Lay Timber Edging

  • Lay Timber Edging
  • Lay Timber Edging

Everyone likes a carpet of lush green grass but no-one likes runners that creep their way into garden beds and under plants, making it a constant battle to maintain a tidy edge.

A simple solution to stop grass invading beds is to install edging. It’s affordable and can be done in half a day, dramatically decreasing the time spent on garden maintenance. 

On this coastal property, treated pine sleepers were used to define a border between the murraya hedge and buffalo grass. 

A trench was dug and lengths of timber buried to half their height in the soil, with hardwood stakes positioned in the bed to support the edging. 

A few runners may work their way under the edging but they are easy to pull out.  

If after a few years the level of the edging drops too low it can be lifted out and a layer of sand added before replacing the timber. 

Cut the timber

For this project, choose H4 grade treated pine which is specifically for in-ground use outdoors. It is treated to resist rot and insect attack. 

We used 3000 x 200 x 50mm sleepers buried to half their width underground. This created a raised edge, making it easier to use a line trimmer to cut the grass. 

If the sleepers are too long to transport in your vehicle you could ask the supplier to cut them down for you, but this will make it much harder to get a straight border and affect the overall look of the edging. 

TIP Drill clearance holes in the hardwood stakes and use galvanised screws to secure them if there’s a lot of movement in the ground. 

Choosing the material 

Garden edging is a simple DIY option that comes in rolls of plastic, metal and pine. Just cut off what you need and secure it with pegs or stakes in the same material. 

Tough, durable and flexible, edging rolls are ideal for curved boundaries. Choose the material that best suits the style of garden.

PLASTIC is easy to manipulate and can be used to make tree guards. Choose a UV stabilised product.

PINE edgingis treated to resist rot and creates an attractive, natural-looking border.

METAL edging is made from galvanised steel so it is strong, durable and won’t rust.

Install the edging 

Step 1. Mark the border

To mark the position of the border, measure the area and set a stringline. Choose the size of treated pine to be used for the edging and carefully select straight lengths that are as long as possible to reduce the number of joints.

Step 2. Dig the trench

Use a square-nose shovel to excavate a trench for the edging to a depth of half the width of the timber, making sure the wall and base is flat so the edging sits straight. Remove any large roots, rocks or debris in the way.

Step 3. Check the level

Measure from the base to the top of the trench to check the height is uniform all the way along and use a spirit level to check the base is level, then remove or add soil in places if needed, firming it down.

Step 4. Position the timber

Lay the timber lengths end to end in the trench following a set stringline and tap down with a lump hammer or mallet. Position hardwood stakes evenly along the edging to hold it in place, tapping them into the soil.

Step 5. Join the corners

Butt the end of a length of timber against the side of another to take the edging around a corner, hammering in galvanised nails skewed at 45° to secure the two pieces. TIP Drill pilot holes to prevent splitting.

Step 6. Backfill with soil

Use the soil that was dug up when excavating the trench to fill the garden bed behind the edging, firming it down by hand as you go. Add a layer of bark mulch in the bed to suppress weeds and retain moisture.

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