How to Set Up Garden Borders How to Set Up Garden Borders

Adding garden borders can add style and contrast to your garden. Garden borders develop their own character and uniqueness over time, and are useful in hiding problem areas of your garden. Here is how to go about getting your garden border started:

What You will Need:

•Organic matter

Step One – Planning

You will need to determine if your garden border will be in the sun or shade, whether the soil is an acidic or alkaline type, whether the drainage is sufficient or needs improving and your budget for your garden border. These characteristics will determine the type of plants for your garden border. If you decide on shrubs or trees, they are more expensive, but require far less maintenance. Perennials require more care, but can be breathtaking, and add variety to a border.

Step Two – Measuring and Marking

Once you determine the position and shape of your garden border, you'll need to mark out the space. Be sure not to make your garden border too narrow; generally, a wider plot is easier to maintain and it looks better. Soft curves are easier to mow and edge; therefore, they should be used when marking your border. Don't attempt to make very sharp or sudden curves, as they are harder to maintain. When laying out your garden border, you might find a standard garden hose pipe works really well. It's easy to bend and easy to adjust to the shape that you desire.

If you've already purchased plants for your border, this would be a good time to spread them out, so you can visualize what your border will look like. Arrange, and rearrange, them until the border is basically what you have in mind. Try to visualize what the plants will look like when they bloom, and how they will look during other seasons.

Step Three - Prepare the Soil

Begin by removing all weeds and other plants that you don’t want in your garden border. Top grass can be chopped and turned under, or you may consider making compost out of it. Try not to remove any of the topsoil.

Once you remove the top grass, began mixing in your organic matter with the soil. This will improve the quality of your soil considerably, and may be the difference between a garden border that becomes an eyesore and one that is truly beautiful. (Note - when preparing your soil, seeds from weeds will always be brought to the surface, and there will be new weeds that grow -- so you will need to use your hoe to remove these. Usually, it is best to prepare your garden border in the fall, and then plant the following spring.)

Step Four - Check the Drainage

If drainage is a problem in your garden border area, make a raised bed. To do this build up a short retaining wall using common red bricks, stones or railway ties and then add topsoil. If the soil appears to be sandy or dry, this is a good time to add fertilizer as well. Then rake the soil level.

Step Five - Plant the Border

Using a shovel or hoe, dig the holes for your plants. Make sure that the depth of the hole is deep enough by ensuring that the hole is the same depth of the pot, in which they were growing. For shrubs and trees make your planting hole twice as wide and deep as that of the pot. After the holes are dug, loosen the soil, add organic matter and fertilizer.

Remove the plants from their pots, and put them in the holes. Pack topsoil around them and water thoroughly. Then, add about 2 inches of mulch or organic matter to help prevent weeds and retain moisture in the soil.

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