The Sartorial Garden

Garden Edging: Hard at Work

Edging is such a wonderful and easy way to introduce structure and definition into the garden. Well placed edging punctuates any section of a garden including planting beds, graveled areas, or even pathways; it creates a shape and draws the eye up.

Edging provides clean and elegant lines throughout the garden where messy edges are typically the norm. A lovely and efficient way to keep the garden tidy!

Edging can be formal or informal, new or antique, and can be made from so many different materials including limestone, concrete, terra cotta, cast iron, and stoneware.

Half buried bricks along a pathway, limestone rope edging around a perennial bed or even small steel wagon wheels could be used to edge a garden!

Rope edging was one of the most popular styles throughout the 20th century and still is quite popular today.  Pictured below are antique salt glazed rope edging tiles from England.  And under the antique edging is the newer cast limestone edging tiles and posts.

Installing long lengths of edging might seem daunting at first but setting up edging tiles is quite simple.  Dig a 4 to 6 inch deep trench along the border. Add 1-2 inches of sand or crushed stone – something that will help keep the tiles level and will allow drainage so that the tiles won’t move during winter freezes or extreme rain. Then place the tiles in the trench and fill with dirt or crushed stone to stabilize.

We typically don’t recommend mortaring the tiles together, this allows for slight movement without cracking the edging. If installed correctly, little maintenance is required, just reset any tile that may have moved during the winter or rainy season. Note that installation will vary depending on material and age of edging. But don’t feel constrained by formal rope or other tile edging – there are endless ways that you can use your creativity and various garden materials to easily add structure and form to your garden!

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