15 Flower Bed Edging Ideas

Edging with flowers can create an elegant and organized appearance in your yard. What are some ways to use flowers in this way?

Edging is the process of creating a defined line between your lawn and flower beds. Edging completes the appearance of your garden and when used creatively, can enhance the beauty of your plantings. The eye is guided through the garden by a strong edge.

Edging can also be used to keep your flower beds safe. It can help prevent lawn grass from invading your daylilies. Low walls and fences can keep foot traffic and even pets out of the garden. It can also be used to elevate the planting area, making it easier to care for.

Consider the style of your home and garden when selecting edging materials. You want the border to match the rest of the landscaping in your yard. An ornate Victorian fence would look out of place in a mid-century modern house’s minimalist garden.

Consider the upkeep required to keep it looking its best. There will be trimming to do unless the edging is flat and even with both the flower bed and the lawn.

Natural Materials Become a Part of the Landscape

1. Hand Dug Edge

A hand-dug edge is a simple, low-cost, and elegant look. All you need is a flat spade to sharply cut the lawn at the edge of the flower bed.

You can lay out the line with your garden hose. Once you’re happy with the shape, run your lawnmower along it. You want to make certain that the lawn will be simple to maintain. A long, sweeping curve is preferable; a lot of small, tight curves will make mowing difficult.

beautiful garden flowers in a hand dug landscaping

Once you’re satisfied with your lines, use the spade to remove the lawn.

This type of edge necessitates some upkeep. You will almost certainly need to use a trimmer, and it will need to be redug on occasion.

a mulched garden with snow white flowers

2. Rocks and Stones

There are numerous options here, ranging from large boulders to tiny pebbles. We believe that native rocks look the best, but white marble chips may be just what you’re looking for if you’re going for a modern or minimalist look. As a garden edge, you can simulate a dry creek bed by using boulders, cobblestones, and river rock.

If you’re using small gravel and pebbles, you’ll need to use landscape fabric beneath them to keep the stones from sinking into the soil and disappearing. Alternatively, create a shallow depression and “plant” your larger rocks along the edge. You don’t want them to look like they just stepped off a truck!

garden edging with rocks and stones

Larger boulders can be used to make raised beds.

planting beautiful flowers among stones

3. Flagstone

Flagstone is a versatile flat stone that can be dry stacked to create a low wall or laid in a single layer along the garden’s edge.

garden edging using flagstones

 It also makes a great path!

flagstones leading to the front door

Try standing the flagstone on end for a completely different look.

a stone wall retaining a garden

4. Plants

Plants can be used as edging! Outline your shade or sun garden with small hostas or lavender. Low boxwood or yew hedges can be used to frame flower beds.

using grass for plant edging

5. Logs 

If you recently had to remove a tree, you can use trunks and branches to border your garden. 

medium size tree logs for garden borders

You can also cut the logs into 2-inch thick disks and use them as edging. 

Try standing varying lengths of logs on end for a rustic look..  

varying log heights as garden borders
assorted logs used a garden barrier

Using bamboo is a sustainable choice. 

using bamboos for garden fencing

6. Timbers and “Railroad Ties”

While you should avoid using real railroad ties because they have been treated with the toxic creosote, you can buy landscape timbers that are the size and shape of railroad ties.

Landscape timbers are also available in smaller sizes. Even old boards can be used to create a rustic border.

timbers used for garden enclosures

Manufactured Materials Allow for Easy Installation

7. Bricks

Consider a line of bricks for a truly low-maintenance option. Construct a shallow trench and line it with sand (this makes installation easier). Place the bricks vertically between the flower bed and the lawn, making sure they are level with both the lawn and the flower bed. Pound the bricks into an even line with a rubber mallet.

Once installed, simply place your mower’s wheel on the bricks and you’re ready to go. Trimming should not be required.

You can also make a sawtooth pattern with your bricks. After digging a trench, place your first brick at the desired angle and stack the bricks on top of each other. This is an old-fashioned style that works well with historic homes.

garden bricks used in landscaping

8. Concrete

You can buy concrete blocks that you install in the same way as bricks. Many styles look like natural stone. 

interlocking rocks and concrete

Curved and scalloped concrete blocks are a classic. 

scalloped concretes used as garden landscape

Border your garden with a path of concrete steppers. 

concrete path steppers in the park

Poured concrete creates a low-maintenance curb, but you must build the forms and pour the concrete yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Make sure you like the look; once installed, it’s difficult to change.

a concrete curb bordering the flowers
by the road flower beds

A concrete curb is a good idea if you have a prairie or natural garden. The use of a strong edging material tells the world that, yes, your garden is intentional, not weeds!

beautiful and colorful flower garden

9. Plastic and Metal Edging

Flexible plastic edging is sold in rolls. This is a good product to use if you like the look of a hand-dug edge but don’t want to do all the digging necessary to maintain it. It’s also great to use if your garden beds are curvy.  

a gardener fixing the plastic edging

It’s simple to install – dig a trench as deep as the edging and stand the material in the trench. After backfilling, the rounded top is all you see between the lawn and flower bed.

In colder climates, this product can sometimes heave out of the ground during freeze/thaw cycles, and it can be damaged by your lawnmower. 

Metal edging is usually made of steel or aluminum. Steel is hard to shape, so it’s best to use it in beds with straight lines. 

dry leaf feather grass

Aluminum has a little more flexibility to it. It is installed the same way as plastic edging. And some metal edging is designed to be seen! 

an aluminum plate used as a garden border

You can also find hard plastic edging and metal edging that comes in short sections and can be pounded into the ground with a mallet. 

10. Terra Cotta Pots

If you have lots of old terra cotta pots, you can nest them together and lay them on their sides for an interesting garden border. 

adjoined terra cotta pots

11. Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers, the material of choice for patios, can also be used to outline the garden. These come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles. Install them similarly to how you would bricks. Mowing is also simple with pavers. They won’t, however, keep your dog out of the garden.

a dog sitting on a concrete paver

12. Fences

Perhaps your flower bed is in a high traffic area and needs to be protected. A low fence may be exactly what you require. A wattle fence, Victorian or modern metal fencing, a classic white picket fence, or a painted fence are all options.

Flowers reaching over and through fences are especially charming when they greet passers-by.

white front yard fences

A wattle fence is made by weaving flexible branches like willow or raspberry canes around vertical supports. You can make them as tall as you’d like.

wattle fence using flexible brances

13. Retaining Walls

Another option for protecting a flower bed is to raise it up a bit. A retaining wall can help here, as can raised beds made from wood, concrete block, or stone. 

retaining walls built out of concrete bricks

A dry stacked retaining wall can be made from stone. 

a dry wall using stakes rocks

Retaining walls, regardless of height, look best when they have a purpose. A retaining wall may be appropriate for your garden if your property is uneven, on a slope or hill, or simply has a slight dip. Avoid the “bathtub” look, which is a retaining wall that rises up from a flat lawn.

a small garden in the corner of the house

Include a seat on your retaining wall.

a built in retaining wall seats in the park

A gabion is a wall made from rock encased in wire mesh. The name comes from the Italian word for “cage.” If it’s the right height, add a plank across the top to make a seat. 

zigzag wooden seats in the park

14. Cinder Blocks

Make a modern-looking raised border with these versatile and inexpensive blocks. Plant herbs or succulents in the holes of the open end. Alternatively, natural or polished stone, or glass pebbles, can be used to fill the holes. Painting the blocks a complementary color to your home adds another dimension.

cinder blocks and planters

Or turn them so that the openings face out, and let the plants peek out.

15. Whimsical Elements

Be careful with this one!  

Whether you call it hobby edging, recycling, or upcycling, using found objects adds a lot of quirky personality to your garden border. Large seashells, bowling balls, wheels and hubcaps; vinyl records, china plates, toy animals, and even dolls’ heads (which give off a deliciously creepy vibe) have all been used to outline a flower bed.

wooden wagons as park fencing

This style is probably best suited to a casual or cottage garden, but we’ll leave that up to you to decide. Even the most stately and formal of homes can feel relaxed and inviting with a little bit of fun.

a hobbit house garden in the park

If your edging material is brightly colored or patterned, use a limited flower palette with only a few different plants or colors. When there are too many competing elements, funky can become junky.

assorted funny figurines in the garden
Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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