prune the hydrangea and cut back your other plants in late spring prior to the appearance of new growth.

More Colorful Garden Plans to Try

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