Edging your garden beds serves a practical purpose but it should be done decoratively to add a design and look to your garden, thus combining form and value together. Nowadays there are some excellent options available to home gardeners for edging their flower beds and lawns. Edging materials come in various forms and textures made out of wood, plastic, metal, bricks, stones and concrete, you can also go all natural and use garden plants for edging purposes. There are several garden border ideas that can be implemented through a mix and match of these materials.
Edging is needed not only to keep the garden beds separate but to also to prevent the intrusion of weeds, avoid soil drainage and help in water retention. They are also important aesthetic elements in any garden, so make sure you invest some effort and time to come up with some good looking garden edges.
This article gives a run down on the various garden edging ideas you can implement, giving you suggestions and tips for each of them. So let’s get started.
Using wood for edging
If you visit a garden-home center you are likely to run into some excellent sections of wooden edging material. These sections can be easily placed around the flower beds and lawn to give an old country look or a colonial home look.
Redwood, cedar, cypress and other types of hardwood are used to create these edgings. These timbers are rot resistant and soil rated, making them excellent material for creating garden edges. The only discouraging factor could be the cost.
You can pursue some economical options such as buying garden edges made out of compressed wood or pressure treated lumber. They are cheap and durable to a good extent.
You can also purchase long lengths of landscape timber or railroad ties ( if you don’t know what they are just do a google image search). You might need to cut up the length of timber to create sections for the bedding, but if you are diy type it should not be a problem. You can even stack two layers and nail them down. Some people paint their timber to give it that additional decorative look. You can come up with some really decorative garden edging ideas using these blocks of timber.
The problem with timber is that it can’t handle curves. They are great for creating straight line edges. So if you want curves, you will have to check out other options.
Bricks for garden edges
Brick garden edging is a very economical, if not downright cheap, option. You can use old bricks or slightly damaged bricks for this purpose if they are available for cheap (you might even get it for free if you have some contractor friends). If you like spending for quality, you can purchase some sleek, evenly shaped bricks for this purpose.
This is what you need to do to create a brick garden edging
- Dig up a trench between the beds you want to separate or the bed you want to edge. The trench should be at least six inches deep.
- Fill up the trench with sand, upto 2 inches, so the bricks can fit in better and for water drainage purposes.
- Lay the bricks in a slanted position so their pointed edges form a triangle on top of the trench.
- Stack up the bricks one after the other, near the curves you might want to break up the bricks into smaller portions.
Bricks as gardening edging materials are easy to work with and they deliver on value. They are quite long lasting too. Most home gardeners use brick edging because it is economical and looks pretty good in the garden.
Plastic garden edging
This is definitely an economical option but not a very aesthetic one. There are several benefits to using plastic for garden edging though,
- They are light weight and hence easy to handle
- Can be easily used to create curves and curbs along the garden beds
- Easy to install
- Last long and is pretty durable
- Reasonably priced option
The above advantages have made plastic garden edging a very popular and sought after option. Of course there are several gardeners who maintain their distance for these materials, considering them artificial and unnatural. If you have no such qualms feel free to try this very handy option. Just follow the below steps to have the plastic edging in place.
- These edgings are really easy to install and all it involves is to tamp down the sections into the soil to create the partition (shown in the image)
- Use a rubber mallet or a wooden block to tap the edging into place
- The plastic edgings will contain grooves that fit into one another to maintain continuity and avoid gaps
You should purchase the black or emerald color depending on your choice.
Rock edging for gardens
Fieldstone, flat stones or downright boulders installed along the flower bed edges gives your garden a very natural look – almost a rock garden look. Stones and rocks are expensive if bought from outside and several gardeners avoid this option for this very reason. Then there are some lucky ones who have hilly areas near their homes so they can go rock hunting to get them for free.
If you do decide upon stone edging for your garden then be cautioned about the number of praises and envious eyes that get set upon your green patch. You can purchase edging stones from a home-garden store or from landscape contractors. A few benefits of creating a rock edge for your garden beds are
- They last long and look more attractive than wood or plastic
- They give a more natural look in your garden
- You can grow several dwarf plants around the rocks to enhance the look and create a rock garden.
The rocks or stones would need to be placed in 4 inch deep trenches with a 2 inch layer of sand beneath to get a better hold. Keep the edges close together to prevent gaps or consider buying interlocking pavers from the market (these stones just lock into each other leaving no gaps). Tap the stones into place with a rubber mallet, so that they are in level.
Metal garden edging
This can turn out to be a pretty expensive option if you have to line large beds. Steel garden edging is getting popular in this segment. The advantages are that metal garden edges are long lasting (almost for 10 to 40 years), they are sturdy and can be used along curves. There are several home-garden portals online that sell pre-fabricated metal garden edgings. Just make sure the edgings are safe, with no pointed ends and they are rust proof.
Wrought iron garden edging is pretty popular with most gardeners.
These are the more conventional and popular garden edging ideas. Be sure to visit the several online portals selling these edging materials, to strike a good price and have a larger selection.
Decorative Garden Border Ideas
Let’s look at a few options that are creative and decorative at the same time. These options may not always be conventional but depending on your taste you can implement them in your garden.
Colored glass bottles for garden border
If you have some green colored or black colored bottles around the house, you can use them to create flower bed edgings. This type of edging gives a very funky and unorthodox look to your garden and is definitely suited only to gardens with a casual offbeat theme.
Just create a 4 inch deep and 2 inch wide trench around the area you want to border. Insert the bottles mouth down into the trench. You can place the bottles at a slant so they touch each other to give a cascading look.
Another interesting option is to use soda cans or food cans for borders.
Concrete decorative garden edging
You can buy molded concrete from a home-garden store. These concrete blocks are shaped to look like rocks or bricks. The edges are usually grated to give it a natural look. You can come up with interesting garden edging ideas using concrete blocks.
It is pretty easy to stack them up in a trench or lay them out flat to create a decorative edging.
Professional help can be employed to create beautiful concrete edges but this would be an expensive option.
Using garden plants for edging
Don’t ignore the option of growing attractive dwarf garden plants to act as edges between beds. There is nothing more natural than to have flowering alyssums or candytufts bordering the large flower beds or shrubs.
Other plant varieties that can be used are Veronica, Artmisia, Rocky mountain zinnia, cats paw or bouncing bets. In fact, any plant which has a dwarf growing and mound forming habit can be used for this purpose.
Using cobblestones for garden borders
You can buy some cobblestones from landscape contractors and use them to line your hedges and flower beds. Cobblestones give a old country look and provide for an elegant ambience in the garden. Usually square cobbles of granite are used for this purpose.
We hope this article provided some good insights into garden border ideas that you can try out with your flowers beds and lawns. Just remember to make an educated decision on the choice of material based on the economics as well as the aesthetic appeal of it.