Best Shrubs to Plant as Garden Borders

Shrubs - Garden Border Ideas & Tips

If you’re working on getting your garden to look just right, plant borders can add the perfect finishing touch. There are several shrubs and flowering plants that can add texture and color to your garden. These bordering plants can also protect some of the other flowers and edible plants in your garden so that certain pests or excessive sunlight can’t get to these plants to cause damage.

Here are some of the best plants to use as garden borders according to the type of soil you’re working with and your vision for your garden.

Giant Bronze

These plants, scientifically known as Foeniculum vulgare, are tall and have a bronze tinge to them. The leaves are purple and there are yellow flowers on the plant to add visual appeal to your garden. The Giant Bronze is self-seeding and provides a source of shelter and food for the wild animals that live in your yard.


The Masterpiece, or Lupinus, is a majestic plant that has stunning purple flowers. It can be used as a border or planted against a lush green shrub as a border addition. These plants don’t have a long flowering season, but the beauty of the flowers makes is worth it in most cases.

Ogon Spirea

 These shrubs stay small and are very useful for gardens and lawns that have limited space. The shrubs can grow to be about 5 feet in height and 6 feet in width; if they are planted in full sun, the shrubs will grow tighter to form a more pronounced border. Ogon spirea has tiny white flowers, and once these flowers open, you’ll see bright green leaves that turn yellow and make a great summer garden border. This plant goes great with the purple smoke bush and the oakleaf hydrangea.

Purple Smoke Bushes

These bushes grow their best when they’re planted in areas where the sunlight can shine through. These plants grow up to 15 feet wide and tall and they grow in straight lines that look like pipe cleaners. You can keep the shrubs neat by cutting them back every spring after you see the first leaves. The older plants that are planted in full sun will flower if you leave them unpruned and even the youngest plants have a beautiful orange-purple color during the fall season.


The Paprika plant, or Achillea millefolium, have flowers that boast a deep red color with a golden yellow center. These border plants will add color and contrast to your garden for months, since they start flowering at the beginning of the summer and continue to thrive into the start of winter.

El Dorado

This border shrub is great for adding brightness to the lawn space. The stems are upright, and the flowers look like yellow cones. Bees and other pollinators are attracted to the El Dorado, which can help the other parts of your garden to thrive. The El Dorado, also called the Helenium, continues to flower until the initial frosts of the winter season.

Rich Ruby

This stunning red plant flowers from the middle of the summer until late in the fall season, and the flowers have a tinge of blue to them. This border plant can be paired with the other flowers in your garden or with lush green grasses for a refined garden look.


The Kaskade plant can be used as a border, or you can plant it as a backdrop for the colorful flowers you’re using as a border. This is a grass plant that blooms in the middle or end of summer and has pinkish plumes that will last during the winter.


This plant is the perfect border for your garden if you love the colors pink or lilac. This plant blooms in the middle to late summer and pairs beautifully against green grass. Hesperis flowers also have a pleasant fragrance and are resistant to mildew, which makes them easy to maintain.

Coombe Fishacre

This plant is commonly known as the Symphyotrichum and is a flowering border plant that grows in a mauve shade. This beautiful plant has deep green leaves that grow in circular clumps and yields flowers that look like daisies. The shrub makes an ideal border for a lawn and can also make a flower or edible garden more appealing.

Iris Sibirica

 The Iris sibirica can be used as a light border or a border addition. This plant is one of the best ways to add structure to the garden space and has upright stalks and leaves. This bordering plant flowers from the middle of spring until the winter season and you can enjoy its ink blue flowers with deep amber eyes to make your summer garden complete. Similar plant species like the Royal Blue and Tropic Night are great choices, as well.

Allium caeruleum (or, Allium Azureum)

You can brighten the borders of your lawn or garden with this thriving blue flowering shrub. The shrubs bloom in the early part of June and bees are attracted to it. This plant is a self-seeder and the leaves and flowers naturally grow into a border.

Cirsium Rivulare

 This is another border plant that is a good summer garden choice because its flowering period is long. The flowers on the plant are a deep shade of pink and this perennial border looks great against ornamental grasses.

Hemerocallis Lilioasphodelu

This visually appealing plant flowers in the beginning or mid-summer and looks great as the front of the garden border. The plant has pronounced yellow blooms that look nice against Iris sibirica, and the border plant also has a lovely fragrance.


If you want to incorporate more color into your garden, this border plant, which has blue and deep purple flowers, is one of the best choices. The Caradonna is one of the best plants to include in your garden when you attract bees, and the stems stand upright as the plant blooms from June until September.

Echinacea Pallida

This coneflower plant has light pink blooms with petals that are spider-shaped. This border plant is an excellent choice if you want a border that isn’t too defined but will still add a line of demarcation between your flowers and edible plants, and it looks great against ornamental grasses. This plant is also attractive to butterflies and bees, which makes pollination easier.

Stipa Gigantea

 If you want a more defined garden or lawn border this ornamental grass plant makes a great addition to your outdoor space. The plumes on the plant are particularly delicate and the bordering plant needs a lot of room to grow well.

 Bloody Geranium

 This pronounced red flower has leaves that change in the fall. The plant blooms in the latter part of spring and randomly during autumn. Bloody geranium is a practical bordering plant for areas of your yard that are sunny or have slight shade.


This is a popular choice for landscaped garden beds and lush lawns. Barrenwort is a perennial plant that blooms during the spring season and the flowers grow in colors like white, orange, purple and yellow. In the autumn, the foliage turns bronze.

Japanese Forest Grass

This is one of the only grasses that grows well in shade. The grass can create a small shrub-like border, since it grows in compact mounds of foliage, and it arches naturally. Japanese forest grass makes a great edge plant for garden bed or lawn border.