There are plenty of garden edging ideas out there for every garden type. But how should you use garden edging, and which option is right for your garden? The type of edging you use can have a big impact on the overall look and feel in your garden. It can help you to establish an overall theme and atmosphere for your outside space.
In this article, we will discuss some of the best garden edging ideas for a number of different garden types or styles. These ideas should inspire you and help you find the perfect garden edging ideas for you.
Where to Use Garden Edging
Before we explore the various garden edging ideas you could consider, let’s take a moment to think about where garden edging is used, and why.
Garden edging might be used:
- On the edges of beds and borders.
- On the fringes of a lawn.
- Up against a patio, or the side of your property.
Though largely ornamental, garden edging may also serve a practical purpose. It might prevent soil from spreading out from beds or growing areas. It might help with drainage or water retention. It might add thermal mass to keep an area frost-free. It might help to designate areas that are to be walked on and areas that are not. You might even use higher garden edging as seating in certain situations.
When choosing edging for your garden, be sure to consider not only aesthetics, but also any other functions that it should serve. Think carefully about why, how and where it is to be used. It is important to remember that the edging should be practical as well as looking good. Think about whether the edging will work when you are mowing a lawn, or tending a vegetable patch. Will it be helpful, or will it somehow get in the way? Good garden edging is edging that looks great and ties the theme of the garden together. It should work well with all the other elements in the garden. But at the end of the day, it should always be more about function than form.
Rustic, Natural Garden Edging Ideas
A rustic garden should be all about basic, natural natural materials. Edging in this sort of garden should blend in harmoniously with the plant life and the natural environment. Neatness and straight lines are less important than creating a wholesome, natural and eco-conscious feel. If this blends with your idea of the perfect garden, here are some garden edging ideas you might like to consider:
Living Plant Garden Edging
Lavender edging works well for a rustic, natural look.
One idea that works very well in a relaxed and rustic garden is to create an edging effect for paths, lawns, beds or borders using living plants. Plants that can work well for garden edging include:
- thyme (or other perennial Mediterranean herbs)
- step-over apple trees or other fruit trees/ shrubs
- box, or other low-level evergreen hedging.
Of course, there are plenty of other plants that can help to define the edges of different zones in your garden. In a rustic garden, remember, lines should be fluid and divisions should be blurred and relaxed.
Wooden Hurdle Edging
Low, hurdle style garden edging ideas can work well in a rustic garden. Especially effective are short hurdle fences made using natural branches from the garden itself. These can be pretty and practical. For example, they can be used to protect the edges of your vegetable plot. Hazel wood is one common wood used to make edging of this type. But you can potentially use pruned branches from almost any tree already growing in your garden.
Woven Wicker Edging
Willow and other wood whips can also be used to make a short woven fence that can work well as bed edging. Woven wicker can be more delicate than hurdle fencing, and yet is still natural and rustic enough to work well in a garden of this sort. Again, woven willow can work well to demarcate different growing areas for fruits and vegetables in your garden.
Logs laid simply on the ground can be perfectly sufficient for garden edging.
If you have wood on your land, or can easily source logs nearby, these can also make great garden edging. The simplest way to use them is simply to lay them flat along the edge of a path, bed or border. But you can also make higher garden edging using log sections placed upright in the ground and cut to various heights.
Another way to use logs is to cut them into short lengths and place them perpendicular to the edge you want to mark. Cordwood edging can be another beautiful, rustic garden edging idea to consider. Cordwood walls or fences can be low to the ground, or a little higher to create a more striking border.
Rustic Reclaimed Wood Edging
Rustic wooden edging. by M.Hourn CC BY-SA 4.0
You can also make your own low fence garden edging using reclaimed wood. From wood pallets to old furniture, from old pieces of constructional timber, to old railroad timbers or telegraph poles – there are plenty of old pieces of wood that could be used.
Natural Rock or Stone Edging
Simple and rustic stone edging for a hugelkultur bed
Natural rock and stone also work very well for garden edging ideas in a rustic, natural garden. You can simply place a line of rocks or stones from your garden along the edge of a path, growing area or lawn. But you can also consider building a small dry-stone wall as rustic garden edging. Alternatively, you can create trench-style edging, and fill the trench with natural river rocks, various types of stone, or a beautiful selection of pebbles of various sizes.
Clay/Cob/Adobe Garden Edging
Either coating a low rock wall, on its own, or formed into a cob or adobe with straw, clay is another wonderful material. Clay fits in well with a rustic and natural theme, and clay, cob and adobe are perfect for creating the organic shapes and curves that are often found in the edging in this type of garden.
Slate Garden Edging
Roofing slates placed on edge can create garden edging for a bed or border. Alternatively, trench garden edging can be filled with smaller pieces of natural slate. Curving and sinuous edges lined with slate or with a slate-filled trench can add to a rustic and natural garden feel.
Shells & Other Found Objects Edging
A trench type garden edging could also be filled with shells, driftwood, pine cones or other found objects to create a beautiful rustic vibe. Anything found in nature can find a place in a rustic style garden.
Traditional, Homely Bed Edging
If you have, or would like a more traditional and homely feeling garden, you will generally have more neat and orderly beds and borders, paths, paving and lawns. The rough and ready wildness of the natural world will be somewhat curtailed, bringing peace and order to your outside space. Some of the ideas mentioned above might work well for this kind of garden too. But here are some more garden edging ideas that you might want to consider:
Mini Picket Fence Bed Edging
Perhaps the quintessential garden edging for a traditional garden, a mini picket fence can certainly help to create a homely and traditional feel. Either natural wood, or painted white, this is a classic and quaint choice for garden edging. It will work rather well with traditional, cottage garden planting schemes, for example.
Ornate Metal Fence Bed Edging
A mini wrought iron fence could be another way to bring a little tradition into your garden. This garden edging idea also works well with traditional flower garden planting schemes. Delicate, yet solid, this is a good option to delineate the line between your borders and paths or lawns.
Rope Fence Garden Edging
You could bring a sense of the gymkhana, the seaside or the yacht to your garden with a low rope line strung around the edges of growing areas or along the sides of a path or patio. For a maritime feel, you could string shells, buoys or sea glass strands from this rope, to make it into a feature that really ties the garden together.
Plant Pot Garden Edging
Another quaint and traditional-looking way to edge your beds and borders is with plant pots. You could choose to lay the terracotta plant pots on their edge for a continuous garden edging, or place them upright with a pretty flower in each of the pots.
Railway Sleeper Garden Edging
Many reclaimed wood garden edging ideas look rather more rustic. But cleaned up railway sleepers can be used for a more sedate and traditional, less rustic look. This sort of bed edging can bring the warm tones of wood to your garden, but keep the neat, orderly, homely feel.
Neat Wood Garden Edging
You can also use other wood to create neat bed edging. For example, a simple plank – lightly waxed or painted, laid against the edge of a patio or growing area can create a neat and traditional look. You could also create a short fence style edging using two planks placed horizontally one above the other.
Traditional Brick Bed Edging
Brick edging at Hidcote Manor Garden, UK.
A simple line of bricks can also be effective to create edging in a traditional, quaint and homely garden. These can be positioned loosely, or mortared together to make a low stone wall to edge your paths or other areas of your garden. The bricks can be left bare, or painted white to fit into a traditional garden design. You can also place bricks on an angle, inserted into a shallow trench, for a somewhat different edging effect.
Contemporary, Sleek Garden Edging Ideas
You might be a little tired of tradition, however, and looking for something more sleek and contemporary. It you want a streamlined and modern garden, you are likely to have bolder planting and more straight edges, stronger colors and smoother finishes. Here are some garden edging ideas that might appeal to you:
Sharp Edged Cob/Adobe Garden Edging
Cob and adobe are more commonly used to create more rustic and organic shapes. But the material can also be used to create a much more modern look. You can also use cob or adobe to make edging with sharp, crisp edges. It can also be colored much more boldly, to create a vivid edging for contemporary planting schemes.
Sleek and Modern Wooden Edging
Wood can also be used, raw or painted, to create a much more contemporary effect. In contemporary gardens, clean, neat lines can be created in much the same way as in a traditional garden. But you can also use wood to be more innovative and unusual. For example, you could create a dramatic effect by cutting planks down and placing them upright to create a short fence – perhaps even making the edging higher at one edge than the other, for a more contemporary feel. Painting wood in bright, rich colours, or a modern grey shade, for example, could also help to bring your garden up to date.
Cut Stone Garden Edging
Natural rocks and stones generally create a more rustic feel. But cut stone can look much more sleek and contemporary. If you want that streamlined effect in your garden, edging using sharp-edged cut stone could be a good option for you.
Rendered Concrete Garden Edging
Concrete can also be used in a contemporary garden – especially when it is smoothly rendered. Concrete blocks rendered with a sleek finish can help to create the sharp lines and angles that contrast so effectively with the looser planting style in many contemporary gardens. Painting these low edging walls can also help to make your garden more modern.
Inlaid Brick Edging
Another way to give your garden a sleek and contemporary look is to do away with raised edging altogether and create inlaid edging instead. A line of bricks, for example, inlaid level with the ground between a lawn and border could help give the garden the right look and feel.
Inlaid Tile Edging
You could also inlay tiles along the edge between different parts of your garden, or along the sides of a path, to create a contemporary feel. You could use stone, slate or ceramic tiles to create subtly different effects. All can look good in a sleek, modern garden.
LED Light Garden Edging
Another way to bring your garden up to date is to consider adding lighting to your garden edging. There are a range of different ways to incorporate LED lighting along the edges or paths or patios. These lights can help to make your garden feel part of the modern age, but they can also be functional – making it easier for you to enjoy your outside space when light levels fall.
Industrial Garden Edging Ideas
Another popular style for modern gardens is the industrial look. The right garden edging ideas can really help you to bring an element of the industrial to your garden. An industrial style garden will generally introduce elements of the industrial world for interesting juxtapositions between the natural and the man-made. Here are some industrial garden edging ideas that you might like to consider:
Cor-Ten Steel Edging
Cor-ten steel can be used to create effect to create low edging between a lawn and growing areas. It can be used to create straight lines, or something more flowing and sinuous. It can look great next to soft grasses and other delicate planting.
Reclaimed Metal Pipe Edging
You can also use reclaimed metal pipes to make edging for your garden in a number of different ways. Copper piping looks particularly beautiful against deep, rich greens in a garden, and can set your garden off to great effect.
Metal Wheel Rim Edging
You could also consider using half metal wheel rims buried in the soil to create an interesting bed edging with a somewhat industrial feel. Again, the metal will contract nicely with the natural plant life in the garden and set up an interesting contrast.
Ceramic Pipe Edging
Ceramic pipes can evoke industrial chimney stacks when placed upright along an edge in a garden. Yet this industrial effect can be tempered by adding light and frothy planting in each of the sections of pipe. Again, a great combination of natural and man-made that works well in this sort of garden.
Construction Block Edging
Hard edged, rough and uncompromising, concrete can work well as a feature in an industrial type garden. There are a number of different garden edging ideas that you could use in a garden of this sort. For example, you could simply lay a series of concrete blocks or breeze-blocks along the edge. Or create a cast concrete edging, either protruding or laid into the ground.
Gabion Bench Bed Edging
Metal gabions (filled with rocks and stones, or other materials) and topped with a comfortable seating surface like wood can also work well as garden edging in an industrial style garden. Creating gabions in various shapes and sizes can help to add structure to the outside space.
Pebble Drainage Edging
Pebbles for a garden trench edging.
A trench-style edging filled with sharp pebbles can also work well in an industrial style garden. For something a little different, you could also consider using pebbles of glass in various different colours to have a departure from the natural.
Tyre Garden Edging
You could also consider edging a zone in your garden with old tyres. Tyre sections can be placed on edge, buried in the soil, for a looping effect. You can also use old tyres filled with soil to create a wider edging, that could also be planted up with living plants.
Irrigation Canal Garden Edging
A trench type edging does not necessarily have to be filled to ground level. You could also consider creating a feature with flowing water. For an industrial feel, the channel should be regimented, with straight lines and harder edges. It may even serve a functional purpose, for channelling water in your garden.
Illuminated Garden Edging
As in other contemporary gardens, industrial gardens can also work well with outdoors illumination. Consider edging with up-lights, for example, which illuminate certain edgy, industrial features nearby.
Quirky, Unusual Garden Edging Ideas
The above are amongst the most popular types of garden. But what if you do not want a garden that is like anyone else’s? One of the great things about a garden is that you can use it to really reflect your own personality and tastes. The plants you choose are the most important thing. But garden edging will also help to get your personality across. Here are some more quirky and unusual garden edging ideas that could help your garden stand out from the crowd:
Glass Bottle Edging
Upcycling glass bottles for your garden edging can create some marvellous effects. Simply stand beer or wine bottles of whatever colour with their necks in the soil along the edges between the different elements of your garden. (With lids on to stop slugs and bugs from making their way up inside.) You could even place LED lights in the bottles to create illuminated light effects.
Upcycled Plate Edging
Another way to edge your beds and borders in a quirky garden is with old plates. Choose a range of different ceramic plates from a charity shop or junk yard and have fun creating your unique effect as you arrange them upright in the soil along the edge of the growing area.
If you love to have a riot of colour in your garden (and like recycling and reusing too) then you could also consider making inset garden edging by embedding a mosaic strip along your paths or on the edges of a bed, border or patio. You could make a mosaic with a range of different materials – from broken ceramic tiles, to broken mirror, to brightly coloured bits of plastic packaging.
The possibilities mentioned above should give you plenty of inspiration when it comes to garden edging ideas. But of course, these are just some of the ingenious ways in which you could separate and give distinction to the various sections of and elements in your garden.