Your Cart
Your bag is empty.
Soto Journal & Inspiration

How To Create Garden Borders You'll Love

An important part of creating a designer garden aesthetic is well thought through garden borders. In this Journal entry Will Williams, Soto Co-founder, creative director and five times RHS medal winner explains how to plan a garden border full of plants that thrive.

Whether you are planning a new garden border or looking to add to existing planting in your outside space there are some key steps to achieving a beautiful border. The amount of light in your garden, how the border reflects the style of your home and how much work you want to do in your garden are all very important things to think about for a successful flowerbed. 

This journal entry takes you through practical expert tips to understanding your garden conditions and makes suggestions of the best plants for new garden borders. Alternatively, browse the Soto border collections where the only thing you need to know is the dimensions of your new border and how much sun your garden gets. 

How to plan a garden border 

Understand how much sun your garden border will get. The amount of light your garden gets is the most important factor when selecting plants for your border. Some plants thrive in a sunny position whereas others prefer shady spots. It is therefore important to know how much sun your garden receives and research the best plants for the aspect of your garden. Want to know how to determine if your border is in the sun or shade? Follow the Soto Masterclass where we explain how to determine the light and aspect of your garden. At Soto, we list our plants and border collections according to the aspect they thrive under.

Think about the maintenance of plants carefully. Some plants require lots of attention and others can be left to do their thing and require very little upkeep. Are you the sort of gardener who likes tinkering in the garden or would you prefer to be hosting BBQs or chasing your children around the lawn? If you are looking for low input garden borders with high impact consider evergreen shrubs such as green carpet (Pachysandra terminalis), sweet box (Sarcococca hookeriana Winter Gem), or an Ilex Dome (Ilex crenata). The Soto collections are designed to be easy to care for, but the Soto Green collection is especially laid back.

Consider your garden soil type. Knowing what soil type is in your border enables you to select new plants which will thrive in your garden. Follow this guide on determining your soil type, it is free, quick and easy to do and will stop you wasting money on unsuitable plants. The Soto collections have been designed to include plants that tolerate most soil types, as long as you prepare your soil correctly before planting. Follow the Soto planting and watering guides to get the most from your soil.

Choose a theme for your garden. The key to making your outside space feel well put-together is to have a planting scheme; think of it as a capsule wardrobe for your garden. The plants in the Soto collections have been selected because they work in harmony together. The borders should also reflect the style of your home, do you prefer a minimalist, traditional, cosy, colourful, elegant or calm approach to decoration?


Create yearlong seasonal interest. Borders are often viewed from the main entertaining rooms such as kitchens or frame entrance ways. It is therefore important garden borders contain plants that thrive and look good all year. Evergreen plants that provide texture such as Irish Green (Carex morrowii ‘Irish Green’) and Taxus Domes (Taxus baccata) are fantastic for adding structure and colour to schemes even in winter. 

Consider where you place each plant.  How you arrange plants within a border makes a significant difference when creating beautiful borders. Before you start planting place plants in their pots on the soil to make sure you have the right design. Soto provide planting plans which tell you exactly where to place your plants, it is a bit like painting by numbers.  

Use height and texture. Garden designers use plants of varying heights and sizes to create interest in flower beds. Golden Dew provides tall soft texture and Irish Moss brings soft low ground covering where as Iris’s and Foxgloves provide pops of colour at height.  

These rules remain true whether you are planning narrow borders or wide flowerbeds. Follow these tips when considering plants for the edge of grass and raised beds. 

Soto Gardens Favourite Garden Borders Styles. 

Want to know how to make a simple garden border? Browse the Soto collections, the plants are the same price as a garden centre but with the garden designer aesthetic. The Soto Border collections have been created to take the guesswork out of gardening. Soto has combined plants that work well together and show you how to plant them for a designer-garden look. Each collection is available for borders, window boxes, patios, balconies and front gardens. See below for garden border ideas:

Soto Evergreen is perfect for those looking for very low maintenance, all year round evergreen interest. It is simple and sleek but would flow well from both a traditional and contemporary home. Designed to work in any part of the garden, the Soto Evergreen collection is perfect for under windowsills, along paths or either side of your front door. 

Soto White is a Soto best seller, and it is easy to see why. It is crisp and traditional and features popular Astrantias, Hydrangeas and topiary balls. The colour scheme is calming green and white with subtle flecks of pink to draw the eye and offer perspective.

Remember, however you plan your border for healthy plants, make sure the plants have had a good drink of water by submerging all the roots into water until air bubbles stop rising, before planting. We have a Soto Masterclass video on how to plant a border if if you’d like more detail. 

Previous article How to select the best Christmas tree (and keep it looking that way)
Next article In the Garden With...Abigail Ahern