Cutting edges: Put the finishing touch on your garden with these edging ideas

Whether it’s edgy or traditional, a neat garden edging choice can add the finishing touch to your yard. Here are 10 cutting edge ideas.

Garden edging can not only add visual appeal to a garden, it has a practical purpose too. It provides a barrier that can help keep garden mulch from straying onto the lawn or paths, and also provides protection for plants from lawn edging tools and mowers.

Edging is usually made from a hard material, such as stone, metal, treated wood or hardwood, cement or bricks.

Here are 10 ideas for DIY and professionally installed garden edging:

1. Continuous concrete edging

This is a concrete barrier usually laid by machine, owned by a contractor or hired from an equipment supply company. The edging is “piped” along the outside of the garden or along the side of a path, typically in a pre-prepared narrow, shallow trench. The concrete can be coloured with pigment, or painted after installation, and can also be stamped with a pattern.

Concrete garden ending. Image: Topseller (Shutterstock)
Concrete garden ending. Image: Topseller (Shutterstock)

2. Pavers

A neat, straight edge can be achieved by lying rectangular pavers end-to-end along a narrow, shallow trench dug around the boundary of the garden. The edging can be laid in concrete or paving sand, depending on the desired outcome. Pavers can also be pushed vertically or diagonally into the ground, to create a higher barrier and show off more of the paver.

Pavers used as garden edging in a modern garden setting. Image: Wilm Ihlenfeld (Shutterstock)
Pavers used as garden edging in a modern garden setting. Image: Wilm Ihlenfeld (Shutterstock)

3. Bricks

Housing bricks can also be used as a garden edge, either laid end-to-end, diagonally or side-by-side so they are flush with the garden and lawn; or laid so that part of the brick is poking above ground level.

Bricks used as garden edging. Image: Eag1eEyes (Shutterstock)
Bricks used as garden edging. Image: Eag1eEyes (Shutterstock)

4. Metal edging

Metal strip edging is available in many finishes, including shiny stainless steel, brushed aluminum, copper and rusted steel. It typically is used to create a thin, neat edge.

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5. Plastic strip

A wide range of plastic strip or barrier edging is available at hardware stores and nurseries. It may be available in many colours, but is more commonly black, dark green or grey. Generally, plastic strip edging is usually cheaper than other types of edging, and is sold by the metre.

Plastic garden edging. Image: Andrii Chagovets (Shutterstock)
Plastic garden edging. Image: Andrii Chagovets (Shutterstock)

6. Wood

Treated wood or hardwood can be used as edging. Planks or small logs are laid flat against the ground in some cases. Smaller pieces can also be used as a decorative edging, set vertically into the ground around a garden bed.

Garden edging made of treated sleepers.
Image: Sanddebeautheil (Shutterstock)

7. Gravel or pebbles

A small, narrow trench dug around a garden bed can be filled with gravel, which can serve as garden edging. These rocks can be set in place with paving sand or concrete, for extra resilience. However, the small rocks could become dislodged and become a hazard if a mower or motorised edge trimmer was to pass over the top of them.

Rocks used as garden edging. Image: Hrui (Shutterstock)
Rocks used as garden edging. Image: Hrui (Shutterstock)

8. Gabion basket

These are mesh baskets filled with rocks, usually used in large sizes as retaining walls. However, smaller versions can also serve as garden edging. The benefit of gabion baskets is that – unlike a solid barrier such as concrete – water can pass freely through it and flow through to adjacent lawn areas.

A gabion garden edge, from Whites Group. Image: whitesgroup.com.au
Gabions – cages filled with rocks – used as garden edging, from Whites Group. Image: whitesgroup.com.au

9. Decorative

Why settle for a traditional style of garden edging when there is a range of decorative edging products on the market? These include laser cut steel, pre-formed concrete, wood panels or extruded plastic edging, which come in a wide range of designs.

 

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10. Recycled

Why not get creative with recycled materials and experiment with different types of edging looks? Not only can this create a unique looking garden edge, it can also potentially cut the cost. Materials that could be used include timber offcuts, broken terracotta pots, metal guttering, construction offcuts, plastic pipes – anything that’s hardy enough to take a few knocks from the edge of a mower, and won’t break down in a hurry. Be careful, however, to use safe, non-toxic materials if you are planning on growing edible plants in your garden bed. For example, there has been doubt cast about the safety of using old tyres in gardens by some experts. Sustainable Gardening Australia also recommends using glass bottles, however, care must be taken in high traffic areas or where hardy mowing is needed.

What are the options to finance a garden makeover?

How the job is financed may depend on how much it costs. There are several options available for the home renovator to consider, including:

  • Personal loan: Depending on your personal circumstances and the cost of the job, you may be able to consider using a personal loan to fund the work. This could be a secured loan, or an unsecured loan. It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that interest rates are generally higher for personal loans than for home loans, and it’s a good idea to read the lender’s terms and conditions first. Compare personal loans with Canstar. 
  • Credit card: It may also be possible, depending on the cost and your ability to repay the debt quickly, to pay for the job on a credit card. There could be some fringe benefits for doing so, such as extra insurance cover in some cases (read the card’s Product Disclosure Statement to find out the conditions of the cover). Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are typically much higher than home or personal loans, and interest can quickly accumulate on large balances, so it is a good idea to weigh up your options and consider them carefully. If you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off the card’s balance in full each month, it may be worth re-considering whether a credit card is the right option for you. Compare credit cards with Canstar

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Here are some other ideas that could inspire your garden edging choice:

 

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