With plenty of garden edge ideas out there how do you know what’s going to satisfy you for years to come? It begins with knowing the options right? So let’s look at a few pointers about the more popular and solid garden edges out there to help you make a great choice for your garden.
Making the list of solid garden edge ideas are:
- Rocks & Gabions
- Block or Stonework
- Flexible Steel
- Timber Sleepers
When considering these garden edge ideas be mindful of how each will match up with the overall look of your garden. Do you want it to be seen as a complimentary feature; stand out a little? Would you prefer something discreet that serves a purpose like keeping an area tidy? A garden edge idea that suits is largely about the garden it’s going into!
1. Using bricks for garden edging
This is a popular choice that ties in well with a slightly more traditional or cottage garden look. Bricks are quite adaptable, suiting a very formal and geometric layout or looking great in funky, irregular patterns. The latter may include curves or staggers like with the 19th century domino or sawtooth style . Here mismatched bricks are set on the diagonal, back to back. There’s a whole language around using bricks as edges. They may also be set as soldiers(standing up on edge) or as sailors (flat on their side).
Bricks are easy enough to find with reclaim yards being a great source. If you’re looking to squeeze them nice and tight on a tamped base of sand they will be prone to shifting. For a solid, lasting result a concrete footing is definitely the go and makes more things possible. You can even use bricks to create a mowing strip if the bricks are set slightly higher than the soil level and concreted in ready for mower wheel traffic. That’s a definite bonus because it saves you time on trimming for years ahead! A word of warning though; if you have an invasive lawn you need to be extra vigilant in creating an unbroken root barrier a little deeper down.
2. Rocks & gabions as a garden edge
Working with loose feature rocks can be fun as it’s all about matching rocks on shape and colour to create a natural garden edge. You get to be creative! It’s good to set them firmly in place by giving them a good base of crushed stone so they sit proud rather than sinking into the garden bed soil. This kind of edge lends itself to the informal look, winding along and sometimes repeating within the bed itself. Inter plantings can further soften the look. Alyssums, succulents and native ground covers come to mind as well suited gap fillers in this style of garden. To avoid disappointment check first what rocks are available in your local landscape yards to be sure they’re to your taste.
Use of Gabions provides a more formal look. These allow for less picky rock selection as it’s more about the effect of many rather than individual feature stones. You can even use recycled building materials and broken bricks in these to create a surprisingly attractive gabion edge/wall. They allow for your personality to come through in the fill you choose and can double as seats with the addition of attractive boarding on top. It’s always great to have more places to sit in your garden!
3. Block or Stonework as garden edging options
You can also look at stackable stone blocks or more elaborate stonework to really define a path through a garden or edge a bed. This has the added benefit of retaining your mulch and soils to give you a lower maintenance garden.
There are many styles of ‘easy stack’ stone blocks you can use which allow choices in colour and texture. You can choose how high you want to go and this will determine what you need to do in terms of fixing the stones in place. However high though a base of crushed stone provides good drainage and requires less compacting than sand or natural gravel, staying put to make achieving levels easier. They are quite easy to work with really, how you feel afterwards just depends on the number of blocks used!
Stonework with the talents of a stone mason employed is another approach to give a unique and bespoke look for your garden. This is definitely a fancy option in terms of garden edge ideas that guarantees a very natural look that can be fun to plant around later.
4. Flexible Steel gives a long lasting and durable garden edge
This option can either be taken as a discreet or highly visible garden edge idea depending on your taste. The rusted steel colour has a natural appeal for many and lends itself to cascading plantings when used as an elevation within the design. For others a galvanised finish can lighten the look within a garden and really announce the plantings that sit against it. As I said, it’s a matter of taste.
Since 2015 steel edging has become more user friendly than ever because the latest innovations mean it can be flexed easily to create attractive flowing lines. As such it has become a DIY suitable option with the ability for adjustments to be easily made on site, making it quite forgiving to work with. A great starting point when working with flexible steel edging is to mark your lines first with line marking paint, to see how the flowing lines you imagined will actually look in your garden.
It can be used in formal linear layouts too, but it’s the curving abilities of flexible steel that more commonly win people over to using steel within a natural landscape. It’s lasting qualities with no inclination to shift, crack or splinter also make it a popular garden edge idea.
5. Timber Sleepers sand the test of time as a garden edge
Working with timber as a garden edge is another relatively quick and easy approach. Timber sleepers provide a substantial and solid garden edge. Done well, they can look fantastic, you can even stand them vertically! You can also buy steel retaining uprights allowing easy connection between sleepers which certainly removes a potential headache.
The selection of the right timber is important to give you confidence that it will last when set in the ground. How will it handle moisture, insect and fungal attack and will it be safe near edible crops? For these reasons jarrah is a popular choice as a garden sleeper while the right reclaimed timbers are often a great option. They can certainly bring some character when oiled up as a garden edge or ageing with grace and make a perfect companion to the look of a plant rich garden.
Hopefully one of these solid garden edge ideas is going to be perfect for your garden and will add to the feel and/or function of your garden space. Happy garden planning!