One of the ways to go about creating a stunning and stylish garden is to include herbaceous borders throughout the space, with various plants and shrubs arranged closely together in such a way as to use colour, shape and scale to dramatic effect.

Before you get out your spade and fork, you should take the time to sit down and decide what kind of aesthetic you’d like to achieve, as this will inform all sorts of necessary decisions later down the line. As with any home improvement project, proper planning is key - so research, research, research and see what design ideas you’re taken with and which you hate with a burning passion. Pinterest and Instagram are both fantastic tools for sourcing ideas, starting points and inspiration for designing garden borders.

The main aspects to consider are whether you want a straight or curved border, the depth of the border itself and finally its practical uses (such as whether you want to disguise parts of the garden, like your shed and other utilitarian parts of the plot. Also think about just how much space you have to play around with in the first place and what visual impact you want the border to have.

Once you’ve made all these sorts of decisions, it's almost time to grab the tools and start digging up the garden! Don’t do this by eye, however, or you could well find that you’ve not worked in a straight line once you’ve finished the work. Use twine or string to mark out straight edges and use the garden hose laid out in the shape you want if you’re going for something with a curve. Use tent pegs to help keep the hose in place.

Think about your soil type

Do some research into the type of soil you have, as this will largely dictate the kinds of plants you’ll be able to feature in your borders. Soil can be clay, loam or sandy, as well as neutral, alkaline or acid and this knowledge will allow you to choose the best plants for a stunning garden all year round. Learning about soil types can be really rewarding as it enables you to care for your garden to a much higher degree.

Don’t forget about the sun

Think about the positioning of your borders and how much sunlight they’ll get throughout the day, as this will also have an impact on the plants you’re growing.

A border in full sun will see over six hours of direct sun each day during the summer months, borders in part shade will see between four and six hours of sun each day and shady borders will see up to four hours every day.

Choose your plants

Once you’ve made all these decisions, the fun can really begin and you can start choosing the plants you want to include in your borders. It could be worth chatting to the neighbours to see which plants are thriving in their backyards, but you can also use the internet, magazines and plant labels to help you choose the best plants for your soil type.

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