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Marking out a design

I'm figuring out the layout of a new design and I want to paint it out onto the garden to help visualise the size of things. Specially designed grass paint all appears to wash off in a good rain and builder's marking out paint doesn't specify if it will kill plants. I currently have lawn all over and it's all going, so if it kills the lawn so be it, but I don't want residues to damage new planting. Does anyone have any great ideas how to mark it all out? I can't do it with a spade as the ground is super hard, I'm dealing with that issue with a rotivator and additives, but trying to make marks with a spade or edging tool or whatever is about 3 days' back breaking work. image Any tools or techniques leaping to mind?


  • You can use sand to mark out beds, etc.  If it rains, some of the sand will wash away but the majority should least enough to see your outlines.  Take some pics when you have marked out which means you will still have some sort of record to work from.image

  • I've done something similar, used flour and photographed - it did last through a couple of downpours!

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,251

    Use a hosepipe.  It won't wash away and, if you leave it in place for at least a week once you've viewed your design from all angles and are happy with it, it will leave a mark in the grass for you to work from when digging.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • A hosepipe will work OK providing you have the necessary length to mark out everything ( and don't require it for other purposes).  Granted it will leave a mark but that is only useful if the OP is planning on digging the beds out before the grass recovers and obliterates any outline.....grass is still growing at this time. 

    Sharp sand will do the job adequately and if any remains, it won't do any harm when incorporated into the beds.image

  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    I use string and wooden pegs. Fiddily but can keep tweaking shape as and when until satisfied image 

  • All of the above!

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    I use cheap, brightly coloured washing line - easily seen, held down by bright (also cheap) plastic tent pegs. Easily moved about, can   be seen from lots of angles and the house. Can be used to guide digging a marking trench when mind more or less made up.

    Sometimes I have used Roundup to mark the edge of a bed as well

  • Hi Rose,

    I used the blue wire you get for clotheslines, then got a wire clothes hanger and cut it into about 3" pieces, bent them over and used it to peg the wire to the ground. It worked a treat.

  • I had the impression that the OP needed to mark out borders/planting areas solely on grass and had tried paint to little effect. 

    From the above posts, there are several ways of doing this.....none of which are too taxing either in the theory or the practice.  No classwork necessary I think unless the OP wishes to incorporate some complicated Heraldic designimage

  • BizzieBBizzieB Posts: 885

    phillipa, er, OP??  image .   '

    complicated Heraldic design'  image now that would be something!

    RoseR , I've just enlarged a border by digging into grass and the ground was bone hard even following existing border line.

    Yours sounds a big job. Hope some of these suggestions are helpful, keep in touch on how you get on image 

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