Strong, flowing lines are the essence of good garden design. A common problem, however, is that those ‘strong lines’ tend to lose their definition over time and, with that, their impact. To maintain that definition, the gardener needs either a ‘straight eye’ and a trusty spade, or some assistance in the form of edging material.

This certainly cuts down on garden maintenance. In formal and small gardens especially, where the slightest mistake or shaky line will be noticed, and provides a truly professional finish.

Lending informal a formal look

While we are accustomed to seeing edging in formal garden designs, informal gardens benefit just as much from having neatly-edged planting areas, making mowing of lawns and raking of gravel that much less of a chore.
When deciding on a suitable material for your edges, first take into consideration the overall style of your home. If it is formal, carry the style of the interior through to the garden. Materials used for paving, paths and edging should be consistent with those used in the construction of the home. The further away one moves from the house, the less formal the materials need to be. In a casual home, the transition to natural materials such as bark, gravel, wooden logs, rocks and boulders can be made that much earlier.

Choosing suitable products

There is a wealth of materials from which to choose – half pavers (terracotta or concrete), cobblestone, rope-style terracotta tiles, wooden log, railway sleepers, river boulders, rocks, and extruded concrete edging.

With a little imagination, you could even recycle any materials lurking behind the garden shed. Inverted wine bottles make a very unusual edge, old bricks gain a new lease on life, and sturdy branches do an excellent job and provide many insects with food and shelter as they slowly decompose.

Installing Edging

In a formal garden or where it is necessary to retain a definite shape, it is certainly advisable to lay the edging material on a small foundation to prevent it from shifting and looking unsightly. In an informal garden, however, if wooden products, river boulders, rocks, branches or recycled products are used, a foundation is not necessary.

If you are considering edging then spend time designing your garden accurately or have a reputable designer draw a plan for you. This will enable you to cost the project and order the materials accurately and will ensure a very pleasing end result.

The Gardener