Forum home Plants

Help planning very narrow border

AmphibiosAmphibios Posts: 158

i have a barrow border running alongside a concrete path: 

It is west facing and gets good sun because I don’t have any houses to east of me.
It is approximately 60-80 cm in depth and 17m long. 
I love coneflowers - I think the aspect is fine for coneflowers but it’s is clay soil. I would like to grow them along the strip but wanted some spire type plants to make it interesting. 

I was was thinking a purple salvia but they’re shorter than coneflowers and I think something taller would look nice behind the coneflowers? 

Could I plant Pervskia blue spire behind and the coneflowers in front? 
The spread of pervskia is 1m - does this mean it grows to a depth of 1m too, leaving no space for the coneflowers? 

In such a narrow border - does it mean I can’t plant 2 plants in - I have to alternate plants instead? 

Could you point me tp arrangements iorvtechniques on how to arrange plants in a narrow border for interest? 

I also live aliums achillea, salvia, echinops In purple/blue/pink colour scheme. 

Please tell me if my plant choice is silly or hard for a beginner Gardner 

Thanks so much 



  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,504
    To be honest narrow borders never really work well , they can look nice with one type of plant. 

    What if think you should consider is moving the path down the middle so you can have two nice size borders either side. 
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,853
    edited March 2019

    Would it be possible to make your bed wider? I see there are concrete or stone pavers, is it possible to move them? It looks as though your garden is long and thin, personally I wouldn't have a long thin bed down the side, I would prefer to make curves or diagonals across the width or divide it into sections to make it look wider.

    The earth at the bottom of a fence or wall can get quite dry so make sure nothing is planted too close. It looks as though some preparation is necessary before planting, such as weeding, digging in of compost.

    I would draw a plan of what you want first. Do you want a seating area, vegetable patch, play area?

    I think your plant choices sound OK. So long as the plants are happy in the conditions you plant them then choose what pleases you. You can look up the planting conditions on Internet.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,479
    I agree, if it's at all possible, move the path. Apart from anything else it will make life easier for you when it comes to planting, and it will be better for the plants.  :)
  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 4,218
    Looks like a prison courtyard with all those fences. Don't fence me in!
    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • AmphibiosAmphibios Posts: 158
    Thanks so much for the suggestions. 

    The path is concreted and with with everything else (new house) it will have to be a long term project to do in 2-3 years. 

    Because I have clay soil and the fence and concrete path are close I thought that that bed might be dry enough for plants like echinacea, salvia, aliums and pervskia. 

    The stuff I have read about arranging plants in a border is by height.  But there is no depth in this border. 

    Are there other types types of arrangements I could look up for perhaps plants that are same height or side by side? 

    many Thanks Ax 
  • AmphibiosAmphibios Posts: 158
    Papi Jo said:
    Looks like a prison courtyard with all those fences. Don't fence me in!
    planning on planting things this year so that you won’t even realise you’re trapped  :#
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    I would spend two years getting it laid out, weeded and loads of manure chopped in, then draw a design on paper and see how it looks.
    Preparation is the secret to success.

    Diagonal planting is nice, then your path can zig zag down to the bottom of the garden.
    first things first, get yourself a nice blank canvas then think about the plants.
    If you want a bit of colour in the summer, get a couple of tubs and buy a few bedding plant from Morrison or similar just to brighten it up.

    Personally, I think the best bit of laying the garden, is the prep work, seeing your soil looking nice and weed free and in good condition. 

    When I first had this garden, it was in a mess, been neglected but I loved digging the borders, edging the grass etc.   Now I’ve done it, I’m fed up with it, 😀

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,504
    Should be fine with pervoskia , try planting with salvia carrodonna and alchemilla mollies for late spring summer and Pervoskia with verbena Bonarises for late summer /autumn . you can added allium / other bulbs like crocus etc , allum nigrum would look good with salvia as do must other alliums . Getting suitable height will be the biggest problem maybe a climbing roses trained across it ? All the plants I've mentioned can be substituted for something else like nepata - Erysium B maulve for the salvia etc. I'll leave you to it football started  :)  
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,853

    Lyn, your garden is beautiful, how can you be fed up with it?

    Some years ago I did a make over for my daughter when she lived in a town house. Her garden was a mini version of yours but more hemmed in. I weeded and dug the whole thing first. She wanted a bit of lawn, some flowers and a climbing rose. The left half was in shade. Here is before and after.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    I remember when you did that Lizzie, it’s really nice, such a transformation.

    I’m fed up with my garden now because there’s so much I’d like to do and can’t, there’s too much grass, OH doesn’t fancy digging any more beds, and really, I can’t blame him. So now it’s all laid out and planted up there’s only compost to spread and annuals sown for infill and tubs.
    That  has become my favourite thing now, about 50 tubs and 25 baskets, all grown from seed. I love that 💕 💖 💗  

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

Sign In or Register to comment.