Great Garden Border Ideas for the Southwest

Trying to grow eye-catching garden borders in the Southwestern United States is not always easy. While people in some areas of the country often wish they had more sunshine, many in the Southwest wish they had a little less. All flowers and plants require sunshine to grow; however, even too much of a good thing can be bad. Too much sunshine and not enough rain is often a combination that spells doom for a lot of perennials and plants. So, if you’re planning a garden border, you should carefully consider the types of plants are foliage to include in your garden borders.

Easy Southwestern Garden Borders

Many people often never consider the easiest way to create attractive garden borders for their garden or yard. Actually, one great idea for garden borders - doesn't involve using plants or flowers at all. Though you may have never considered it, many excellent garden borders are developed simply by using bricks, large decorative stones, railway ties or even building a short picket type fence. These types of garden borders do well in the extreme heat of the Southwest and never need to be watered. You don't get much easier than that.

Eye-Catching Borders the Old-Fashioned Way

On the other hand, you might like things the old-fashioned way, and choose to use plants or perennials to decorate your garden border. This is also an excellent alternative; however, you will need to choose plants or perennials that can survive the blistering Southwestern heat, and don't require a lot of rain or watering. To that end, here are some perennials and annuals that do very well in the Southwest:


The Agave is a small shrub like plant that is very striking and dramatic in its appearance, and is a gardener's favorite all over the Southwest. Its form is often described as bold and even architectural - it really stands out. The Agave thrives in sunlight and doesn't require a lot of water; it reaches very tall heights; therefore, it is best used in borders alongside tree lines or larger houses.


Penstemon perennials are as tough as they are beautiful and come in a wide assortment of colors and foliage types. In addition, they are great for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. They're also a very popular choice for cut flowers in the Southwest. They add a lot of color to any garden border and offer excellent ground coverage and contrast elements. Penstemon grows to a height of about 2 feet tall.

Western Columbine

If you're looking to add a softer or more delicate touch to your garden border, then the Western Columbine is an excellent choice. Its colorful red and yellow blooms combined with attractive blue-green foliage and leaves adds a gentle style to almost any bed or border environment. Western Columbine grows to be about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide; so, make sure to give them plenty of space when using them in your garden borders.

Four O’clock

The four o'clock perennial is very easy to grow, and adds striking purple or magenta color contrast to your borders. Hummingbirds love Four o'clock perennials, and they also attract beautiful butterflies and moths. They do very well in even the hottest and driest areas. Four o'clock perennials grow to be about 2 feet tall, and are excellent as centerpieces for your flower bed or garden border.