Low Maintenance Plants for Borders – Easy Care Choices for Garden Edges

Making a beautiful garden border is an art that combines function and style, and the plants you choose are very important to this.

Low-growing plants are perfect for this job because they have a lot of different colors and textures and are easy to care for.

This article will talk about the appeal of these plants for garden borders, focusing on their usefulness and good looks.

We’ll look at a range of species that do well in different garden conditions, from the sun-loving Sedum to the shade-tolerant Heuchera.

We’ll also give you helpful design tips, care instructions, and answers to frequently asked questions to help you grow a border that makes your garden look nice all year.

This guide is meant to give you ideas and help you make a beautiful, low-maintenance border that everyone in your neighborhood will want.

Borders are an integral part of many garden designs Choosing the right plants can reduce maintenance while still providing beauty When selecting low maintenance options for garden borders, look for plants that need minimal care once established.

Here are some top picks for easy, fuss-free border plants:


Groundcovers spread to form a dense mat, crowding out weeds. Some good choices include:

  • Creeping phlox – Mossy evergreen foliage, flowers in spring
  • Creeping thyme – Fragrant foliage, flowers in summer
  • Ajuga – Bronze-purple leaves, blue flower spikes
  • Lysimachia – Chartreuse or golden leaves, yellow flowers
  • Lamium – Silver or green leaves, blooms in spring
  • Sedum – Succulent foliage, late summer blooms

These spreading groundcovers root as they grow filling in gaps. They require little care except occasional trimming.

Ornamental Grasses

Grasses add texture and movement to garden beds. Some low maintenance varieties include:

  • Fescue – Blue-green color, airy seed heads
  • Muhly grass – Pink or white plumes in fall
  • Carex – Evergreen grass with colorful or variegated blades
  • Pennisetum – Graceful, dancing foliage and plumes
  • Calamagrostis – Vertical interest with feathery plumes

Ornamental grasses mainly need cutting back once a year and occasional division. Otherwise they thrive with minimal care.

Perennial Flowers

Flowering perennials provide seasonal color. Those needing little upkeep include:

  • Russian sage – Spikes of purple blooms, aromatic foliage
  • Yarrow – Flat-topped flowers in shades of white, yellow, pink
  • Catmint – Blue blooms, spreading silvery foliage
  • Gaura – Airy wands of pink flowers from summer to frost
  • Veronica – Spikes of blue, white or pink flowers
  • Salvia – Long blooming with blue, red or white flower spikes

Deadhead spent flowers occasionally, then cut back in fall. These tough perennials provide years of beauty.

Small Shrubs

Compact shrubs give structure and form. Some low care choices:

  • Boxwood – Classic edging shrub, dense evergreen foliage
  • Euonymus – Evergreen with variegated or golden leaves
  • Heather – Miniature shrubs with bell-like blooms
  • Rosemary – Culinary herb with edible flowers
  • Lavender – Fragrant grey-green foliage, purple summer flowers

Prune shrubs lightly in spring to shape. Many are evergreen, providing year-round interest.

Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous perennials die back in winter then return in spring. Those needing minimal care include:

  • Lady’s mantle – Ruffled chartreuse leaves hold rain drops
  • Siberian iris – Grass-like leaves, spring blooms
  • Bergenia – Evergreen leaves turn red in fall, pink flowers
  • Epimedium – Heart-shaped leaves tinged red, airy flowers
  • Geranium – Mounding perennial with purple-red leaves in fall

Cut back dead foliage in late fall. These reliable perennials thrive with very little maintenance required.

Vines and Climbers

Vining plants can soften hard edges along borders. Some easy care options:

  • Clematis – Large, colorful summer blooms
  • Honeysuckle – Fragrant, trumpet-shaped blossoms
  • Jasmine – Intoxicatingly scented flowers
  • Virginia creeper – Red fall foliage covers walls and fences
  • Trumpet vine – Orange/red blooms for hummingbirds

Simply provide a trellis or support. These vines cover structures and add vertical appeal as they ramble along borders.

Design Tips for Low Maintenance Borders

Here are some tips for designing a low maintenance border:

  • Favor plants needing just one or two prunings per year. Avoid frequent grooming.

  • Use a mix of shrubs, grasses, perennials and groundcovers for diversity.

  • Repeat plants in groups or drifts for unity and visual impact.

  • Include low edging plants like thyme, veronica and creeping phlox.

  • Allow spreading plants like juniper and euonymus to fill areas over time.

  • Minimize small, fussy shapes that require meticulous edging.

  • Site plants with the same needs together for efficient watering and care.

  • Use hardscaping like gravel, pavers and rocks to reduce weeding.

  • Apply organic mulch around plants to conserve moisture and minimize weeds.

Choose easy care plants suited to your growing conditions, and design your border for simplicity and grace. The result will be a beautiful, low maintenance border that practically tends itself!

Pest and Disease Management

  • Choose Healthy Plants: Begin with plants that are healthy and less likely to get pests or diseases.
  • Observation: Check your plants often for signs of trouble so you can fix problems quickly before they spread.

By incorporating these practices into your garden routine, you can enjoy a lush, thriving border with minimal effort.

A border that doesn’t need much care is all about planning ahead and picking the right plants and methods for your garden.

low maintenance plants for borders

What are the Best Low Growing Plants for Full Sun Borders?

In full sun conditions like a south-facing garden, drought-tolerant plants thrive best.

Sedum, which comes in many shapes and colors, Lavender, whose leaves and flowers smell nice, and Thymus serpyllum (Creeping Thyme), which is known for being hardy and able to handle foot traffic, are all great choices.

These plants not only survive but flourish in sunny areas, requiring minimal water once established.

Drab to Fab: The 7 Best Garden Border Plants for Instant Wow Factor!


What is the best low-maintenance edging?

Steel, brick or stone edging, if adjoining a lawn, all work well and can also be used as a mowing strip. ‘Raised garden bed ideas can be created in many ways using timber, Corten steel, brick or stone, but do make sure you have thought about watering and drainage,’ adds Sue Townsend.

What is a hardy border plant?

You’ll need some tall perennials such as Delphiniums that can be positioned towards the back of the border, while lower growing plants like Gaillardia will sit nicely at the front. Fill the space in between with mid-height perennials like Echinacea, Poppies and Scabious.

What are the easiest low-maintenance outdoor plants?

Chives, sedum, geraniums, herbs, and agave can withstand a variety of extreme temperatures and still thrive. What are some low-maintenance outdoor potted plants that are hard to kill? Herbs like sage, rosemary, and thyme are great plants that require little maintenance and continue to grow despite neglect.

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