Forum home Garden design

Border Edging

Dear all,

Does anyone have any suggestions for materials to use to create a formal edge to a border. I see railway sleepers everywhere but I am not a fan. I have looked at many other edgings made from recycled rubber tyres, plastic faux stone edgings and many other things but I have to be honest and say none of them grab me very much. Picture of the bed in question below - any suggestions welcome .. I'd like something understated and architectural .. if possible?

many thanks, Bron.

. imageimage


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    You've made it quite hard for yourself with the shape you've created unfortunately. A bigger, sweeping curve would have made it easier if you want to do it yourself. 

    Upright poles are good for edging curves though - and I don't mean that awful stuff on a roll - I mean proper 3 or 4 inch poles cut to the size you need, and inserted vertically along the edge. You'd need to concrete them in, but that isn't as hard as it sounds. Dig a trench place them in and back fill with that ready to use stuff for putting in posts.

    If your soil's sturdy (clay) you could back fill with that on it's own, but you'd need to make sure there's a good amount of timber below ground so that they're really secure. You could always add a little concrete edge along the front and back, the back one should provide extra support and would be best angled back into the border itself. It would make a good mowing edge along the front anyway, so it's probably a good idea to do that.

    Another alternative is those paviours used for driveways. A few people here use those very successfully Again, you can set them in a little mortar mix so that they don't shift, and they also make a good mowing edge. It really depends on the height you need or want for the edging too. 

    Hope that's of some help  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • We have tried stone borders and in the distant past there was a green plastic border.  Plastic tends to become brittle with age and snaps, stones are more natural. 

    However we have found the best border is to have nothing at all but to make a gap (similar to that in your picture), with the soil being dug lower before rising up again to ground level, further up the flower bed. We find this is the best way to keep the grass tidy and prevent having the lawn from growing between stones or other edging you may use.

    I have seen slates being used as edging, or you can buy various concrete edging too.

  • Thnaks fairygirl - I inherited the curve in the bed. Seriously thought of getting rid of it altogther but its more work and not sure if it would be worth it. Yes take your point about posts. I woul dprobably rather do rectangular than round but its a good idea! Guernsey  - I have also thought of just leaving it and so heartened by your thoughts ... slate is a good idea to0 - are there specific slate edging stones?

    Thnaks, Bron.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    I don't have edging everywhere in my garden either - I do the same as G.Donkey with a good gap between border and grass, but having a solid barrier can make life easier if you have lots of areas next to grass - less ingress of the grass up the vertical edges, which I have to keep tidy as I'm a bit like that....image

    I also use fence posts for a basic edge to grass in the front garden. Mine is angular rather than curved so they're just laid horizontally. You could use those if you prefer those to round poles. 

    You could leave it for now, and see how you feel next year. If it isn't too much of a hardship keeping the grass edge neat with shears or strimmer, you might feel it isn't necessary to have anything.  image

    Last edited: 23 August 2017 16:04:31

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • The stone edging looks neat Doghouse but then so too does the natural grass edging in your final picture. Our garden is a little more wild looking than your lovely neat area, and time is always a problem with any project here. I am envious of your acers, they are stunning.

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,010

    GD - I think DHR's point is that the final picture is not a natural grass edge - it's the same garden as the pic above (slightly different angle of photo) but the edging has weathered in so you don't see it, at least not on the long view.

    I think if you want a very clean but not straight edge then DHR's approach probably works best in the long run. I've used natural stone in the past but it's hard to keep it as crisp and you do get slugs living in the crevices. In my current much wilder garden I don't have any edging, (at least not yet), to borders although a couple of the grass areas have wooden edges sunk right down so the grass is flush with the top surface. I'm still moving the borders around so don't want a hard edge in case it moves again image.

    I have a few places where I've got old bricks set in at a slant over each other to make a zig zag edge along the sides of steps and a few paths but that's mostly so I can keep the steps clear for now whilst being able to easily pick the edge bricks up and move them when I change my mind. One set of steps has so far moved 3 times and they still aren't right. Bricks laid flat 'grow in' to the grass and are much harder to lever out again IME

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,563

    A row of bricks laid like DHR has done saves time keeping your edges looking tidy. You can run the mower over the top of them so you can cut grass right to the edge (avoid edging with any kind of upstand!) Make sure they're laid firm on hardcore or a bit of concrete, and mortar the gaps to stop grass growing between them.

    There's nothing to stop you getting rid of the 'bump' in your border and realigning so that it's more pleasing and convenient for you.

  • Doghouse! Thank you so much I do really like this and I think it's a great solution. I am very minded to do it. Thank you so much for the very useful pictures. Can I just ask this most sound like a silly question but left over from the fencing I have four bags of postcrete. Do you think if I put some hardcore down first I could sit the slabs on some postcrete then wet it all down to set it off and mortar between the cracks just to use the stuff up? Thanks very much again, Bron

Sign In or Register to comment.