christmas decorated winter porch pot

Designing a Perennial Garden or Border

Shopping for new and trendy annuals every spring and summer is certainly fun and exciting, and it keeps your garden looking fresh. But without some reliable perennials, your garden may end up looking a bit dishevelled. Perennials add structure, visual anchors, and develop the landscape of your whole yard.

Perennial Garden or Border

You can plan a bed that’s entirely perennials or you can tuck perennials into the borders of your beds and let perennials and annuals complement each other. Planting perennials as the borders to your garden is the perfect way to build your favourite blooms into the actual landscape of your garden. They are a great way to add a lot of impact to your garden with only a little bit of effort.

oakridge winter porch pot

Perennial Borders

Borders give your garden clean lines and act as a frame for your landscape. There is plenty to consider when planning your perennial garden, though—things like size, type of perennial, colour and time of blooms and foliage, style, and growth habit. Remember you are making a commitment to supporting the style or function of the rest of your garden. Consider these questions while planning: Do you want pretty flowers that will draw in pollinators every season? Or maybe a gorgeous bloom that you’re in love with and want to see year after year? Perhaps a beautiful texture or growth pattern that compliments your garden and landscape?


Building Your Own Perennial Border

Many people think that our perennials are limited by our harsh winters, but there are so many colourful and exciting options to choose from that are hardy for the area around Steinbach. Here are a few things to think about when planning to add stunning perennials into your landscape:


Texture and Shape 

A perennial border is a great opportunity to mix in some of our favourite native plants that have great textures. Using something low-growing with a great texture, like a creeping plant, or mounding flowers, like Hen and Chicks, Creeping Thyme, or Yellow Sundrops—these will give you something a little different than the bold vertical lines that you get from various ornamental grasses or perennials, like Karl Foerster Grass or Black-Eyed Susans, which are also different from the semi-tropical vibes you’ll get from hostas.

Choose textures in your border that either compliment or mimic the surrounding landscape—or choose something with a function, like using taller perennials as a privacy screen along fences or the edge of your yard. What better way to highlight your home and landscape than with plants that bring a style of their own!


Location, Location, Location 

Perennial borders are a good way to squeeze out some beauty from every part of your yard, so don’t be afraid to mix it up! You can tuck perennials into the tiniest of spaces to add unexpected pops of beauty. Additionally, think of how they can be used with your existing landscape, like fences, gardens, patios, and walkways.


Sun and Shade Perennials 

Don’t be afraid to embrace the full sun with colourful flowers like Coneflowers, Peonies, and Stonecrops. For shadier parts of your yard, you can fill them with gorgeous plants like Hostas, Daylilies, Irises, or Bugloss.

Pollinator Favorite Perennials
Native plants are the perfect option to make your garden a favourite with pollinators. They’ll love having access to the plants they recognize and love, and having them return year after year will help your garden flourish. Pollinators are welcome visitors not only for the help they give your plants but also for their pretty appearances!

Plan and Plant an All-Season Look 

Choosing bright foliage, like a Japanese Aralia or a Gold Heart Bleeding Heart, in addition to brilliant blooms is an easy way to make sure that your garden looks top-notch all season. You can select different perennials that have blooming times spread all across the season so that there’s always something that’s bursting with flowers and colour for you to enjoy.

Stage Your Look 

Just like any good elementary school choir, you’ll want your tallest in the back, the shortest in the front, and your stars right in the centre for everyone to see. Organize your perennials to fill your border and draw the eye through the flowerbed, just like you’d plant a container, but bigger! When you bring your new perennials home, take some time to set them out in your perennial bed in their pots. This way, you can stand back and visualize how they’ll look in the ground and move them around. Try them in a few different spots before you put them in the ground. Also, remember to incorporate and repeat the same colours throughout the garden for a more cohesive look.

Winterize Your Perennial Border 

Many gardeners get nervous about our Steinbach winters, and it’s understandable. It can be intimidating to plant something and hope that it will tough out the worst of the winter and emerge ready to thrive next year, but it’s easier than we think!

Choosing native plants and those that are hardy to our zone (3b) is the first step towards perennial success. While you can usually baby some zone 4 plants through the winter by covering them with leaves or flax straw, sticking to plants in zone 3 or tougher will be a much less stressful way to make your perennials anchor your garden.

To help ease your plants into the winter (and to make your perennial garden look even more polished), try adding a layer of mulch after you plant so that the roots of your plants will be better insulated when the mercury drops.

A perennial garden is a great way to add lasting style to your yard to keep things stress-free when it comes to designing an annual show of colour. They offer a great look for any landscape while also being a fantastic boost to your garden’s health. And with so many options that are both pretty and functional, it’s easy to get excited about adding perennials to your yard!