A lawn makes an excellent foreground, setting off the mixed border. For many of us, it is relatively easy to keep cut but the edges can be a more for time consuming effort and often avoided. This results in a blurring of edges where border plants meet the lawn plantation; grass grows through plants or herbaceous perennials and suckering shrubs come through the lawn.
I like a defined grass edge but find hand shears laborious so make use of my strimmer which means I can do the edges of my average sized garden in minutes, literally. I cut my grass roughly every week which means the edges do not get too long and I do not need to collect up my edgings in fear they will root.
The down side of the strimmer is it is unfriendly towards larger overhanging and bold leaved plants such as bergenias and irises; leaving nasty noticeable cuts and often a plant with a very straight front.
Where grass meets border I have found certain small leaved carpeting plants extremely useful, as they grow towards the grass they can be kept at bay with by the strimmer. Unless examined closely with a critical eye, cuts are unnoticeable and natural shape returns quickly.
Some useful front of border meets grass plants include:
Persicaria affinis and golden Lysimachia nummularia
Geranium x antipodeum ‛Pink Spice’
Geranium x oxonianum
Gunnera magellanica, a tiny version of the more familiar large leaved Gunnera manicata. Both the flowering penstemmon and hosta wild need to be moved as they are being damaged by my strimmer.
Waldsteinia ternata a great little spreader producing masses of tiny yellow flowers in early summer
I still use plants with bold foliage or a tendency to spill over but use them next to hard standing and paths to soften the edges. Crucially for me the plants above are hardy, (even coping with continually trampling from our dog) require little care, are long lived and keep weeds down. Although they can easily be sourced through the internet I can supply them to my local customers.