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Novice Gardener with narrow border - planting ideas

This is my first garden and I've just removed some dead trees leaving a narrow border 0.6 metres wide and 5.5 metres long to fill. It is sunny/partically shady. I am thinking of planting little lime hydrangeas, maybe some sort of dwarf conifer, or the golf ball pittosporum and perhaps also a hebe to attract the wildlife. I'm guessing that I can plant 5 shrubs around a metre apart but I'm not sure if these will all grow too big for the size of the border? If anyone has any recommendations for what plants would be good (and relatively easy to care for) and not overpower a border of this size it would be really apprecaited. 


  • hatty123hatty123 Posts: 125
    I've been in my house 4 years. When I moved in it had narrow borders with concreted-in clay edging. Put up with it until last year when I dug it all out, literally days of digging and heaving out concrete,but I was sick of having to restrict my planting to what would fit. So I guess I'm saying this because I'd be asking if you actually want narrow borders and the restriction that comes with it? 
  • BijdezeeBijdezee Posts: 1,484
    Is it possible to make it wider? Borders never really work when they're less than about 1.5 metres. Plants either overpower them or are lost in them. Maybe widen it and give it a softer line? 

    Sorry, seem to have posted it twice.
    I think I would put gravel on the narrow side next to the patio, or maybe some wildflower annuals? 
  • One option would be to plant a climber that wouldn't overwhelm the fence.
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,329
    Growing climbers on that fence (assuming it is yours or your neighbour is ok with that) would be nice. Small shrubs would be good too and many perennials. Many things can grow well and look well in narrow borders. 
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,436
    We need to know which way your garden faces ideally and the type of soil.i have a narrow border by the side of my bungalow, next to a path which leads to the gate, cant be made wider obviously, if you are happy with the size, yes I would start with a framework of shrubs.You can buy dwarf forms, cheaper to,in a small space wildflowers tend to be a bit messy and wouldn't go with shrubs,if it's sunny there maybe herbs for the pot, don't mix and match too much in a small space
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 757
    I have a narrow 60 cm border outside the garden wall, east facing with clay/new build soil, and it's planted as a lavender hedge (Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'). The plants are in a zigzag pattern, and it is a bee magnet throughout summer. Similar sized nepeta could also work.

    Photo this morning:

    Photo last summer:

  • didywdidyw Posts: 2,930
    Nepeta would also be a cat magnet @Athelas!
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 757
    Good point @didyw :)

    It may depend on the cat though — mine isn’t interested in catnip or catmint, and the local cats seem to leave the Nepeta faassenii ‘Purrsian Blue’ I’ve got outside alone...
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,053
    edited April 2021
    I have a 40cm east-facing border and manage to grow lots of things in it - gaura whirling butterflies, salvia, nepeta, echinacea, geraniums and compact shrub roses. A tall narrow shrub that would grow there is an upright berberis ‘rocket’ type, plus maybe a nandina domestica. I would consider widening the border beyond the patio though to line up with the shed, which would give you a lot more scope. The narrow bed by the patio is ideal for climbers, I wouldn’t be able to resist some fragrant climbing roses and a clematis there!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Wow, thank you everyone for your suggestions. Unfortunately I can't widen the border as it is a shared garden but might be something I can do in future when I sort the paving out. So many ideas and suggestions for shrubs and plants that it will take me a while to decide - I like the idea of fragrant climbers to hide the fence. I definately won't be wasting money on the shrubs that I was going to buy that will be too big!
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