How to Install New Garden Edgings

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Installing a new edging instantly tidies up the periphery of a border and makes you feel good about your garden. Some edging designs have a rigid, formal appearance, while others are more relaxed and informal.

Wooden edgings
Wooden border and lawn edgings have a lovely, natural appearance and are especially useful for brightening informal areas. They can be quickly and easily constructed from either ordinary logs or longer and more elegant log rolls.

Log edgings: These are ideal for edging gravel paths, grass paths and informal borders in woodland gardens. They are easily installed; use a spade to form a uniform depression one-third the thickness of the log. Preferably, use logs about 1.5m (5ft) long; if less than this, and when relatively thin, they are easily dislodged.

In woodland gardens, these edgings are ideal for combining with log steps.
Log rolls: These can be used to create edgings alongside borders and where the soil is slightly higher than the level of the path. They are ideal for edging paths which have a serpentine nature.

Log rolls are formed of 1m (3ft) long rolls of logs, 7.5-10cm (3-4in) thick and cut lengthways. They are usually secured together by two pieces of strong but pliable wire and are available in several different heights, including 15cm (6in), 23cm (9in) and 30cm (12in).

To install log rolls as edgings, use a spade to cut a narrow trench to a depth of about one-third of the roll's height. Unfurl the log roll and slot it in place; then, firm soil around its base.

Timber edgings: These are constructed of timbers of varying thicknesses; those to form an edging between a gravel drive and a flowerbed would need to be about 10cm (4in) wide and 5cm (2in) thick. Additionally, they would need to be thoroughly treated with a preservative.

Unlike log-rolls, these edgings are not suitable for borders with meandering edges. Timber edgings are relatively quick to install, as they do not need to be cemented into position. Instead, secure them with stout wooden pegs banged into the soil.

Plastic edgings
Plastic edgings are not always the most elegant of garden embellishments, although increasingly they can be found in a variety of different styles and colors. The most popular type of plastic edging is corrugated for maximum strength and comes in green. It is available in several depths (usually 15-20cm) (6-8in) and in rolls holding a strip about 7.5m (25ft) long. It is installed by using a spade to form a slit alongside a border, then inserting the strip to about one-third of its depth. However, because the edging is corrugated it is difficult to produce a formal, straight edge. It is therefore best reserved for informal areas.

Concrete edgings
For a long-life edging, concrete has few rivals, especially alongside gravel drives where there is always the risk of car wheels trespassing on a border. Concrete edging strips, 90cm (3ft) long, 15cm (6in) deep and about 5cm (2in) thick, are readily available and can be quickly cemented into position. Position this edging so that its top is 25-36mm above the gravel's surface, with the rest cemented into the ground.

Edging tiles
These are increasingly popular as they offer the chance to create a personalized and distinctive garden. Edging tiles take longer to install than most edgings, and for long-term stability they need a concrete base and cementing into position. Nevertheless, an afternoon's work is rewarded by a neat edging.

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Author: John Schofield
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