How to build bed borders

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Pecker, Oct 7, 2004.

  1. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,454

    After many searches, no luck. I don't have alot of experience on the landscaping end, but can do small installs. What I need help on is how to build bed borders, which I haven't had to do yet. But the time has come and I'm ready to learn. Case in point:

    A customer is interested in having me install a small bed in her front yard. The only bed border materials I've actually installed is the black plastic bed edging.

    1. The borders that I know of are. . .black plastic rubber, bricks, paver stones, landscape timbers, railroad ties, etc. What options did I miss?

    2. I'm thinking of using landscape timbers, but how do you tie them together? I've seen them nailed. If I nail them, do I need to pre-drill? Also, I assume you'd stagger them sort of like bricks on the corners. . .is there anything more to it than cutting out the path, leveling it, laying the timbers, and fastening them? It seems like it would be simple but I need to be sure before I agree to take on the project. (Its a small one but I work solo.)

    I'm just trying to look at the options so I can suit my customer, but I have to be able to do it right if I'm going to do it. Is there a book you guys could recommend for this that has some picture examples? Thanks in advance
  2. Hamons

    Hamons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 706

    I htink the best looking border is a natural checkmark edge. I have abrown bed edger that does the trick perfectly!
  3. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Messages: 2,702

    yup. best edging available.

    Au natural!!!
  4. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,454

    What exactly is a natural checkmark edge? I'm not sure I've seen one. Thanks.
  5. blafleur

    blafleur LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    Not sure about your area of La., but borders without some type of edging are a pain in much of the South because of bermuda grass. The shaped borders seem to be more of a northern thing. The only places I can see it being practical in the south is in St. Augustine yards. But even there, it takes pretty diligent weedeating to keep the grass from overrunning the borders.

    I dont like to use the cheap plastic edging. I use the green steel stuff quite a bit, but that has a limited lifespan. I like the interlocking brick edging Home Depot sells (Edgestone by Pavestone, I think), and also use natural stone quite a bit (my favorite).

  6. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    The best edge

    1. Draw a line that separates your lawn from the adjoining bed. Use garden spray paint to create a gentle curve, straight lines or any combination that pleases your eye.

    2. Choose a square-head spade to cut the edge and a hoe to smooth out the edge. Make sure your tools are sharp.

    3. Stand on the lawn where it meets the bed. Get in close so that the lawn side of the trench will be no more than three inches from the bed edge.

    4. Hold your spade at about 45 degrees, with its sharpened head on the edge line. Put your foot on the head and guide it at a 45-degree angle 3 inches into the soil.

    5. Lift out the grass and soil and toss it into your wheelbarrow. Take a step to one side and make another cut and toss to match the first. Continue down the line you've drawn until the entire edge is dug out. Set aside any healthy pieces of turf to patch bare spots elsewhere and compost the rest of the debris.

    6. Use your hoe to smooth both sides of the trench. It should be 3 inches deep, sloping up to 3 inches wide at the top. Let the lawn grow right up to one side, with the garden bed meeting the other side.

    7. Maintain the neat edge with regular scrapes of your hoe to cut out lawn or plants that try to cross the trench. Keep the edge as dry as possible to suppress weeds.
    Do this project the day after a rain or good soaking to make digging easier.

    Keep a file handy to sharpen your spade and hoe - let the tools work.

  7. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,454

    Thanks for the info everyone. Coffeecraver, that's an excellent idea. Unfortunately, for this bed, the customer is looking for some type of material border. She seems to be interested in landscape timbers. Blafleur, are you talking about green steel edging that works similar to the plastic edging? Can you make a corner with it?

    Regarding the landscape timbers, how do you connect the timbers? Thanks.
  8. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    connect the timbers with miter cuts.

    When installing that trash be sure to rebar either side but not through
    the middle.That way when the bow up like bananas you can turn them over.

    If you must use a material edge use stone or 6x6's
  9. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    I agree, use stone. I used a weathered, rough looking paver stone(6x6) on a decent sized bed someone wanted me to do for her. It turned out soo nice that I have done three more for her and she wants me to bid on removing the bricks out of the patio,walk and replacing it with the pavers. I love the way stone looks.
  10. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Messages: 2,702

    some folks like to stand up bricks on the narrow end, at a 45 angle.

Share This Page