Our 12 Favorite Plants for a Walkway & Why You'll Love Them

Having flowers and plants bordering our walkways in spring, summer, and fall makes being outside a delight. These are 12 of our favorites.

Published April 16, 2024

There's something so satisfying about walking around your home and seeing all your walkways bordered by bright, vivid blooms and verdant shrubs. From super-structured plants to feathery flowers, these are some of my favorite walkway plants for creating borders.



Bright, colorful impatiens look so pretty along a walkway. My mom used to fill our walkway flowerbeds in with red, white, and blue impatiens before Memorial Day, and they'd last past the fourth of July. 

Plant them in late spring in well-draining soil. Impatiens need a few hours of partial morning sun, afternoon shade, and plenty of water, and they'll be picture-perfect all summer.

Sweet Alyssum


I love sweet alyssum, which grows in little mounds that make it perfect for bordering your walkway. You'll mostly find them in white, but they also come in purples and pinks. Opt for a single-color or interspersed color (or even different types of flowers) for a sweet, tufty border you'll love.

Plant in full sun to partial shade, and, if you live in a super-hot climate, try to protect them from the hot afternoon sun. 

Creeping Juniper


My grandparents had creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) bordering the walkways of their Seattle home when I was a kid, and I always loved the bluish-green branches as they sprawled along the ground. And I particularly loved the crisp, piney fragrance (is it any wonder I grew up to love gin?) as I brushed my hands along them. 

These tough perennial shrubs thrive in full sun, withstand crappy weather, and do well in soil that isn't so great. So they're the perfect, low-maintenance border plants for your walkways. 



Want a border plant that brings all the butterflies to the yard? Me too! Butterflies love sedum's star-shaped flowers that grow in clusters. Also called stone crop flowers, sedum needs partial to full sun and well-drained soil.

These hardy perennials will grace your walkways for years to come, and you'll love all the color and height choices you have to create varied borders.

Related: 20 Best Sun-Loving Perennials That Thrive in Bright Light



I adore the sheer variety of these shade-loving plants, which are perfect borders for undercover walkways or in areas with lots of shade-giving vegetation. Once planted, they're super easy to care for, and they'll keep your walkway borders looking spiffy for years. 

Hostas do best in partial to full shade (check the variety you choose to see what its individual needs are), and they don't need a ton of water unless it's super hot and dry. I love the leaf shapes and colors, and hosta is fun to say, so there's that. 



Astilbe comes in shades from the sweetest pastels and creams to deep purples and reds. I love the fluffy, frondy flowers — and so do butterflies (bonus)! Clumped together either as a single color or in all the colors, they make a striking walkway border display.

Astilbe is a summer- and fall-blooming perennial that prefers partial or full shade, although in cooler climates, it can tolerate full sun. They'll survive the winter in zones 3-8.



If you've ever hiked a mountain trail, then you know that ferns make a beautiful walkway border. So bring the wilderness to your garden with ferns that grow in a low, mounding habit. We especially love autumn ferns, Japanese-painted ferns, and maidenhair ferns to provide vivid foliage displays in your garden borders.

Which ferns will work best depends on your climate, so check with your garden specialists about which to plant in your yard. Outdoors, they tend to prefer partial or full shade. 

Creeping Thyme


Once, while visiting a winery, I noticed the most magical smell as I walked through their garden. When I looked down, growing alongside the walkway and up from between the pavers was the most delightful, fragrant plant with delicate blue-green leaves and purple flowers. It was creeping thyme.

You can plant creeping thyme along your walkway borders only, or do as that winery did and let them grow between pavers so you can gently crush them underfoot to release their heady fragrance when you walk. Or, hear me out now, replace some or all of your lawn with creeping thyme. It's that magical. 

Creeping thyme needs full sun and well-drained soil, and it's hardy in zones 2-9.

Related: Why Creeping Thyme Is the Lawn Alternative You Need

Lamb's Ear


I'm a total sucker for anything fuzzy and soft, so naturally, I adore lamb's ear as a border plant (or in a planter). The fuzzy leaves are silver blue and add so much texture to walkway borders, especially when contrasted with pretty, low-growing florals. It will bloom with purple flowers in the summer.

Need to Know

Lamb's ear is a member of the mint family, and it's edible (although it's said to taste like fish, which seems like it would be kind of a weird flavor for a plant).

Lamb's ear is drought tolerant and deer resistant (except, apparently, in my yard, which has very hungry deer who have eaten every deer-resistant plant I've ever tried). It's a perennial and, in some warmer climates, evergreen. It grows in low clumps and will spread as a lovely, low-growing ground cover for your walkway border flower beds. Grow it in full sun to partial shade for best results.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons


I live in Washington State, where rhododendrons are our state flower. Every home I've lived in has had rhododendrons and/or azaleas as part of its walkway borders. In fact, right now, I have a whole flower bed of low-growing white azaleas bordering my driveway, which is so pretty in the spring and delights our resident hummingbirds.

These shrubs can grow very large, but you can prune them to fit your border plan. In the spring, they burst with the most vivid, beautiful blooms that'll absolutely light up your walkways. These pretty flowering shrubs need at least six hours of bright light daily.  



I come from the 1980s, a most magical time when people would shape their boxwoods into all sorts of amazing shapes — mostly animals, but some other poofy shapes and mushrooms, too. As a kid, I totally thought it was a rip-off that my dad insisted on trimming our boxwood hedges into traditional squares. There they stood, standing sentinel along the edges of our walkways, bordering staircases and edging fences.

Looking back, though, I have mad respect for his strategy. These stalwart plants provided plenty of green and added some interesting geometry to the garden. They also softened sharp edges and served as a great backdrop for the rest of the garden. Oh — and as they grew bigger, they also became magical hideaways where my sisters and I could spend hours playing pretend.

Boxwoods do best with morning sun and afternoon shade.



I grew totally obsessed with phlox as a walkway plant back in the 90s when my neighbors had some growing in their flower beds. I adore these low-growing flowers that come in so many colors.

Phlox grows in clumps, and the rainbow of colors you can get them in is so pretty. And there's something about the shape of the flowers that reminds me of the tiny flowers that make up the full clusters of hydrangeas — one of my favorite plants of all time.

These easy-to-grow perennials are super reliable. Depending on the type of phlox you choose, they could need anything from partial shade to full sun. Oh — and hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators love phlox.

The Best Walkway Plants Make Beautiful Borders


I love a colorful combo of bright, fragrant flowers and verdant shrubbery to add texture. So whether you choose just a few of these plants or you select all the plants, the walkways around your home have never looked better. 

Our 12 Favorite Plants for a Walkway & Why You'll Love Them