Forum home Garden design

Reducing the size of my borders

I would like to reduce the size of my borders to reduce maintenance (weeding in particular!).  The garden is about 80ft long and the borders about 2-3 feet wide. Is the best way to do this to buy some topsoil and turf and gradually reduce the size by adding to the lawn? One side is mainly planted with shrubs but the other is a mixture of planting - roses, peony, montbretia, foxglove, fuchsia, wisteria, hosta and several others, including a cordyline which started in a small pot and is now 3 'trees' and a fourth shoot on its way! I do want to keep some of the plants but some can go. In particular, I would like to reduce the width where the montbretia has spread.  Thank you.

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    Have you got a photo @Ms P? That can sometimes make it easier for suggestions.  :)
    I do very little weeding, because I use lots of ground covering plants to prevent weeds. Much easier.
    If it's Montbretia you have, rather than a named, cultivated variety, it'll spread rapidly anyway, so it's worth trying to get rid of that. It's a bit of a problem.  ;)

    You could try just taking one, or more, of your borders away completely and turfing. You'd need to make sure you get the levels right, which can often be the hardest bit. Soil settles due to weather, so this time of year can be a good time to do it, so that the settling happens before warmer weather comes along for turfing or seeding, and you can then top it up before doing that.
    Getting a good match for your existing turf can also be difficult, so it's a good idea to use some seed scattered over the whole area as well at a later date, to get a good blend.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • KT53KT53 GloucestershirePosts: 7,520
    I have a section of border which has never really been very successful.  My plan is to level the soil and turf it.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 10,487
    It might be far easier to just reduce the length of the border. 2-3 ft wide is the very minimum for a border (4 to 6ft is usually recommended) otherwise you would just end up with a one row of plants which won't look good. 

    I suggest you could divide the border into two (or even three) sections and pave or gravel in between (length to suit you). You could site a bench or some pots in the space which would cut down on weeding and mowing and give more interest to your garden. 
  • Ms PMs P Posts: 7
    Fairygirl said:
    Have you got a photo @Ms P? That can sometimes make it easier for suggestions.  :)
    I do very little weeding, because I use lots of ground covering plants to prevent weeds. Much easier.
    If it's Montbretia you have, rather than a named, cultivated variety, it'll spread rapidly anyway, so it's worth trying to get rid of that. It's a bit of a problem.  ;)

    You could try just taking one, or more, of your borders away completely and turfing. You'd need to make sure you get the levels right, which can often be the hardest bit. Soil settles due to weather, so this time of year can be a good time to do it, so that the settling happens before warmer weather comes along for turfing or seeding, and you can then top it up before doing that.
    Getting a good match for your existing turf can also be difficult, so it's a good idea to use some seed scattered over the whole area as well at a later date, to get a good blend.  :)

    Here is the photo. It's all a bit brown and sorry looking at the moment.  The montbretia I cut back a bit last week and it is spreading around the very bottom of the garden.  Where the cordylines are, the soil is very dry.  Thank you for your suggestion though.

  • edhelkaedhelka GwyneddPosts: 2,267
    I think making the borders narrower in this garden would make them look very out of proportion.
    You could look into installing some kind of edging, like a mowing strip, that would cut a lot of work with edging the grass and also some of the weeding work. Or maybe some plants used as a low hedge, they could hide low-growing weeds in the rest of the border.
    Lizzie's idea is also very good.
  • Ms PMs P Posts: 7
    I think the mowing strip is a good idea and also breaking up the border with gravel or a bench.  There are some plants that I would be happy to move. The edging and weeding are what take time. Or maybe I need to put more in them to reduce the chance for weeds to grow?
    Thank you all for your help.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    It's the easiest solution  - groundcover. I do virtually no weeding, as I said earlier. 

    Removing a whole border, or parts of them, is the next easiest, but still requires a bit of effort to turn them into grass. Even edging strips or similar won't eliminate the need to trim grass edges as it grows over them, and is therefore a matter of aesthetics. 
    How much time and effort you have for removing and re instating grass is a big factor  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


Sign In or Register to comment.