Garden Edging: Creating a Natural Border for Your Vegetable Garden

What You'll Need
Lawn edging (material of your choice)
Precast concrete pavers
Tape measure
Spade or edger
Spray paint
Trowel and mallet

Adding garden edging is not only an appealing way to clean up a messy looking garden or flower bed, but is a practical way to keep your garden mulch in and the grass out. Without a solid barrier, mulch can make its way into your yard and be flung around by the lawn mower (and potentially damage your mower). Likewise, grass will start to seed itself in your garden and you’ll be constantly pulling grass blades out.

Step 1: Choosing and Planning

Start by choosing your edging material. Garden edging can be made from wood, brick, plastic or any number of materials that can act as a barrier. For this tutorial, we are using plastic edging with precast concrete pavers as a mower strip.

Start by defining your border. Use something temporary, like wooden boards or, for curved edging, lay down a garden hose where you want it. Once you are sure of where you want your edging, spray paint the exact area.

Step 2: Determine Edging Width

To determine the width of your edging, lay your concrete pavers down directly over the spray paint (this will also tell you if you have enough). Plunge a spade or anything with a sharp edge a few inches down the sides of the pavers, so that when you remove the pavers you know how wide they should be.

Step 3: Digging Your Trench

Check the height of your pavers. Whatever the height is, know that about ½ inch will be sitting above ground, but about 2 inches of sand will be under it, so dig your trench to 1 ½ inches deeper than the height of your pavers.

Remove your pavers one at a time, using a trowel to dig. It may be easiest to angle your trowel and pound the end with a mallet, using it like a hammer and chisel.

Step 4: Lay Mower Strip

Fill your trench with 2 inches of sand, and tamp it down. Lay your mower strip, checking the level every few pieces. If pieces are too high or two low, you can add sand underneath or tamp the paver down with the mallet.

Step 5: Preparing a New Garden

This next step is for new gardens. You’ll need to kill the grass in your bed. You can do this quickly by digging it up with a shovel (which is more work) or by laying down several layers of newspaper, spraying with water, and covering with a light layer of mulch. This will suffocate the grass and kill it over time.

Step 6: Insert Edging

Insert your edging. For plastic edging, you simply pound each segment in with a mallet, making sure the ends interlock. Other types of edging will have their own instructions for installation, but remember that they may make it harder to maintain the edging.

Be sure your edging is right up against the inside edge of your mowing strip. Leave it at whatever height you desire for your garden.

That’s all you need for your edging. As a bonus step, consider choosing a mulch color identical to your edging to conceal it, or planting annuals along the edge to mask it.