Whether their flower garden is a subtle blend of blue shades or a riotous mass of brilliant red, orange and yellow blooms, many gardeners find themselves looking for that little extra touch to bring their flower beds to the point of perfection. Enter the flower bed border. The beauty of adding a flower bed border to your flower garden is its incredible versatility. Taking the time to really think about the mood you're trying to create with your flower bed is an important step that can help guide you in choosing the best border material for your precious flower beds.
Decide what type of material you want to use for your flower bed border. Try to choose a border that complements the style of your home and landscaping. Popular options include stone, brick, landscaping timbers and railroad ties. If price is an important factor, consider limiting your material options to those that you can acquire free or at a very small cost. For instance, depending upon how much land you have, you may actually be able to gather your own stones from your own property.
Experiment with various layouts for your flower bed border; you can follow the exact lines of the flower bed or you can create an entirely new set of curves to your flower garden with your border. Lee Anne White, author of "Creating Beds and Borders," suggests that you use a garden hose to mark your borders, since it curves naturally, making it easier for you to create border designs that you can trim around easily.
Draw an outline to plan your flower bed border. Use graph paper and make the drawing to scale so you can better visualize the finished border. Include the different flowers in your flower bed, as well as any landscaping rocks or other materials that you have in your flower bed for visual interest.
Prepare the flower bed. Using a shovel, dig a shallow trench along the edge of the garden hose to mark the location of your proposed border. Make the trench about 3 to 4 inches deep and approximately 2 inches wider than your border material.
Prepare the border footing. Fill the trench about ¾ full with gravel or sand to provide a secure flat location for you to place your border. This footer also helps provide drainage for your flower bed. Fill half of the remaining trench depth with topsoil, packing it lightly with a trowel until it's smooth and level.
Install your flower bed border. Starting at one end of your border, install your border bricks, stones or timbers, pushing them securely into the topsoil covering the footer. If you're working in a curved bed, angle each border stone or brick slightly when you're installing them along the curve; this allows the curve to be evenly distributed between all of them. Pack topsoil around the base of your border to help keep it securely in place.