A sunny spot in the garden is the perfect place for a plant-packed border.


The plants we've picked for this border are perennials, so you an enjoy watching the plants mature and knit together to form a tapestry of moving colour. A little maintenance will be needed, so be prepared to deadhead and prop up plants with supports.

Key to any border working well is repetition. Try to avoid planting just one of each plant and instead aim for loose groupings of the same plant. If you find you have gaps in your border, consider adding filling with annuals or bulbs.

You can find lots more planting options on our Plant Finder, and in our articles on plants to grow at the front of borders, middle of borders and back of borders.

Get started with our planting scheme for a sunny border, below.

Front of the border: achilleas

Achilleas are available in a range of colours, including yellow, orange, pink and white, so are good, adaptable choice for a sunny border. To combine with the purples and pinks of other plants in the border, try a pink- or orange-flowered variety like 'Summer Berries' or 'Terracotta'. Fantastic for pollinators.

Pink and yellow achilleas planted with Stipa
Pink and yellow achilleas with feathery Stipa tenuissima

Front of the border: Stipa tenuissima

Stipa tenuissima is included in this planting scheme to add texture and movement and ensure that the border doesn't feel too flower heavy. Perfect for a sensory garden, the feathery foliage brings a sensory element to the scheme. Other grasses you could use include Briza media, Sesleria autumnalis and Hordeum jubatum.

Stipa tenuissima
Graceful, feathery arches of Stipa tenuissima

Front of the border: lychnis

For growing at the front of a sunny border, try Lychnis coronaria. The silvery, felted foliage is indicative of its preference for a sunny spot and it'll contrast well with other plants. Intense, deep pink flowers, unless you go for the cultivar 'Alba', which has white blooms. Similar plants include Stachys byzantina and artemisia.

Lychnis coronaria
Deep-pink lychnis flowers on silver stems

Middle of the border: salvias

Salvias provide intense colour and bee-friendly flowers. They respond well to deadheading, too, so will provide a long season of colour. 'Mulberry Jam' (pictured) has rosy pink flowers, while those of 'Rose Queen' are an icy pink. They vary in height, so could be grown at the front of borders, depending on the variety.

Salvia 'Mulberry Jam'
Rosy-pink salvias

Middle of the border: Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis is a garden favourite for good reason. Namely, it's easy to grow, is fantastic for pollinators and adds height to borders without shading other plants too much. Plant it next to denser clumps of plants to help vary the texture in your border.

Verbena bonariensis
Tall purple verbena flowers

Middle of the border: echinops

The orbicular flowerheads of echinops can't be missed, drawing the eye and bringing a naturalistic feel to borders. They'll tolerate a range of soil types, including heavy soils. For the middle of a border, go for a slightly smaller variety like 'Veitch's Blue'. Another brilliant plant for bees.

Echinops 'Veitch's Blue'
Vivid-blue, spherical echinops flowers amidst silver and purple/blue planting

Middle of the border: echinacea

Like achilleas and salvias, there are echinceas to grow in lots of colours. Echinacea purpurea has mid-pink flowers, but there are other varieties with orange, red, yellow and white flowers. They typically don't require staking and combine well with ornamental grasses. Discover more border daisies to grow.

Echinacea purpurea
Pink echinacea blooms with delicate grasses

Back of the border: veronicastrums

Elegant veronicastrums produce towering spires of flowers that are perfectly suited to the back of a border. The flowers range from white through to pinks and purples. Check out more plants to grow with spire-shaped flowers.

Veronicastrums planted with salvia and miscanthus
Spires of white veronicastrums above mixed pink and purple flowers

Back of the border: Stipa gigantea

Stipa gigantea is one of the many large, ornamental grasses that can be grown at the back of borders. Stipa gigantea has a looser, more airy growth form, while others like calamagrostis and miscanthus provide more dense shots of colour and movement. Also consider molinias.

Stipa gigantea
Flowerheads of Stipa gigantea towering above a mixed border

Back of the border: cardoon

Cardoons, Cynara cardunculus, start out with a great mass of felted, silvery leaves before sending up stout flower stems, similar to globe artichokes (the two are closely related). The globose flowerheads open to reveal purple flowers like giant thistles. Plant them in rich, well-drained soil.

Cardoon, Cynara cardunculus
Giant, purple, thistle-like cardoon flower
Sprinkling dry plant feed around plants from a trowel

Border care tips

  • Before planting anything, prepare your border
  • Stake your plants before they need it – as they mature the supports will be hidden by foliage and flowers
  • Keep on top of deadheading spent blooms to trick plants into flowering for longer
  • Plant in autumn or spring, then mulch around the plants while the soil is moist to give them a boost and suppress weeds
  • Weed around your plants to stop them being outcompeted while they grow
  • Feed your plants from spring with a good all-round feed like blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure