Banish the bricks. Pitch the plastic. Toss the railroad ties. Instead, frame your garden with unexpected edging options that express your personality and keep the rest of the plants (including the lawn) in check. As you consider which materials to use, choose items that can stand up to whatever Mother Nature cares to spit out in the form of sun, wind, and rain.
Obviously moisture resistant, shapely seashore finds, like these large quahog clam shells, require a concrete footing to keep them upright. Dig narrow trenches about four inches deep, and fill them with mixed concrete. Insert the shells into the concrete. After it dries, cover the concrete with dirt.
Turn these warmly colored gardening staples upside down or sideways to create your border. Look at yard sales for inexpensive terracotta pots that are cracked, chipped, or being discarded for lack of interest. Consider it a bonus if they’re covered with moss.
Get striking results by lining your flower bed with discarded bowling balls. Alternate the balls with straight-edged pavers to give each gloriously swirled orb its own chance to shine.
Plant glass bottles—neck down—at the garden’s edge to add sparkling splashes of light. Make sure you insert the bottles at least halfway to keep them vertical.
Beautifully blue-green, vintage glass electrical insulators possess all the light-catching qualities of bottles.
But these antique objects are heavy enough to line up on the ground as edging—without needing to dig a trench.
Define a garden border while adding a colorful sparkle with an outline of sea glass or tumbled glass aggregate or cullet. Here a river of hard aqua glass chips creates an appealing contrast between the strappy fronds of deep green grasses and soft mounds of chartreuse moss.
Add flair with a border made of vintage plates. Embed them halfway into the dirt or mount them in a slim concrete trench.
Wood edging cut from construction leftovers makes a pretty edging when painted in aqua. The wood pieces in alternating heights are stapled to landscape edging, placed in a narrow trench around the garden bed, and backfilled for sturdiness. Vintage aluminum cookie cutters in animal shapes make a whimsical addition to the border.
Each cookie cutter is glued in place with epoxy. Then, a small screw is inserted into the wood to secure it.
Iron pipes edge and elevate at once. Buried in a surrounding trench and standing upright side-by-side as a garden border, the pipes are filled with cactus potting mix, planted with succulents, and mulched with pea gravel.
Let your artistic juices flow and jazz up basic concrete garden edging with mosaic tiles. Break up chipped ceramics such as plates, cups, vases, etc. to create designs with individuality.
Give rock edging more contemporary styling with a low gabion wall. Metal mesh panels are attached to sturdy wood posts to hold the heavy rock filler. Unless you’re up for a challenge, this option might best be turned over to a landscaper!
Make a unique edging out of old metal wheels and discs. The salvaged materials are wired together, then wired to rebar stakes pushed deep into the ground.
Drive your garden decor with a funky-junk border built from old license plates—the brighter, the better. We planted them horizontally next to a sidewalk’s edge for stability.
Sans automobiles, these metal disks look like circular abstract sculptures. Collect hubcaps of different sizes and designs; their silvery finish will unify the look to create a cohesive, yet visually interesting, border. Dig a trench and bury the hubcaps to the midway point. Backfill with dirt to hold the hubcaps steady.
Help ease the strain on landfills. Saw discarded tires in half. Install the sawed edges in a trench about 4 to 6 inches deep, then backfill each side with dirt. Placed end-to-end, the tires’ semicircular arcs create a raised border.
Sometimes the most intriguing edging materials are the most natural ones. If you want to use plants to edge your garden, look for those that fill in gently without running rampant. Here are some candidates.
Alyssum is dainty and dense. Plus, it’s great at softening hard edges.
Veronica offers long thin blooms and some of the clearest blues in the world of perennials.
Lamb’s ears add fuzzy silvery-gray foliage to the garden’s palette.
Black mondo grass provides 12 months of striking black foliage.
© Caruth Studio