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How to Measure for a Garden Border

By S.F. Heron ; Updated September 21, 2017

Garden borders of wood, rock, brick or plastic function to delineate a garden like the frame of a picture. Garden borders are also a practical way to reduce weed and grass encroachment into the flower bed. Further, they can tie different elements of the landscape together when gardeners use the same materials throughout the property. Measuring for a garden border involves using simple tools and a little math.

Measure the entire outside edge of your garden. Pick the point of planned installation for the most accurate measurement. Determining this measurement for a straight-line border requires a simple measurement with the measuring tape. Mark this figure down, including edges.

Lay out a length of twine around the edge of an irregularly shaped garden. Make sure to include all curves and indentations. You can also use this method for a square or rectangular garden for a more accurate measurement.

Make a hash mark on the twine with the marker or cut it at the appropriate spot to establish the entire perimeter of the garden area.

Lay out the entire length of twine and measure the length with the measuring tape. Note this figure as the total length of your border.

Measure the length of one piece of garden border material from end to end. This includes individual bricks, plastic edging, railroad ties or whatever material you plan to use. Write down these measurements.

Take your total number from Step 1 or Step 4 and add 2 to 4 feet to this measurement. This additional allows for mistakes in cutting, broken bricks or corners that require adjustments during installation. Having more edging product on hand will ensure a perfect border installation. Any extra product can be stored for future replacements.

Divide the total length of the border by the measurement of the individual border pieces. This figure provides the total number of sections, bricks or pieces required.


Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Twine
  • Marker
  • Calculator
  • Border material sample


  • Garden borders should be installed based on manufacturer recommendations.