Garden edging is one of the hallmarks of a truly great yard. When you install garden edging, it helps to separate different areas of your garden and adds a sense of thoughtful orderliness with contours and corners amid the organic chaos of your plants.
Garden edging can also have practical purposes, like keeping stones in a certain area and allowing for hard edges around things like sand pits, or for constructing a raised garden bed. Additionally, garden edging is surprisingly affordable.
So, why doesn’t everybody install garden edging? Often, the reason is simply that people don’t know how to install garden edging. Well, we’re here to change that. Installing DIY garden edging doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s so simple that you can learn how to do it by reading a single article (this one).
Choose which kind of edging is right for your garden
Different kinds of garden edging have various pros and cons. For example, sleeper edges look great, are very sturdy, and have a rustic charm, but they’re very large and heavy. So, if you’re doing garden edging on, say, a petite rooftop garden with no elevator access, it might not be the right fit — however, some plastic edging might do just the trick.
Some kinds of edging, like long wood edging planks, are going to feel more natural in a straight line. However, if you’re planning on a garden bed with curved edges in an unusual shape, something like corrugated edging or brick edging might be more your speed.
If you’re not sure which edging is right for you, try talking with one of the gardening and landscaping experts at All Green. Tell them about your aesthetic desires, and the practical plans you have for the space. Don’t worry if you think this might be boring; our staff live for this sort of thing.
First, get the right supplies and equipment for your DIY garden edging
Beyond the materials for the actual edging itself, there are a few other tools that you’ll need to install garden edging. Here are a few general pieces of equipment that you’ll want to have on hand for the job. For more specific kinds of garden edging that require different tools and equipment, we’ll specify that later in the article.
- Galvanised nails/pegs/hardwood stakes: There are many different ways to install edging and keep your new edge in the ground. Often, it’s not enough just to dig a trench and backfill it in — go the extra mile and invest in materials that will secure your edging to the ground.
- Gloves: It’s important to wear gloves when working in the garden, especially during landscaping jobs. A sturdy pair of gloves will make some of the tasks required when installing garden edging easier, and will also reduce the risk of injury.
- Safety goggles: For garden edging that you have to cut or saw, it’s important to have safety goggles to protect your eyes.
- Measuring equipment: Unless you’re going for the gung-ho, ramshackle, rustic look, it’s worth investing in some equipment to help you measure distances.
- Clippers/A saw: If you’re installing a form of timber edging, or a corrugated edging that needs to be cut to the right length, ensure that you’ve got good, safe tools for cutting or sawing.
- A shovel: Many forms of garden edging require you to dig a trench. Ensure that you’ve got a hardy shovel that is up to the job.
How to install sleeper garden edging
Sleepers are also known as railroad ties. You’d recognise them as the ‘in-between bits’ on a railroad track that keeps the rails straight. Well, sleepers are also great for creating a boundary and keeping edges straight in your garden as landscape timbers.
Decide how you want to use the sleeper timber edging
There are a few different ways that people can use sleeper edging in their gardens. First, you’ve got to ask yourself some questions about what you want from your sleeper edging. These questions will also double up for how to install timber garden edging of other kinds. For starters: do you want to lay the wood vertically or horizontally?
- Horizontally: Quite literally the most ‘straightforward’ way to install sleeper garden edging, by laying the sleepers horizontally you can build an edge with a straight line.
- Vertically: By cutting the sleeper into sections, it can be installed vertically. Laying many small pieces of wood side by side in this way is effective for creating a curved edge.
Measure and cut your sleepers
Take care to use the right tools, eye protectors and gloves, and cut your sleepers to the length you require.
Dig a trench
While you can lay sleepers directly on your soil, to ensure they function as secure retaining walls, it’s best to dig a trench to place them in. To ensure it’s stable, dig the trench at a depth of roughly half your sleeper. To create an especially secure edge, add a layer of cement to the floor of the trench and wait for it to dry partially.
Lay the sleepers
Lay the sleepers in the trench you’ve dug. If you’ve decided on horizontal installation, lay them flat, and if you’d rather do it vertically, place them side-by-side. Add soil behind the sleepers and fill up the trench to secure them.
How to install brick garden edging
Bricks can make for excellent garden edging, and you’ll find many examples of brick edging around lawns and sections of grass in Australian yards. Why is it so popular? Well, aside from looking great, it’s also an affordable option and is easy to install. All you have to do is:
- Dig a flat section in your garden where you’re planning on laying the cement, and removing weeds, stone, turf, etc.
- Mix sand and cement with water (4:1). It should be roughly the consistency of a thick cake mix. Mix this on a piece of board — you don’t want it to ruin your paving!
- Spread a layer of cement where you want the bricks to go. Position your bricks on the mortar and push them down into the mixture.
- Using a rubber mallet (so as not to damage the bricks), tap the bricks into place. Continue laying bricks until they’re all in position.
- Rake soil up to the other side of the bricks, until you have a clean edge.
It’s a similar process if you’re wondering how to install concrete garden edging, with the key difference being that you’ll be using concrete slabs rather than clay bricks.
How to install plastic garden edging
This is one of the easiest and most common forms of garden edging to put in place.
- Like the other stages, begin by digging a trench. Again, you’ll want it to be about half as deep as the edging you’re using.
- Insert the plastic edging pieces into the trench. They should clip onto the preceding piece, allowing you to assemble them as you go.
- To secure the edging, drive the peg into the back of the edging. Depending on the product you’re using, this may be either metal, hardwood stakes, or plastic peg. The results should be the same no matter which kind you’re using.
- Backfill with soil to cover the pegs, and you’re good to go with a beautiful edge for your lawn, veggies or flower beds.
How to install Formboss metal edging
One of the great things about Formboss metal edging is that it can form virtually any shape. So, if you want curved flower beds, you can have them! All you have to do is:
- Measure out how much of the metal you need
- Cut it to length (using the appropriate safety equipment like gloves and goggles)
- Dig your trench
- Insert the metal edging into the ground
- Hold it in place with steel pegs
- Backfill with soil
And with that, you’re good to go.