Pictures of garden edges ?

patreesh(5)September 19, 2010

I'm thinking of edging my garden beds with river rock and landscape fabric but haven't been able to find many pictures to inspire me. I'd love to see pictures of all styles of garden edging (as well as your gardens)!

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aquawise(zone 4 Utah)

I used old brick.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gallery

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 10:35AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

landscape fabric is useless.. as most weed seeds are airborne ...

so one minute after all that hard work.. seeds will be settling on top of the fabric...

waste of money.. waste of time... IMHO ...

what size rocks are you thinking about??


    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 11:34AM
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Ken - I want to use rock edging along large bed w/arbor and bed with dahlias. As far as size of rock - my original thought was river stone but maybe it needs something larger? My main purpose for using the fabric would be to stop grass from encroaching on beds. The third picture (with ornamental grass) is a long narrow bed ( behind the arbor) that has grasses and butterfly bushes) Open to suggestions as far as other beds. Probably something simple and not too noticeable.

Aquawise thank you - loved the pictures, especially the birds/birdhouses!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 1:29PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

awe man.. you got the knack..

just get rid of all the grass ... add mulch paths ... grow flowers ...

but never.. ever.. use plastic ... or plastic substitute ....

buy a straight shovel.. sharpen it.. and make little furrows around the beds... about 4 inches deep on the grass side [thats about how deep grass roots go] ... sloping up to the bed ...

last pic.. you are 90% of the way there ... just need that new shovel..

see link ... this 'type' ... nothing special about the linked one .... hit the bigboxstore .... now that you know what it looks like ...

and trust me.. think tomato slicing... dull knife [shovel] ... failure.. sharpen your shovel.. and it will slice thru the soil

seems like there was a post earlier in the summer on the same topic ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 5:10PM
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debgrow(Z5 Chicago)

I'm with Ken...natural edging is the best, as far as I'm concerned. Cut the edges at an angle with a sharp shovel. The grass won't encroach, you won't have that ugly landscape fabric which somehow always shows through, and does let weeds in anyway, and you'll save yourself a lot of money and hard you have any idea how much stone you would need to edge those beds you have? And, the grass would just grow between the stones anyway.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 5:42PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I love your painted trellises!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 7:16PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

as usual, i also am on ken's have done such a nice job; rocks would look kitschy/clunky.shredded leaves would make nice finished look on many of your edges. also, like w/ your hydrangea island, hakonechloa or liriope or carex would all make nice fountainy edging plants. also lamb's ears and perennial geranium. look back a few pages -to that thread "why doesn't anyone share photos of their gardens?" for some good examples.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 7:21PM
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My vote is to learn how to do a deep spaded edge as Ken et al recommend. You or the designated lawn mower will despise the upkeep around rocks. by the time you mow then weed wack you'll have spent more time than edging with a spade.

Rocks will detract from you lovely gardens; it will be a rock garden the eye sees, not a perennial bed.

Deep spading, then mulching to the edge can last at least three to four weeks. And if you don't let the weeds get ahead of you, it can be done in half the time as the first seasonal hair cut.

I wonder if you would use natural, no dye mulch....that too will complement your garden.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 7:53PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

I agree that the deep spaded edge looks very nice and that the landscape fabric will not keep the grass out. Another option which I know will draw boos and hisses is plastic edging. If you use good quality professional edging and it is properly installed it gives a neat clean edge and keeps the grass out. If properly installed you don't really see the edging, just a nice crisp finish to your beds. b

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 10:06PM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

Patreesh, oh my what lovely gardens!!! You definatly have an eye for a sucessful garden.

I recently got river rock from a friend to line my beds with. I havent set it up yet but i will sometime before the end of september. My best friend did hers that way and its really nice looking.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 7:46PM
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Another vote for the trenched edge combined with natural looking mulch. Your beds will be even more gorgeous.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 8:58PM
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I too prefer natural edging and spading. I love the look of rocks around a garden. Beat up old bricks look great too. :)
An idea for smaller beds: plates. If you have some pretty plates that have no other use, plant them 1/3 to 1/2 in the soil around your flowers, decorated side out.

May I interject my teeny-tiny opinion about landscape fabric?
It is indeed a waste of money and labor if you're just going to put soil on top of it. It's like making a nursery for all those little seeds blowing in on the wind, making the soil nice and warm...
I've used it for 2 other purposes where it's doing a fine job.
In my rock garden- After preparing the bed I laid the fabric and put that ugly black edging in to keep it in place. I put the plants through small holes in the fabric, then arranged rocks of various size around them. Then I poured rose quartz stones around that. Can't see the black fabric, and no weeds.
I also used it under the pavers on my patio extension. It keeps weeds from growing between the pavers.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 11:19PM
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I forgot to add to my previous post: patreesh, your gardens are stunning!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 11:22PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I was unable to keep up the spaded trench edge so we installed the heavy duty professional grade black plastic. I mostly can't see it but I wish I could have avoided it.

I have heavy grade landscape fabric under a gravel patio and it grows weeds because as the years go by it degrades even though it has three or four inches of gravel on top. The seeds grow right in the gravel too but I've pulled out weeds with landscape fabric clinging to their roots....

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 12:03AM
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Thanks all for your suggestions and opinions. How about a compromise? If I skip the rocks, how about I do the trench and reinforce it with edging (professionally installed)?

Blooming in zone 5, where did you get the rose quartz? Bet it looks beautiful- would love to see pictures. I would love to see pictures of everyone's gardens!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 7:28AM
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I got the rose quartz at our local garden center Country Max. It was $4.99 for a 50 pound bag.
Here are links to a few photos of the rock garden-in-progress.

I can't find a picture of after the rose quartz went down. I'll try to add one tomorrow. ~JoAnn :)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:23PM
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I just hate it when someone asks for advice about their garden and they get all kinds of unrelated comments and critizisms. But....I'm going to do it this time. Patreesh, if you are going to have edging permanently installed please take a look at your beds and see if you can't combine some of them. In the last photo you have several beds with paths between them. Unless you just love to mow, consider combining those beds into one. I think it will look terrific and the maintainence will be much less. What do you think?

On another issue, I love your pictures because they look so natural. With the pile of weeds and the unfilled birdbaths I felt your gardens looked just like mine, and like many of our gardens look most of the time. Some photos on GW are just so perfect I can't relate. ;-)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:35PM
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Wow... I didn't notice any pile of weeds or unfilled birdbaths, I only saw really beautiful gardens.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 2:07AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I agree on the straight edge notion. In fact I see that you already have an edging iron leaning up against your verandah. Do you also have edging shears to keep the grass back once youve cut the verticals? I would avoid the fabric as grass will still grow in/on it in the end and I'd also agree that rocks would look fussy and not in keeping with your lovely cottagey style beds. Plus, as someone else said, mowing a rock edging would be a nightmare. And finally I also think that peaceofmind's idea of combining some of the beds is a good one to reduce maintenance and make it more of a sweep of garden.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 5:41AM
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Okay, you've won me over - I'll go with the straight edge. I need someone to show me the correct way to do it. Seems I'm always digging out tons more sod and it's a daunting task - one that's hard for me to keep up with because I work full-time and take care of my mom. I've often thought about combining the "arbor" bed with the "dahlia" bed (which is to the right of the arbor garden), serviceberry tree and hydrangeas )(which are to the left of the arbor garden, to form a U-shape but didn't know if that would be too much. My thoughts, when I win the lottery or marry a carpenter, are to add a swing between the hydrangeas and serviceberry and, possibly, to replace the arbor with a decorative garden shed - still having climbing roses and clematis growing around it..... I need a place to store my stuff and this might be the ticket. Also might place the arbor behind the swing? If the beds were connected, would you also add more walkways? As always - happy to hear your ideas. (I supposed this should be a separate thread?) One more thing, can anyone direct me to a web site that has reasonably priced sheds or plans for same? Anyone tackled this one before? Again, thanks you all so much for your thoughts.


kms - I think (hope!) peaceofmind was referring to the wheelbarrow full of stuff - the birdbaths are always filled with water so maybe she meant they weren't filled with birds!!!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 7:00AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

at the link ... is what most of us are talking about ...

as i said.. the trick is a straight shovel ... sharpened ...

the intent is to have the trench to the depth of the grass roots ... which is about 4 to 6 inches ... and then rising to the bed ...

since the soil is removed to root depth.. and it becomes dry.. and is exposed to the light of day .... the grass cant send the grass runners as easy ...

and the edge is easily trimmed by hand.. or with a weedwhip ... at a 45 degree angle ...

IMHO ... its the most natural.. cheapest.. and easiest edging to do .. BUT FOR the first time.. which takes a bit of work ... maintenance is much easier ...

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:40AM
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I use rock around my beds. But then, my house is built of native rock, and it looks like a natural way to go. I think rock would look out of place with your house and setting, your beautiful gardens look wonderful with the clean straight edge.

I don't have any trouble mowing with the rock edge, I have a good weedwhacker that takes care of the edges nicely for me. I always do that first, then mow.

In my experience landscape fabric is more of a pain in the neck than it is worth. I started out putting it down in a few places, and then a couple of years later ripped it out in disgust because there were more weeds on top of it than ever, I couldn't cultivate or plant with a whole lot of trouble, and it always showed in places no matter what. I do use flexible vinyl landscape edging in places to keep lawn and plants, lawn and gravel seperated.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:40AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I used to do the trench edging but it became too much work. In the front garden I replaced the trench with paver brick edging - with an all-important aluminium barrier between the bricks and the grass. Where two beds were separated by a grass path I sometimes replaced the grass with a pinebarK path, which eliminates the edging issue altogether! (patreesh - I agree with the comments above that it would make a lot of sense from both maintenance and visual appeal points of view to combine some of your separate beds into fewer, larger ones. If you do that, some of the grass paths can be replaced with mulch paths that are within the bed, eliminating both the need to mow them and to edge them...) In the backyard woodland garden I put pinebark paths between the lawn and the garden under the trees. The grass (which is weaker because it is in shade...) is not inclined to cross the paths. It is easy to mow and the only maintenance required on the edge is in spring to use an edging spade to cut straight down along the intersection of grass and path, followed by a raking of the path, which loosens and lifts to the surface any encroaching roots. Then you just pick the roots up and discard to the compost heap. My backyard lawn is too 'formal' for many people's tastes but you could use the same approach with a more informal shaped space.

Some pictures...

This is from last year in May in the front. The narrow outer bed was new and just planted - it's filled in a lot since then. The brick edging nicely defines both the beds and the grass path between them. On the left you can see the ends of the bark path that runs behind a small bed between the main front bed and the driveway border which connects to the narrow front bed in an extended loose/open C shape:

A view down the path from the north end in May this year:

From the backyard, showing the paths on the outside of the garden areas so they form a barrier between the grass and the garden.

There is a network of paths through the garden areas under the trees. Those paths are bark, so the entire area is one continuous garden with a path network running through it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:11PM
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Patreesh, here's a photo of a portion of my rock garden with the pink rose quarts rocks.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 6:12PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I use a trench and bricks. If you can afford really big stones, piled at least two high, in types native to your area it can knock your socks off. It makes the beds looked raised and the pathways sunken. Bricks can be pretty too. But I'm with the majority- trenching would look prettiest in your cottage garden.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 6:38PM
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Ken, thanks for the link - that's one fine looking edge and thanks for the explanation. You don't perchance live down the street from me do you? I'll supply the sharpened shovel! Maybe we can make like the olden days of barn raisings, except everyone will go from one garden to the next - you first!

Mosswitch - could you post a couple of pictures? I'd enjoy seeing the border I can't have!

WoodyOak- those paths look great - gives me something to shoot for. How many years has it taken you to accomplish all of that? Really, really lovely gardens.

JoAnn- Your rock garden is beautiful and the rose quartz sets it off perfectly. I've never seen that done along stairs before - wonderful idea.

No kidding - this is a terrific site - you're a bunch of mighty talented people and I've gotten great ideas from each of you. Thanks very, very much.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:18PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

patreesh - We moved here in the fall of 1999 and started the garden the next spring. I switched from a trench edge to the brick edge in 2007. It took me all summer to do the bricks but it's saved me tons of work! The only drawback of the brick edging is the metal grass barrier makes it more work if you want to change the shape of a bed. When I added the narrow bed in front of the main front lawn bed in 2009, it was a bit of a PITA to dig up the metal grass barrier, disconnect it and reconnect it to new pieces lining the new bed. But it wasn't too difficult, just fiddly... :-) It's best to wait until you're pretty sure the beds are in a form you can live with awhile before you do an edge like that. I thought I was ready, but as soon as I finished the bricks, I knew I needed a new bed and changes to what I had just finished! C'est la vie...

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:40PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I tried keeping up with a trench edge too and even in my small garden, I quickly gave it up. I have mostly part sun, so the grass is fairly slow to creep back into the beds. I just pull anything that is creeping into the bed, when I'm weeding at this point. I also have an area where moss is growing along the edge of a shrub bed and that is keeping the grass from creeping in. I've used rock edging on one raised bed, but it is bordered with mulch so there is no mowing around the rocks.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:50PM
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Here are pictures of two of my beds. They are from last year. This year I prepared and edged the hosta bed like usual, but I put a border of mulch very thick around it. I mean it was 10 inches wide and probably 3 inches thick. I go to our Lowes and find the marked down bags with holes in them. It worked very well for me and I thought it gave them a finished look. As for the stone-lined bed, my DH edged out a small ditch in front and mulched it with 3 inches of mulch. As you can see last year we had some invasion of weeds but the thicker mulch seemed to do the trick. Sorry I don't have pictures from this year, but this seemed to work for me. I agree with the rest about NO LANDSCAPING FABRIC!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:57PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Once the verticals have been cut the grass edge can be maintained with edging shears or an electric edge trimmer. They don't need constant recutting. Maybe once or twice a year. (Although, I have to say this is only from my experience of UK lawns which tend to be dense and use quite fine grasses.)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 12:54PM
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