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Sounds like a lot of effort to create a border by raising the ground level by 8 inches?
Is there any reason why you cannot remove the turf and dig over the area- that is the usual method.then add compost to enrich the soil
As to shrubs go for smaller specimens they establish quicker and are cheaper.
Did you actually remove the turf or just dig it in?
Creating a border is not difficult but you have to pull out any weeds and keep on top of it
The method you describe just sounds like to much hard work and it will be higher than the lawn by 8 inches_ can't see that working
Grass does grow back if you don't do anything to stop it. Gardening involves a lot of stopping plants doing what they do naturally.
You really need to slice that turf off, dig and compost/manure the soil before you plant. If you can, don't plant immediately, as that gives you a chance to keep removing weeds before they take hold. When you have planted your shrubs and are weed free you can then lay a mulch (a covering) of bark about 2-3 ins deep will help comtrol the weeds. Weeds do need to be removed reguarly until your shrubs are established.
For cheap shrubs go to somewhere like Morrisons or a cheap shop they may be small but establish just as well as more pricey GC ones.
Word of warning though don't make your borders too narrow, shrubs can grow quite bushy!
Aldi have in previous years sold packs of three shrubs for about £5. They usually go on sale in March/April time.
You might find it easier to use landscape fabric to suppress the grass abd any weeds growing amongst it. Nothing will grow through that and you can cut slits into the fabric and put in shrubs or other plants (provided the soil is warm enough) and they will thus have a head start over the weeds. It is important to tuck the fabric back around the plant you have put in the hole and peg it in place with pieces of bent wire/ stones etc. Water can get in but plants cannot grow through it.
Covering the area you plan to plant with your new border with polythene can help to warm and dry out the soil to get it ready for seed sowing later. It's certainly cold and wet around this area and seeds will not germinate till the soil warms up.
Chiltern Seeds and Thompson and Morgan sell a great range of hardy annual and shrub seeds, some of which need the frost to break the dormancy so now can bee a good time to sow them and it can be fun to see what comes up. A great advantage is it's also cheaper!
and once planted - there is no way to avoid regular weeding !
I have to agree with Newcastle, I put in weed control fabric last year and pegged it down and covered in bark and I haven't had any problems so far - nice not having to continuously weed! I got mine from this site and it comes with the pegs included too so you can make sure it's really secured down : http://www.qvsshop.co.uk/weed-control-fabric-63-c.asp, I think they also do a thinner fabric. Hope it works for you too!