Almost everything you need to know about garden edging. Imagination not included.
So, have planned your garden; you have decided on the location, the shape, and even the plants that you will use. Now, you need to choose what you will be edging the area with.
There are many options available with which to choose from. Some of the choices available are very basic; others more elaborate. Whichever type of edging you decide to use, make sure it is what you what and how you what it. No one can tell you what is right or wrong, if you like the way it turns out, it is right.
The first choice and probably the most basic is a professional style plastic edging, which can be found at any garden center. This type has a round, usually hollow tube on top of a solid strip of plastic that gets buried into the ground so only the tube is visible. This type of edging is both functional and very cost effective. This type is great if you don’t plan on seeing it or if you want something very basic. I personally use this type around bushes and when I am planning an area with ground covering plants around the edges. It keeps the grass from growing in to area, but you cannot see it. If you are not going to see it, why use something expensive.
Another choice is the decorative brick-type edgings. They are available in a variety of different styles and color to match almost any color scheme. However, this type can be very costly and does have many limitations. One of which is that you are limited to the shape of the area that you want to edge because most of this style one come in straight edging pieces or in a slight curve. Also you might have to adjust the size of the area to conform to the dimensions of the bricks, unless of course you are talented at cutting bricks. Also, I have found from personal experience that if this type of edging is used to border an area that is in conjunction with a sidewalk or driveway that is heavily salted during the winter months (I live in Wisconsin.) the brinks tend to disintegrate within a couple of years forcing you to replace them. On the other hand, some of the types of brick that are available to build retaining walls, to raise a planting area, such as around a tree or birdbath, are easy to work with and should provide years of excellent function with little maintenance.
Okay, now that we have covered the practical and rather ordinary types of edgings. Let’s talk about the creative and rather interesting ways you can edge your garden. You can pretty much edge a garden with anything you want. You do however need to keep in mind that if your area is bordered by lawn, you will want to make sure something (I will go into some details later.) goes down at least 4 inches into the dirt. This will help ensure that the lawn does not grow into your garden area. You are not limited to store-bought manufactured edging. The materials that you can use as edging would amaze you.
Of course one of the most standard of all edgings is the usual use of fieldstone. I have found that this provides a very natural form of edging and can compliment most types of plantings. This type of edging is very easy to adapt to a variety of different size and shaped areas. One of the more difficult aspects of this type of edging is finding the stone. If you or a friend that has wooded land, I have found that this is the most cost effective way to acquire your stones. Otherwise, you can usually purchase your stones from a professional landscaper or a local quarry. With this type of edging, I have buried a piece of professional style edging completely into the ground and covered it with an inch or so of dirt and sank my stones into that. It looks great and the plastic edging keeps the lawn out, but in not seen.
Another choice, if you get your hands on them are old railroad ties. This large wood planks are great because they can with stand the weather, the age beautifully, and are easy to use. Just slightly sink them into the ground and your done. It doesn’t get any easier that that. However, they do not bend so they are only good for square or rectangle areas.
One more idea is rather complicated, but I have found the effort well worth it, is to build a miniature picket fence. You start by taking a 2-inch by 4-inch board and drill my pickets right into it and then bury the 2×4 right into the ground, so only the pickets are exposed. You need to remember to use treated wood or a very good sealant on the 2×4 or it will rot out after a while. The pickets you can paint or stain any color just remember to use an exterior paint.
Now this next idea is going to sound a bit weird, but hear me out. Use logs. They do not need to be the same diameter or type of wood for that matter. Cut them into circles about 2 inches thick and bury half of it in the ground, leaving the other half exposed. This gives you a very rustic type effect and you can vary the pattern by using pieces in different sizes. I personally choose to leave the bark on the pieces, but you can remove it if you prefer.
The possibilities are endless as to how you can edge your garden and landscaped areas. You are only as limited as your imagination. Almost anything you can find can be used as edging if you choose to. Just remember that you want to try going down at least 4 inches into the dirt, to help ensure that the lawn does not grow into your area and keep in mind whatever you use will be outside and exposed to the elements, so makes sure it will last. Unless of course you want to be replacing edging all the time, I prefer enjoying my gardens rather than working on them. Enjoy your results and let others enjoy them with you.
Good Luck and Happy Edging.