How to Build a Decorative Edge

Edging is both practical and aesthetic. At its most useful it marks out the boundary of a lawn, while also allowing you to simply run the mower over it. With a wide variety of materials to choose from, edging can be a decorative feature in its own right, chosen to complement the plants it contains.

When to start: Any time.

At its best: All year round.

Time to complete: 5 hours.

You will need: Bricks, string and pegs, sharp spade, wet mortar mix, dry mortar mix, club hammer, spirit level, trowel, brush.

Use string as a guide

Use one brick to measure the correct distance from your raised bed (or border) and set up a line of string between two pegs from which to work. Cut through the turf along the line using the sharp edge of a spade.

Remove a strip of turf

Dig out a strip of turf deep enough to accommodate the bricks plus a 1 in (2.5 cm) layer of mortar. First slice the turf up into manageable sections, then slide the spade underneath and lift them out onto a piece of tarpaulin.

Level the ground

Use the spade to roughly level out the ground. Mix wet mortar and add a 1 in (2.5 cm) layer to the bottom of the trench to bed in the bricks.

Lay bricks on mortar

Place the bricks on the mortar and set slightly below the level of the turf. Leave a small gap between each. Use a spirit level to check they are horizontal, and firm them using a club hammer.

Apply a dry mix

Finally, use a dry mortar mix to fill the joints between the bricks, working the mixture in with a trowel. Clean off the excess with a brush.

Edging Options

Different edging materials will bring different looks to your garden, from delicate and ephemeral to solid and hard working. Copper piping, bent into a graceful curve, provides a pretty edge that echoes the colors of the planting.