How to Use Different Kinds of Borders on Each Flower Bed in Your Yard


Garden borders work in a variety of ways in the home landscape. Physical borders give a neater appearance to the surrounding landscape and block weeds from entering the planting space. Using different kinds of borders in the landscape requires careful planning to create unique gardens while unifying elements in the overall design.Strategies for borders include shovel edging, living floral borders, plastic edging strips and wood block edging.

Step 1

Decide which garden deserves a particular type of edging treatment. A garden bordering a lawn area benefits from a cut trench edge to discourage encroachment of grass. Trench edges form a neat transitional line and provide a natural transition from grass to mulch covered garden area. Living borders work best along walkways to limit damage of the flowers with a mower. Plastic edging serves perfectly around large tree gardens, and wood block edging defines small garden areas with the natural look of wood.

Step 2

Begin at the trench edge garden by placing the flat blade shovel at the edge of the garden at a 45-degree angle. Step down on the shovel to a depth of 4 inches and lift up the soil. Dump it into the garden and remove the grass sections. Place the shovel right next to the previous blade mark and continue down the length of the garden. The finished product should resemble an angled trench to separate grass from flower bed. Spread soil in the garden and mulch to the trench edge for a finished look.

Step 3

Select a location that fits the needs of a living flower border. Starting about 6 inches in from the garden edge, plant mounding perennials or clumps of three annual plants. As the plants mature, foliage and flower will drape gracefully over the garden edge to provide a softly delineated garden border.

Step 4

Install plastic edging to delineate garden around trees. Dig a 3- to 4-inch trench to sink the bottom plastic section below the ground level. The rolled lip should remain at the soil level. Secure the plastic edging with the supplied edging stakes.

Step 5

Use a hoe to scrape down approximately 1/2 inch into the soil around the perimeter of the garden to be edged with wood borders. Make sure this soil removal accounts for the width of the wood blocks. Install one section of wood blocks at a time, making sure each section abuts the next to create a continuous line. Remove extra block by clipping the connecting metal wire with tin snips or wire cutters.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat blade shovel
  • Low-growing annual flowers
  • Mounding perennial flowers
  • Plastic edging
  • Hammer
  • Hoe
  • Wood block edging
  • Wire cutters


  • Creative Homeowner: Installing Edging
  • University of Wyoming: Landscape edging a great addion to a yard

Who Can Help

  • Washington State University: Rock Garden & Edging Perennials
Keywords: different flower borders, installing borders, garden edging

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.