What are the Different Options for Path Edging?

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Path edging is often an essential element to a landscaping design. It serves to contain the path material, transition between the path and the rest of the landscaping, and works as an ornamental feature of the landscaping that is independent of the other landscaping features. There are several options for path edging, such as wood edging, brick edging, and stone edging. Landscapers can also opt for plastic edging, metal edging, or concrete edging.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Wood edging is popular, particularly in areas where moisture levels are low. The most common kind of wood edging is constructed from lumber, such as 2x4-inch (about 38x89-mm) boards or 2x6-inch (about 38x140-mm) boards. Typically, wood edging should be treated so it resists rot. Under normal circumstances, redwood and cedar are among the best options for wood edgings.

Some landscapers prefer the aesthetics of path edging made of brick. The simplest way to install brick edging is to set bricks into the soil without using any mortar. This can only be done if the soil is firm. Otherwise, the bricks will slip, wreaking havoc on the landscaping design.

When creating path edging using bricks without out mortar, the bricks can be laid in a trench that surrounds the path. The majority of the surface of the brick should be underneath the surface of the pathway. The bricks can be set vertically or on an angle for a decorative effect as well.

Some people prefer a more natural look to their path edging. In those cases, stone edging may be preferred. Stones, rocks, or even boulders may be used to edge a path. Before laying smaller stones, it is best to use a 1-inch (about 2.5-cm) thick bed of mortar to prevent them from moving over time. Larger rocks typically look best if the are partially buried, yet lining the path. Sometimes spaces between larger stones can be filled with smaller stones as well.

Less natural but equally effective options for path edging are plastic edging and metal edging. These kinds of edging are easy to install — strips of plastic or metal are simply set along the path. The edging strips then are held in place by stakes.

As with many forms of edging, plastic and metal edging often look best if they do not stick out too high. In addition, it is recommended that the strips are buried at least half-way under the surface of the ground. These types of edging styles are ideal for pathways with lots of curves.

Concrete edging is unique in that it is not prominent, yet it creates well-defined edges to the path. Concrete edging retains the materials creating the path, but it also sets up a barrier so the grass can be cut right up to the edge of the pathway. This reduces the need for using a weed whip or other piece of equipment.

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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Discussion Comments


Good article. As a garden designer, I tried many edgings in the past. I prefer to use recycled plastic edgings that are heavy duty 2mm or 3mm but not the cheap 0.05 or less that are in many shops as they do not last.

I think edgings are very green as they save time using strimmers. In hot countries where the turf grow fast, it helps to keep the garden neat and save lots of hours. In cold countries, I would say it save you time where the sun is out and you probably would like to do other things at this time. Most important it is one of this things that it is better to start use asap as it will start saving you time now. Thanks.

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