Perennials plant arrangement – what fits together?

Perennial borders tone-in-tone look dreamy and noble. With two and three main colours, a high-contrast overall picture is achieved in the shrub bed.

Perennial bed tone in tone
© Franz Bogner –

When designing borders, the colours of the perennials play a prominent role. You can give the different areas in the garden different moods. Tone-in-tone plantations exert a special attraction. These seem dreamy and noble. With their predominant hue, they draw attention to different plant structures, different inflorescences, leaf shapes and textures.

While the different growth heights of the plants lend the borders a remarkable structure, also tone-in-tone plantations of large-flowered perennials with approximate growth, flowering start and duration can determine the overall picture of a perennial border. By the way, shrubs also perfect rose plants in tone in tone design. Herbaceous perennials are considered to be easy to care for. And yet they make high demands on the soil and careful planting.

Good soil preparation

Perennials should spend many years, sometimes decades, in the soil and delight the hobby gardener with healthy growth and outstanding flowering. It is therefore important to prepare the soil thoroughly for the herbaceous borders. Sounds banal, but is very important for lasting success.

To the start: Preparing the Soil with the digging fork

  • First dig around the Soil with the digging fork to a depth of about 25 cm.
  • Removing weeds – special care is taken with root weeds.
  • When loosening the soil, compost and rotten manure are worked underneath. Heavy and compacted soils become more permeable with sand. This prevents waterlogging.
  • Stones must be collected during tillage.
  • The soil should be loose and crumbly after cultivation.

Uniformity In The Landscape, But not monotonous


The interplay between a main colour and its subtle shades often appears monotonous on the herbaceous border. Even a well-chosen combination of perennials of different plant height, flower shape and leaf texture brings dynamism and contrast to the bed. For example, borders with two and three main colours appear richer in contrast and thus more invigorating.

contrasts hues Examples in the picture
faint Perennials FunkieFern and Funkien (© jokapix –
medium Perennials yellow-blueViolet plants act strongly against yellow coneflower (© jokapix –
strongly Perennials strong contrastsOrange yarrow as background color for matching color spots (© miket –


Perennials In The Landscape And How To Combine Them


The choice of the perennials for the respective location is already a small challenge. For a shadow garden in the interplay between light and shadow, light colours are particularly suitable. On sunny locations perennials with stronger colours and colour nuances come to the fore.

Location hues Possible perennials – Examples
  • bright red
  • bright orange
  • light blue
  • green tones
  • Magnificent pier, Bergenie
  • Bergenia, Elf flower, Purple bell
  • autumnal penguin violet, cranesbill, monkshood
  • blackboard, funkie, caucasus forget-me-not
semi-shady to shady
  • White forest bellflower, white wolfsbane. woodland whiskers
  • Yellow columbine, lady’s mantle, yellow-green-leaved Funkie
  • Green-white sedge, green-yellow-leaved purple bell. hellebore
  • Red-violet predatory leaf aster, red noble peony, Japanese blood grass
  • Orange Yarrow, Orange Torchlia, Orange Sun Hat
  • Yellow sunhat, golden head, big shed head
  • Knäulglockenflume, ball diesel, gentian, lavender
  • Splendour chart, Pechnelke


Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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