Are you looking to define the edges of your flower beds and garden spaces? Do the borders of your beds appear overgrown and unkempt? Adding border edging is an easy DIY project that can give your landscaping sharp, polished definition.
Border edging serves several useful purposes in the garden:
- It helps contain loose materials like mulch, soil and gravel within the bed.
- It prevents grass and weeds from infiltrating the bed.
- It gives flower beds and garden spaces a neat, intentional look.
- It maintains the shape and structure of the bed as plants mature.
- It provides a clean edge for mowing and trimming around.
- It finishes off the bed nicely when combined with mulch.
There are a number of different edging materials to choose from, each with their own advantages. In this guide, we’ll cover the pros and cons of the top 5 flower bed border edgings to help you determine which is best for your garden goals and style.
Natural Stone Edging
If you want a classically beautiful border that blends with natural stone pathways, patios or other hardscaping, a natural stone edging is a perfect choice. Stone edging options include granite, limestone, sandstone, bluestone, and fieldstone, cut into strips, small blocks, or cobblestones. The variety of colors and textures available in natural stone allows for lots of customization to your landscape design.
- Provides a seamless elegant look, especially when matched with other stones in the yard.
- Tremendous durability and longevity – can last for decades.
- Natural appearance complements flower beds and plantings.
- Can be laid in straight or curved shapes as desired.
- Can be installed flush to the ground or raised to delineate a tiered bed.
- More labor intensive to excavate for and install.
- Natural stone tends to be more expensive than other edging options.
- Stones can settle or shift out of place over time.
- Difficult to change shape once initially installed.
Granite, limestone, and sandstone are ideal choices to coordinate with the architecture of your home. For a more informal English garden look, a fieldstone or bluestone edging would be beautiful. Stacked stone pieces can provide visual variety and allow curving lines. Brands like Belgard, Emsco, and Oldcastle offer pre-cut stone borders or you can source local stones. The natural elegance of stone makes it worth the extra cost for a premium, permanent edging solution.
Plastic/Resin Garden Edging
If affordability and flexibility are your main concerns, plastic or resin edging could be the perfect option. Manufactured from thick polyethylene, PVC or flexible rubber, these molded plastic edgings provide a functional and budget-friendly border solution. They are easy for DIY installation and hold up well to the elements.
- Lightweight for easy handling and shaping
- Simple push-in installation
- Affordable low-cost option
- Available in various heights, colors and profiles
- Can curve smoothly to make wavy bed shapes
- Materials resist cracking and splitting
- Can look less natural than stone or wood options
- Durability depends on thickness (thin types can warp over time)
- Can fade or discolor over many seasons of sun exposure
- Frost heave can loosen sections
Resin or plastic edging is ideal for giving contemporary gardens and newer landscapes crisp definition. The flexibility makes it perfect to edge curving beds or divide sections within a large island bed. No-dig installation takes the hassle out of excavating and securing a heavy material in place. Brands like Easy Gardener, Bonny, Flexi Curve, and Kafko provide sturdy, long-lasting plastic edging strips, loops and stakes perfect for DIY home garden projects. Go for thicker 3/8 inch+ residential styles rather than flimsy lawn edging. With proper installation, they’ll retain their shape and confine borders for many seasons.
Durable Metal Garden Edging
For a modern look with clean lines and sophistication, a steel, aluminum or copper garden edging is an unparalleled choice. The rigidity of metal makes it ideal for geometric designs, straight lines and precise border demarcation. The variety of colors – from classic black to modern zinc grey – allows metal edging to enhance any landscape style.
- Crisp, straight lines and 90 degree bends achieved easily
- Extremely durable against dents and bending
- Range of metal color finishes – from matte black to copper
- Instantly upgrades look of garden for elegant appeal
- Components easily link together for seamless runs
- Higher cost than plastic or wood materials
- Movement or frost heave can misalign pieces
- Lacquer or protective finishes can scratch or chip over time
- Sharp edge corners need padded for safety
The clean sophistication of metal makes it stand out in modern gardens with sleek beds and hardscaping. Aluminum is lightweight yet strong, while steel provides dramatic color choices like Corten rust. For softer curves, look for extruded aluminum edging with built-in curves. Brand leaders like Permaloc, Jefcoat, and Greenes Fence provide premium metal border edging that makes a contemporary design statement. With proper installation, metal will retain crisp edges and right angle bends for years of firm flower bed definition.
Brick Garden Borders
For old-fashioned charm, bricks arranged lengthwise on-edge provide a classic border with cottage garden appeal. Salvaged bricks are very popular but new clay or concrete ones also give vintage character. The small modular sizes make it easy to curve, meander, or zig-zag brick patterns as desired.
- Inexpensive using recycled bricks
- Classic style suits any home
- Durable against cracking or chipping
- Easy for do-it-yourself shaping
- Can edge straight or curved beds
- Natural colors blend into garden
- Prone to sinking or leaning over time
- Difficult to get perfectly straight lines
- Mortar eventually needs repointed
- Harder to get full length pieces
Laying bricks is almost as easy as stacking legos – no special skills required! For organic lines, lay bricks in a flowing pattern. Use square bricks for 90-degree corners and straight runs. Brick border edging matches charming cottage gardens but also provides a nice contrasting edge for more modern plantings. Brands like Acme, Mutual Materials, and Glen-Gery make it easy to order uniform bricks but checking local materials exchanges for free used bricks can unearth real treasures! With the proper sand or mortar base, brick borders bring old-world appeal and function to all different garden designs and color schemes.
Rustic Wood Edging for Gardens
Simple pre-treated landscape timbers make a charming border for informal cottage or woodsier gardens. The natural yet rustic look provides a beautiful complement to blooming perennials or organic vegetable beds. Salvaged hardwoods or redwood also create unique hand-crafted edges.
- Relatively inexpensive depending on wood type
- Super easy for do-it-yourself install
- Has an informal, rustic appeal
- Can be cut or shaped with basic tools
- Easy to remove or rearrange
- Requires more maintenance than other materials
- Can rot, warp, or discolor without consistent sealing
- May not stand up to frequent lawn mower bumps
- Can provide cover for crawling insects
- Not the most precise edging for formal beds
For gardeners who enjoy working with wood and don’t mind extra sealing maintenance, this material has outstanding character. Use chunky timber planks for a bold border or slender 1×2 furring strips for a delicate edge. Curves can be cut using a jigsaw or leave ends rough for an artsy free-form look. Pair wood edging with gravel mulch and overflowing native plants for beautiful effect. Brands like Timberlane, The Yard Outlet, and Sutherlands provide diverse wood edging options suitable for all home and garden styles.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of the top border edging materials, how do you determine which is right for your landscape vision and needs? Here are key factors to consider when choosing flower bed borders:
Key Considerations When Choosing Border Edging
Measure and map out shape first – Outline the dimensions with spraypaint or a hose and measure linear feet. Know the total length you need to purchase and any specialty corner pieces. Account for curves requiring shorter segments.
Match material to your existing hardscape – Select edging that complements patios, walkways and retaining walls – stone, brick, metal or concrete.
Consider your style – Formal gardens suit rigid metal or stone edges, while casual cottage beds look great with old brick or rustic wood.
Factor in contours and shape – Curvy beds are easiest with flexible plastic or rubber edging that can bend smoothly.
Evaluate durability requirements – Some materials like metal and stone last longer than wood or plastic.
Determine installation method – Will you DIY or hire a landscape pro? Your skill level may limit material options.
Account for maintenance – Some edgings like wood need frequent sealing, while stone and metal require less care.
Choose colors and finishes – Metal comes in various colors, and stone types have different textures. Select versions that enhance surrounding plants and hardscape.
Allow extra for curves – Curved and circular beds use shorter segments so allow for wastage off standard lengths when estimating needed linear footage.
Review brands and costs – Compare not just prices but product quality and warranties between brand options of a given material type.
Once you select the ideal border edging style for your flower beds, proper installation is key to maximizing longevity. Here are some best practices for putting in garden edging:
Tips for Installing Flower Bed Edging
Outline shape – Mark outline with temporary spray paint or garden hose to visualize layout.
Excavate trench – Dig 6-12 inches deep depending on edging height. Deeper equals more stability.
Level soil base – Rake smooth any lumps for a consistent base to install onto.
Dry fit first – Do a test layout with pieces before permanent install to confirm shape and length.
Stake in place – Connect pieces together and stake frequently to hold edging in desired layout until backfilled. Consider adhesive for extra strength.
Backfill – Shovel soil firmly around edges so material abuts tightly together when compacted.
Use corner pieces – Look for L-connectors and corner pieces to adjoin straight sections for clean lines.
Shape gradual curves – Don’t bend plastic or metal sharply. Use short segments for gradual curves.
Mind the gap – Leave 1-3 inches between edging and plants for growth room and to prevent heaving.
Seal connections – Use bonding agent, mortar, silicone caulk, or landscape adhesive to seal connections between individual edging pieces for optimal strength and weed prevention.
Properly installed edging should retain its shape and keep beds looking neat for years. Here are some maintenance tips to get the longest life from garden edging:
Ongoing Edging Maintenance
- Hand pull weeds near edging before they take root under materials.
- Immediately re-level sections that become uneven to prevent exacerbating problems.
- Replenish eroded soil under edges keeping the base consistently firm against materials.
- Power wash plastic edging annually to remove debris buildup and keep colors fresh.
- Re-stain wood edges every 2-3 years and replace rotted sections promptly.
- Seal any cracks between brick or stone edging pieces with mortar or polyurethane caulk to prevent weeds.
- Paint metal edges like wrought iron annually to prevent rust or tarnish.
- In spring, inspect for heaving damage and reset pieces that shifted over winter.
Proper installation and attentive maintenance will keep your flower bed edging in peak form for years of flawless bed shaping and grass containment. Edging completes the look by joining all hardscape and softscape elements into a polished total landscape design.
We hope this comprehensive guide provides all the information you need to tackle your upcoming edging project with confidence. Here are some final tips to ensure edging success:
Final Tips for Fabulous Flower Bed Edging
- Don’t skimp on trench depth – at least 8-10 inches deep secures edging best.
- For straight lines use materials like metal that resist curving if bumped by mowers and string trimmers.
- Seal all connections between individual edging pieces with adhesive or caulk for optimal strength.
- Combine edging with 2-3 inches of mulch against beds to deter grass and weeds.
- For already established beds, install edging carefully to avoid damaging mature plant roots.
- No edging lasts forever – budget to replace sections down the road.
- Hire a professional installer for complex designs or large-scale projects.
- Commit to consistent maintenance to maximize longevity – don’t let weeds take hold!
We hope these tips help you achieve clean, defined bed edges that elevate your garden to the next level. Please reach out with any questions – we’re happy to offer free consultations to find the perfect edging solution for your unique landscape vision!