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Narrow Border Planting Plan

A narrow border in the landscape is an arrangement of closely spaced plants. In other words, the plants themselves form a natural barrier around an area of small proportions. The plants will typically grow together tightly packed, creating a visually attractive and practical barrier in your garden.

The plants in narrow border planting plans are usually filled with attractive foliage and simple yet colorful flowers. This guide will help you create a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape design, filling every border of your yard, no matter how thin.

Table of Contents

Lavender (Lavandula)

A row of lavenders is ideal for a compact border; even the slimmest borders can provide enough space for tiny lavender varieties like ‘Wee One,’ ‘Little Lady,’ and ‘Compacta.’ The lavender’s pleasant fragrance is unparalleled, and whether you use this plant to line a walkway or border or to make a short barrier, you’ll smell the plant immediately as you pass by it.

To maintain the plants’ small size, orderly appearance, and thriving growth, you should trim lavender at least two times per year, in the fall and spring.

Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia)

Red hot poker also referred to as the red hot poker lily, tritoma, or torch plant, is a hardy, stunning plant that survives in the blistering heat, bright sunlight, and arid land. It works nicely on narrow borders because it’s one of the showy blooming plants that will give your borders a pleasant look with its spikes’ bright colors of red, orange, and yellow.

You must space the red hot pokers appropriately, so they have enough space when they reach their maximum size. While poker plants aren’t picky about the soil in which they are grown, they do need moisture control and will not endure extreme wetness.

Fleabane (Erigeron)

Erigeron flowers are low-maintenance blooming plants that withstand deer munching. The best thing about them is they bloom profusely for several months, and you can utilize them as a ground cover or cushion landscape borders.

Fleabane grows well in small gaps and fissures; therefore, a thin border is ideal for this plant. Because it is an excellent self-seeder (a plant that reproduces independently), this would slowly but surely cover your slender border.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera)

Honeysuckle is among the best-smelling vines, climbing freely over trellises and inundating the surroundings with its enticing aroma. Suppose your thin border is along a walkway or another spot you pass by regularly. In that case, delightfully scented plants like honeysuckle would be ideal!

Honeysuckle is a wonderful ornamental plant you can choose for a narrow border, with its amazing smell and pretty flowers. You can find this plant in all climates, but it prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil. You will need to train it to a trellis if you want it to be upright and narrow.

Beardtongues (Penstemon)

Penstemon, or beardtongue, is a good pick for a striking and long-blooming plant with minimal water needs and impressive variety, with hundreds of species imaginable. They cover any small border with foxglove-looking blooms in almost every color—orange, pink, blue, red, white, purple, and yellow—in the summertime, shortly after your springtime bloomers have gone.

Penstemons love direct sunshine, so they need it to thrive. They also require highly well-drained soils and cannot grow in soggy soils, particularly in the wintertime.

Ferns (Tracheophyta)

You’ll love ferns if you have a narrow border in a shady spot in the yard. They add a lush, green backdrop to any space in the landscape, but they also add some much-needed color and texture. For small borders, the petite painted fern may be the best answer.

These low-maintenance plants are ideal for shady, moist areas where a few plants thrive. Their delicate foliage complements several other shade-loving plants; for example, when combined with other perennials like hostas, ferns provide a textural variation.

You should keep an eye on the soil, so it does not become too dry for your fern. If this happens, add water by spraying it with a spray bottle or sprinkler.

Foxglove (Digitalis)

Foxglove is another excellent, easy-to-maintain plant for narrow-border planting. It is a majestic flower with long beautiful spikes of bell-shaped blooms that birds and bees like.

Foxglove grows in dappled shades and small spaces, and it brightens up any gloomy space since it produces lots of clusters of tubular flowers, which come in different colors, including white, purple, pink, yellow, and red.

Japanese anemones (Eriocapitella hupehensis)

Japanese anemones are admired for bringing the late-season appeal to narrow borders far into the fall. They yield saucer-like white or pink blooms on tall, thin, branching stalks. When established, these hardy perennials are simple to maintain and adaptable, flourishing in sun or moderate shade and growing quickly.

Overall, these are hardy perennials that aren’t too picky with their environment, although they are enormously prolific in shady and dry conditions.

Fortune’s spindle (Euonymus fortunei)

Planting the Fortune’s Spindle or Winter Creeper plant on a narrow border is a great way to add interesting foliage to your garden.

Euonymous fortunei climbs if supported when planted as ground cover for the spectacular leaves. This plant, like a woody vine, may generate new rootlets when its limbs come into touch with moisture. Furthermore, when this vine grows up trees, it develops aerial rootlets along its stems.

I would only suggest this plant for a wider border that you are able to trim and prune regularly or that is tightly bordered by hardscapes to keep this plant in check.

Bearded iris (Iris × germanica)

Bearded irises are widely used in classic and contemporary landscape designs. These gorgeous plants require a small amount of space and flourish in a border where the sun hits the most.

Bearded irises come in almost every color, so you can use them to complement various garden color combinations. You may raise these low-maintenance plants in your yard if you have well-drained soil and a brightly sunlit location.

Espalier training trees

Trees are extremely beneficial because they provide shade, sustain and protect animals, and serve to control water runoff. To set up a narrow border, we recommend espalier-trained trees. These are perfect for compact landscapes and tight locations where spreading trees or bushes don’t fit since these usually woody trees take up minimal space and still grow flowers, leaves, and fruit when placed against the wall. Plus, these trees are a great way to conceal bland-looking walls in the landscape!

The classic espalier foci are pear and apple trees since their spurs survive for years bearing fruit. Nevertheless, you can also consider apricots and peaches as trees that you can train in this manner.


A Libertia plant is an excellent addition to any garden. They are known for their beautifully structured and textured green foliage, making them plants for narrow landscape borders.

Libertias are graceful perennials with leaves that resemble swords and light stems that carry white blooms. Libertia chilensis is a commonly used plant in landscaping since it prefers a sunny location and damp, well-drained soil, making it easy to care for. It’s perfect for narrow borders because of its clumping habit and eye-catching flowers and foliage. The same as the iris, it starts from rhizomes and grows gradually.


Almost any plant that holds its shape well can be squeezed into a narrow border, especially if you are an avid and regular pruner. The less that you like to prune and maintain, the smaller the full-grown plant should be.