Ideas for Borders & Lawn Edging

By David Schwab

One of the easiest and most eye-catching ways to enhance your lawn and garden is to create decorative borders around flower beds and along walkways through the technique of formal edging. It can be as simple as cutting a straight edge between garden beds and the grass, or creating an elaborate design using decorative hardscape materials.

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Lawn edging with a stone border

The Natural Way to Create a Border

Portrait of a Man Sitting in His Garden
credit: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
young man with spade

It is fairly easy to create a natural border for your garden beds: Just cut out a space between the bed and the grass. The best tool to use for this is a flat-edge garden spade, which can create a clean cut between the existing grass and the garden bed. These can be found at any home and garden store or local nursery. They are relatively inexpensive, but you will find that they are worth their weight in gold when it comes to creating borders. If you are starting a border from scratch, lay out your border with a string, then follow along with your spade, cutting deep into the existing grass or ground. This will leave a crisp line that designates your garden border. Once a natural garden border is created, it is very easy to maintain by using your spade to re-cut any grass or weeds that have grown in. You can also use a manual or powered edger to trim the borders as well.

Creating a Border with Plastic

Senior couple walking in Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, elevated view
credit: Karl Weatherly/Digital Vision/Getty Images
landscape that uses plastic for making borders

Once you have your border, many plastic edging products can help maintain its shape by keeping grass from spreading back in. They are flexible in nature and can be bent into shape and then hammered into place. When properly installed, they are hardly noticed and will maintain a natural look to your garden beds. For example, edgers are available that are actually held in place by the grass roots below growing through it. Many are made with a high-density plastic that are durable and built to last.

Using Brick and Stone

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stone pavers

To create a more formal look for your garden or walkway, borders made of stone or brick pavers have become a very popular choice. There are a number of styles and shapes. These products are extremely durable, and once properly set into place, they will last for years. The only maintenance will be to periodically remove any grass or weeds that have grown over the border edge. Since the paver acts as a solid barrier between the grass and garden bed, applying a grass and weed killer on a regular basis will keep the border looking orderly and well groomed.