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How To Create A Garden Border

There seems to be as many ideas on how to create a garden border as there are gardens to border. They may be simple or fancy, organic or inorganic. For the purposes of this article, however, we will talk mainly about methods that anyone can use and are either free or inexpensive.

Aside from simply giving you a border, some methods are also good at backing a raised garden while others are more decorative. What you’re about to read might just inspire you with your own unique idea. If so, we hope you will find time to share it with us.

A quick tip to keep in mind: if one of your hopes is to use the border to keep out grasses or other invasive gardenplants, it should extend a minimum of two inches into the ground.

How To Garden Border: The List

  • Like simplicity? Try the ‘non-border’ approach. Start by digging a trench at least six inches deep all along your intended garden. Use the loose soil to build up a mound for planting before covering it with mulch. You’ll need to re-edge a couple of times a year, depending on your environment, removing any dirt that rain and other weather conditions have allowed to settle in.
  • Bender board, available from Home Depot and made from post consumer waste, is an economic and beautiful way to let your garden stand out. Sold in pliable 3.5 in. strips, you just extend them along the edges and tap in. It won’t decay of splinter and is super easy to install.
  • Using things you find discarded is popular with many planning a garden border. Railroad cross ties are popular and are often left discarded along tracks. You can also collect stones from construction sites where they have been left behind by builders or search for them along creek beds and, especially in New England, from abandoned farmlands where they were stacked to mark property lines in centuries past. You have to trim out grasses that grow up throw the rocks periodically.
  • Brick borders can be effective and let you use your creative sense. Bricks can be laid flat, stood tall or used in a combination of both for effect. You can buy bricks or, if you’re lucky, you may find them left behind after construction or demolition. In my neighborhood, z-shaped bricks have been used for paving and, when available, offer many options, such as interlocking, for making an attractive border.
  • In how to garden border, some have used completely unexpected material like old rain gutters. Paul Farbers’ book, Tire Recycling Is Fun describes using them by cutting out the sidewalls and, then, cutting across the thread.
  • Metal edging is great, if you have a little budget to spend, because it’s so pliable and can be painted to get any effect that enhances the look of your garden. You tap it in with a hammer, and it lasts forever. Metal edging is available at many familiar places, like Amazon and Sears.
  • An organic, popular method is to use 2X4 pieces of lumber. The best choice is pressure-treated pine, but redwood, cypress and cedar also work well.

These ideas should help you get started on one of them or help you come up with something all your own. (Remember the fellow who took his old rain gutters, turned them upside down and hammered the edges into the ground to make a border.) Figuring out how to garden border should not require much, if any, investment in cash. All you need is an eagerness to help things grow and a nicely designed place for it to happen.

Now check out our latest: How To Build A Garden Fountain.

David Stone

Find all my books on my Amazon Author Page

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