Garden or landscape border ideas for a small space are governed only by your imagination. You can use low-growing plants, flowers and herbs to edge your garden, or choose stones or small-rise plastic borders. Various types of mint and chives make attractive borders, and you can also use them to make tea or sauces.  

10 Creative Landscape Border Ideas for Limited Space

Any garden can have flowers or plants as a border, or an edging consisting of stones or a fence. Small gardens might have a metal edging that’s a few inches high to separate the walkway from the garden.

You can adapt most landscape border ideas suitable for a larger space in a limited space as well. You won’t be able to use large, elaborate borders made of china plates or used bicycle tires like you can for larger spaces, but you can still be creative.  

How to Choose Edging Plants

Pink tulips represents as separate from pathway to your garden

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Edging, or border plants separate plants in your garden from your lawn or sidewalk. The types of plants you choose vary on the size, shape and overall appearance of your landscape. 

You can choose a row of tall grass or bushes if you want privacy or a row of small plants that are close to the ground if you want visitors to view your garden even from a distance.   

Ask yourself a few questions before choosing bordering plants:

Why are you edging the space? In a small yard or garden, you can use bordering plants to define the space or act as a barrier to give you privacy.

Consider the weather conditions in your area. Do you live in a sunny or overcast location? Is the climate dry or damp? Does your garden get a lot of traffic or is it secluded? Find plants that will do well in your area’s climate, and your yard’s landscape conditions.

You should also consider how plants will fit in with the garden’s color scheme. Some plants need more care than others. If you don’t have a lot of time to maintain your garden, choose low-maintenance plants.

The soil type is an important consideration, too, even though it doesn’t directly affect the landscape design. Choose the right plants for the type of soil in your garden to ensure they grow faster and stay healthy. 

Zinnias and the perennial Dianthus prosper in alkaline soil, while Begonias, Trillium and Lupine thrive in acidic soil. Plant Daylilies, Virginia Creepers and Stonecrop (Sedum) if you live where salt is often used on roads and sidewalks. 

If you want border plants to shade your yard, consider halcyon hosta. This herbaceous perennial has lavender flowers and blooms late in summer. Halcyon hosta plants are known for their textured blue leaves. They grow to be as tall as two feet. Leaves on new plants are lance-shaped, but they turn oval-shaped after they’ve grown for a while. 

Halcyon hosta should be grown in neutral or acidic soil. 

Virginia bluebells start out pink and bloom into a lavender-pink color. The flowers eventually turn blue. These pretty perennials may reach 18 to 24 inches and are also called Virginia cowslip.

Violets or Other Small Flowers

flowery garden edging the garden

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Small bunches of flowers are the most obvious natural border for small landscapes. The alyssum is a tiny annual flower that’s usually white, but also be lavender, pink or cream. If the flower is cut back, it grows at a fast pace throughout the season. 

Add a blast of color to your garden edging with barrenwort. It has flowers in shades of yellow, pink, orange, purple and white. Some varieties of this flower have leaves that turn bronze in the fall.

Low-Growing Plants

low-growing plants including violet flowers

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Low-growing plants, with or without blooms, are the best choice for most small garden edging. Violets are a favorite, and you can combine them with other colorful flowers for an eye-catching border.

Corsican Mint

This mint-scented plant has mauve blossoms that appear in the summer. They are easy to divide and do well in partial and full sunlight. This herb is a popular groundcover in many gardens. It’s self-seeding can grow fast. Keep soil moist, but not soggy when growing Corsican mint. 

Blue Star Creepers

The semi-evergreen called Blue star creeper has light blue flowers shaped like stars that bloom in the summer. These plants grow up to a few inches tall and can be used for landscape border ideas or placement between stones or pavers on garden paths.

Beach Strawberries

The beach strawberry plant is related to the edible strawberry plant. This small plant gets its name because it grows best in coastal regions. It has white flowers with small red fruits. The fruits are mainly ornamental, but South Americans eat them as a delicacy. Beach strawberries have low irrigation needs and are sturdy enough to withstand light foot traffic.

Marigolds

Marigolds aren’t just gold in color. You can also plant white, yellow or red flowers, or mix them as edging. Most marigolds only grow to be six inches tall, although some varieties are taller. It’s easy to experiment with marigolds because they are quite inexpensive.

You won’t have to worry about mosquitoes or other bugs hovering over your garden if you plant marigolds since their scent acts as an insect repellent.

Dymondia

A grassy ground cover with silvery green leaves, dymondia can be used to edge gardens or as a grass between pavers. This grass has yellow blooms during the spring and needs a moderate amount of care. 

Dymondia is pet-friendly and only grows to be about an inch tall. You may need to add height to the dirt level between your walkway or pavers to accommodate this plant. 

Recycled Bottles

recycled bottles in a garden landscape

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Use discarded glass bottles in different colors as a border for your garden. Bottle borders work well for spiral or circular gardens in small areas in the center of a yard.  

Flat Stones

flat stones as a pathway to garden

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Use discarded glass bottles in different colors as a border for your garden. Bottle borders work well for spiral or circular gardens in small areas in the center of a yard.  

Small Plastic Edging with Pebbles

pebbles as a separator in a garden

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Use a metal edging to separate your lawn or sidewalk from your garden. The strip of pebbles between your garden and the rest of your yard can be as wide as space allows. Paint or decorate the metal strip to make it more attractive.

Cobbled Stone Plastic Garden Borders

brick pattern gives life to garden

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A manufactured plastic border with a brick pattern gives you a definitive edge to your garden. The border doesn’t take up much space, and you’ll be able to plant more flowers than if you used a bulkier edging.

Seashells

Seashells placed in a garden is creative

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If you collect seashells, they may look better as a garden border than on your shelf. You can also buy seashells at arts and craft stores. Use clam seashells to fan out in front of your garden if you want the border to be visible from a distance. Small she​​lls that lie flat on the soil may only be visible when people close to the garden.  

Crushed seashells can also be used as mulch.

Ornamental Grass

ornamental grass creates illusion of border in a garden

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Ornamental grass comes in many textures, heights, and colors and can add a soft feeling to your garden’s border. You may want natural edging instead of metal or plastic while retaining the sense of a definitive border. Use short clumps of grass, like silver grass in dwarf varieties, to separate your garden from the rest of your yard.  

Herbs

herbs as a tool in garden edging

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Ornamental herbs serve as an eye-catching border for small gardens. Silver thyme is a beautiful lavender-pink herb that blooms in the summer, and it fits nicely into borders of small gardens. It grows to 12 inches tall and has a bushy texture to soften the edges of your garden. 

Using silver thyme is more than one of the top landscape border ideas. It makes a fragrant tea, and you can also add it as a garnish with fruits and vegetables, and as a flavoring for sauces.

Self-sowing Roman cham​​omile smells like a combination of apples and pineapple and covers the soil like clover. It’s pretty hardy and grows best in rich, moist soil. This herb has white blooms resembling a daisy in the summer. Roman chamomile grows to be 12 inches high. Gather its leaves and flowers to make an anti-stress tea. 

Garlic chives are perennial herbs that grow up to 18 inches high. Their white blooms appear in the summer. Cut the seed heads and use them to grow chives indoors. Harvest the garlic leaves in the summer and use them to flavor dips, sauces, and soups.  

Miscellaneous Non-Plant Edgings

gardening edging is easy wirth recycled materials

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Recycled plastic or border edging comes in many different heights and patterns, and you can buy them at your local garden center. Edging material may be made of:

  • Nylon
  • PVC
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Spruce
  • Steel
  • Wood
  • Vinyl

There are also scallop edgers made of concrete, various bricks, stones and slabs you can buy from Home Depot and similar outlets if you don’t have time for DIY edging.   

Edging Tips for Small Landscapes

Most flowers and plants work well as borders, as long as they are size-appropriate for your garden. The stems of vines and ivy can grow long enough to trip people on your walkway. You’ll spend a lot of time trimming ivy, vines or other creeping plants if you want them bordering your walkway. 

Avoid plants with thorns near borders to prevent passers-by from getting cut or scratched. Choose fragrant flowers and a bright mixture of plants, herbs and flowers near walkways to keep visitors engaged by your garden.

If you keep plants on the edge of your walkway, it will help keep plants from growing.    

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