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Create a Border Garden

We recently bought a house with a metal fence in the backyard. I’m a beginning gardener and would like to plant a border garden that would give the fence some character. Can you make some recommendations? I don’t want plants that will spread into my neighbor’s yard.

A combination of ornamental grasses and perennials can improve your view. Silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) grows in clumps and varies in height from 3 to 12 feet. These grasses create a great backdrop for perennials and provide visual interest and screening from summer through winter. Switchgrass (Panicum) cultivars will also provide screening and seasonal interest. But you should avoid the native switchgrass—it’ll find its way into your neighbor’s yard. Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis) is a shorter, more stiffly upright-growing grass. For additional seasonal color, include some perennials such as Siberian iris, threadleaf coreopsis, Boltonia, aster, fern leaf yarrow and salvia. Coneflowers and rudbeckia also make nice additions, but be careful, they spread easily. By deadheading, or removing, their faded flowers, you’ll reduce the chances of their offspring moving into your neighbor’s yard. Always be sure to select varieties of these plants that are hardy in your area and suitable for the growing conditions in your yard.


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