Long Narrow Flower Border

dpmdvmMarch 2, 2009

I wanted to plant a perennial flower border along the edge of my driveway - a straight, flat stretch, 60 ft long, in full sun. Unfortunately when my driveway was widened, the grader went a bit farther than he was supposed to, so now I only have 4 ft between the driveway and a split rail fence which was to be the backdrop for the border. The other side of the split rail fence is flat lawn, in full sun.

What should I do? Options: (1) Plant a 4 ft by 60 ft border. (Too narrow to look good?) (2) Plant a 4 ft wide strip on BOTH sides of the split rail fence. (3) Plant shrubs between the driveway and the fence, and put the flower border on the far side of the fence. If the latter, any suggestions on shrubs? I think I would want something that wouldn't get too big & straggly. Evergreen or deciduous? All one kind, or a variety?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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Four feet is still enough for a nice border. Make sure that you use narrower plants so that you can get some layering in there.

I would start by installing wood edging on the back side of the fence. This will stop grass from invading the garden from the back. It will also provide you (or your neighbor) with a nice mow edge.

Then I would find a great vine that will climb over the fence. Climbing roses, Clematis -- keep it to only one or two types of vines.

Finally, I would plant a variety of small shrubs and perennials in front. Keep some evergreen (Junipers work well in full sun), some shrubs (small spirea maybe), and some perennials and grasses.

Don't plant one of everything. Repeat plants throughout your border and it will look really put together.

Best of luck!


    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 2:33PM
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Is the "best view" of what you want to do from the driveway? The expanse of lawn behind the split rail fence just looks back at the fence?

(Over on the Cottage Garden forum is someone with the screen name "gottagarden" who has been cultivating a "red bed" border type garden with a long driveway on one side and an expanse of lawn on the other - the photos might be worth looking at. Use the Cottage Garden forum's search feature and type in my red bed. As the thread goes along, she gives a plant list.)

If it were me, I'd use both sides of the fence which would give me more bed depth in which to be creative. If you need winter interest, mix in some evergreen shrubs or small conifers. Look for dwarf varieties of things - they can get large but will take a long time to get there. Should be a large vaiety of plant material available in your zone.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 2:56PM
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