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Perennials to fill a 1-foot lawn border?

MisterBoyMisterBoy Posts: 52
I built this small garden from scratch last year:

I cut a narrow border against the railway sleeper retaining wall but I'm not sure what to plant there.

I planned some geums but they are not quite what I expected, I'm wanting something that will spread densely  to fill in the space and remain low, like 6-12" tall. Low maintenance but with pretty flowers or foliage, to choke out weeds.

I'll probably leave the geums in and plant in between and leave them to fight it out.

What might fit the bill? It's a very sheltered spot in North East England, South facing but only gets partial sun as we are surrounded by trees.



  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    edited July 2019
    Have a look at Heucheras, there are some smaller neatly mounding ones as well as the larger cultivars, Tiarella and  Heucherella (Heucherella being a cross of the first two).

    I recently bought one called Sugar Frosting that has little leaves and makes a small neat mound, so far. From the looks of it it will stay small.
    Also has small delicate spires of flowers. The label says 18 x 30 cm.   That is height and spread.
    So you may find some similar or others to suite you.
    There are lots of leaf colours and patterns to choose from. They mostly keep their leaves in the winter too.
    Though some do get tatty.

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    You may constantly be fighting with the edge of the lawn no matter what you plant there. My suggestion would be saxifrage London Pride. Well behaved and easy to keep in check. More or less plant it and forget about it. 
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,248
    edited July 2019
    If you're going with a narrow border, planting all the same thing, creating a low, flowering 'hedge', usually looks best. A 1ft border won't work - the plants will just spread over the grass and you won't be able to mow up the edge, and you'll end up either bashing the plants with your mower or with long grass invading the bed. 2ft is probably the minimum. An edging would be helpful to keep the border defined.

    If you want to have mixed planting, you need a much deeper border really.

  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    edited July 2019
    I also agree about the width or should that be depth?  of the border, if you have a plant that spreads to 12inches / 30 cms. Having a strip of edging or a little bare soil so you can edge it or mow. 
    You might feel it takes too much lawn, but it will look better and be easier to maintain.

    You might also look at Epimediums some keep their leaves all year though they are a bit boring if you want summer flowers. But they like woodlandy conditions .
    One called Amber Queen has some flowers intermittently as well as the main spring flush. There are probably other new cultivars that also have some. And many have colourful new spring foliage and good autumn colours.

    Sorry also meant to say your new garden looks nice too.
  • MisterBoyMisterBoy Posts: 52
    I don't mind it fighting the edge of the lawn as long as it's something I can cut back robustly without it minding.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited July 2019
    Most plants don't like being cut right back on a regular basis. Apart from grass.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,057
    I agree with others. I'd cut much more of the grass back so the border is nearer  3feet ( wide / deep). 
    As it is you inevitably end up with a single  "row" of plants, like soldiers on parade.
  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    I guess yo could try Geraniums like Rozanne. I only got ours last year and loving her already, flops about a bit but you can shove the stems out of the way or cut it once established.
    Flowers for months on end, and does not mind a bit of shade, not too much.
    Take a look at Lilac Ice also only just got it. pale well lilac.
    A sport of Rozanne but I read it is not as vigorous.
    There are others.
  • MisterBoyMisterBoy Posts: 52
    Hostafan1 said:
    I agree with others. I'd cut much more of the grass back so the border is nearer  3feet ( wide / deep). 
    As it is you inevitably end up with a single  "row" of plants, like soldiers on parade.
    Then most of the lawn is gone!
    The idea is this is a small show lawn and I just want to avoid the lawn running up to the sleeper.

    Someone suggested saxifrage, which sounds a nice idea. Small leaves forming clumps... I can let it overflow a bit as long as I am diligent, I guess. 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,057
    IMHO a deeper , well planted border would enhance , rather than detract from the lawn. 
    Your garden, your choice.
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