Plants are a natural choice for walkway borders whether the swooping line of a tightly shorn boxwood leading to a dramatic sea view or the soft edge of hostas on the charming path to a poolside patio. After all, like a room without baseboards, a garden without walkway borders is a garden unfinished.
Don’t underestimate the impact edging plants can have on defining an outdoor room and laying out a dreamy path through your backyard. Traditionally many gardeners often turn to brick, stone, or steel borders to help keep flowers in their beds and grass out. However, by using a plant like an evergreen shrub, you can create a much softer look that appeals more to a wildly beautiful, inviting aesthetic. Plus, the plant possibilities are as numerous as you can imagine—from flowering shrubs like hydrangeas and rhododendrons to cottage garden plants like lady’s mantle and catmint. Almost any plant can be an edging plant if it serves your intended purpose, but the classics are low-growing plants that form the lowest tier of landscape design.
Here, we propose 18 of the best plants for garden borders and paths, each with its own selling features (some are great plant choices for shade, while others would be perfect alongside a stunning outdoor fountain). Whether your outdoor room needs a sharp contrast to a romantic seating area or a dose of classic French-inspired flair (hello, lavender!), let these VERANDA-approved examples help guide your eye to garden walkway inspiration.