Need ideas how mix and match different edging stones

L.AnnMarch 10, 2012


I am redoing our front yard landscaping - not one time complete overhaul, but several years step-by-step affair. Last year I bought white edgers (see picture) to lay border for the flower bed - currently black rubber edging. Last winter I had an idea to add a tall shrub in the middle of the bed, preferably in slightly raised bed. So now I have a vision of a circle with hydrangea in the middle and border going from it in both directions. I do not have enough white edgers for everything, so I will have to use some other edging material for middle bed. Any ideas how make it work? Right now I am torn between 2 options - either to buy white edgers with different structure/height/length or use similar elongated edgers of different, probably contrasting color. Not black, dark grey maybe - house is light grey and I have black mulch/dark grey slate rock in bed.

I would greatly appreciate your advice how to make it look planned not an after-thought. Thanks!

Picture of the front yard. Middle bush soon will be gone and I will plant hydrangea couple feet further from the house.

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Could you use different edgers to make different small beds to plant different plants?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:57PM
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Thank you for the picture! I think I would prefer something symmetrical for the front yard. This is a very rough drawing of my vision. I plan to plant a tall upright hydrangea in the circular flower bed to fill in the space between windows. Can't see on photo but we have a tree on front yard, it will get a circular border mimicking one for hydrangea. I am in loss what kind of stone to use that will look good next to white edgers I bought already. I would also appreciate ideas for planting. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:16PM
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Much of the time that edging is used it detracts, not adds, to the bed. Especially when it sticks up above the grade and looks thin (as if it's easily broken or knocked out of place)]. It can demand attention that would be better placed on the plants in the bed. If it's vertical (sticking up), it's also generally purposeless. Much better is a brick or paver mowing strip set flush with the grade. It serves the purpose of eliminating some trimming and looks better. Should be 8" wide or so to look good.

I think your bed shape is too complex for this small bed. Seems that you'd want the central, largest plant to be well in the bed, not at its edge ready to jump out.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:44AM
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Great suggestion, Yardvaark! Placing circular bed well inside the bed will definitely make mowing easier. Extra points from my husband.
The reason why I need a raised (even slightly) border is our weather. When it rains, it is really pouring and washes mulch from beds even with rubber black edging. Plus slightly elevated beds drain much better. We have clay 1 foot from the surface. And I do not mean clay soil but literally clay. If I ever start pottery hobby I can just dig on back yard.
You gave me an idea for edging on back yard though. I was looking for something to separate lawn from garden which I will fill with rock between beds. I understand advantage of wide edgers, but can I put them slightly above the ground level? It will not interfere with mowing and hold rock in place better. Plus they will eventually sink a little.
Thank you for inspiration!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 11:33AM
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Though I'm not exactly sure what, you're welcome for whatever inspiration I gave you!

I tend to look at mulch as temporary. It's a blanket that covers the soil until something permanent can be established. One of its potential problems is washing. If instead, one can use groundcover, it eliminates washing and the need for repeat mulching, and it looks better, too so long as one picked a good groundcover.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:33PM
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I am going to use wide edgers you siggested someplace else to separate lawn and rocks. I am always working on several projects. It's driving my husband crazy. But if you are taking sod from one place to make a flower bed, why not to use it to fix a crater left after removed tree? Seems logical to me. :)
I am reluctant to use groundcover on front yard. I tried few on back yard and was not too happy with any of them so far. Any suggestions on groundcover? I am in zone 5a - cold winters and hot humid summers.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 11:34AM
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"I am reluctant to use groundcover on front yard. I tried few on back yard and was not too happy with any of them so far." What was your issue with them? Usually, if one type of plant doesn't perform well, one moves on to something else until one finds a type that performs well. The standard groundcovers (pachysandra, vinca minor, english ivy, ajuga, etc.) got that job because they perform well in most conditions. However, there are always plenty of constraints and personal considerations. What perennials/groundcovers grow well in your locale? (Look in neighbor's yards.) Also, keep in mind that no newly installed plants can be ignored and expected to perform well. They need care while they're still in the "incubator."

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 5:06PM
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My reluctance is not because they perform poorly, actually quite opposite. Ajuga is very invasive, but it is a beautiful and hardy plant, so I tolerate it along the north side of the house which it shares with vinca minor. I have couple groundcover plants that will be suitable on south-east (front) side of the house, but they are bright yellow and I would like to stay with pink/purple/blue colors for flowers.
Your post inspired me (again :) to give a fresh look at groundcovers. Before this venture with planting hydrangea and widening existing bed I was not even considering them, but now I will have room. I already picked few that are supposed to do well in zone 5, but now I need to do more research and find out how they perform in real life. Nursery descriptions and pictures are so enticing...
Starburst Ice plant flowers through summer to fall.
October Daphne has beautiful bluish foliage.
Do you have any experience with them?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:54PM
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I can't speak to those plants for your zone. Additional possibilities might be perennial Dianthus, Arabis, Turkish veronica, creeping thyme, or 'Blue rug' juniper. A trip to the largest local garden center will let you know what's available that might work for you.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 10:12AM
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Thank you for ideas, Yardvaark! I will check them out.
Nurseries here carry a lot of stuff, not always the most suitable for our climate though. I think they make the most profits from impulse buyers, who do not do any research and just go to garden centers and buy whatever they like. Hostas go to the south bed, sun-loving plants under the tree. And next year they go out and buy some more. Enough ranting. I better start checking plants you suggested. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 10:58AM
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