a double row of modern hedges set in a metal planting bed
Photo by Jim Brown.

Every great landscape design is composed of feature areas and well planned borders. While the feature areas are what comprise your overall impression of the garden– after all, these are spaces designated for lounging, eating or enjoying the backyard in general, its the borders that do the work of integrating the home with the landscaping and helping to define the backyard zones. That’s right, modern hedges and border plants might just be the unsung hero’s of your garden’s designs. Here are a few things ways to think about your borders and how you might want to design them.

Mid century ranch in texas with an orange door and dark hedges
This modern ranch in Texas uses color contrast to frame the home and add definition and interest. Photo by Jim Brown.

Define Your Hedges with Color

Use your hedge to soften the area between your exterior walls and the open landscape. Planting against the home provides a visual transition that helps to make the home feel more integrated.

While your hedges will form a natural contrast to it’s surrounding areas, think about your color choice. Do you want it to pop against your house color or blend in? A contrasting color can provide really define your home’s shape and size. And how that color interacts with other plants in the area will help turn your hedge into a visual feature.

Related Reading: 11 Flowering Plants for your Mid Century Garden

white boulders and flowers shrubs form a unique border
A decorative border made from white rock and blooming desert shrubs makes for a unique border design. Photo by Greyshock Photo.

Hedges & Borders can be a Feature Themselves

Like the above feature comprised of white boulders and flowering shrubs, great borders aren’t always shrinking violets. Sometimes they can be standout features. A sculptural boarder with dynamic colors, textures or heights is a great way to draw the eye around the garden and create areas of interest.

A modern water feature framed by loose colorful plantings.
A modern water feature framed by loose colorful plantings. Photo by Jim Brown.

Think About Texture

Boxwood, native grasses and creeping ivy or ice plant are all common hedge and border plants. But anything can become a visually defining hedge if you plan for it. Like the variegated hostas above, large-leaf plants or plants with interesting patterning can make excellent eye-catching hedges and borders.

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