i want to start 3 (maybe 4) new flowers beds this year, around new construction. one about 30 feet long, 3 ft. deep, and one on either side of the front gate in kind of L-shapes, around 3ft in the short length, 6 ft on the long side and 3 ft deep. they will be filled with amended top soil then primarily planted in old fashioned types of flowers and native plants such as bee balm, butterfly bush, lilac, rose of sharon, zinnias, hollyhocks, etc. these are things i see growing around old homesteads all over the place, i assume because they are easy to share.
other than landscape timbers what would be an *economical* way to edge them? landscape timbers leach too many chemicals. the blocks they sell at lowes are too expensive for the amount i want to do.
We got a pickup load of those fancy edging blocks for $1 at a Mendard's Store. They were broken, but all the pieces were there. There were also several different colors. I still have a pile of them I use for all kinds of things.
When you give the dimensions and mention "deep" I'm not sure if you are referring to the width of the bed or if you need a retaining wall to hold that much height of material.
If the former and you do need just edging you might consider getting some tempered hardboard (Masonite is one brand), cut strip for forms, peg them in place and fill with a cement mixture. I would go to the added expense of using dye in the mix instead of having plain concrete. You can free form into curves, etc. and they will be semi permanent.
Old bricks? That's what lines the beds in my garden. Currently they are on their edges, running length-wise, if that makes sense. I want to turn them up on end so that they will provide a deeper bed though. We got our bricks from a church that was taking out their chimney. They were already piled behind the place....we just had to toss them into our pickup and haul them away. Helped them AND us .
We have farmers near us who will let you pick rock from their fields for free. However, if you want to take the rock that is already in their rock piles, they'll charge you for it.
Why don't you just go out and fell some trees from your property. Then outline your garden with the logs or rounds, they'll last longer than you think...at least they do around here when they're frozen half the year.
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I had to cut a few cedars that are in the way so I am using the larger sections for posts and the smaller sections are being cut into about 9" pieces so that I can bury them about 6" with the rest sticking up for the edging. They are placed into a trench side by side.
Instead of cutting them up, you could also use the like landscape timbers but I like the look of them sticking straight up.
You have recieved some nice looking suggestions.
My wife has been building new flower beds and keeping the old ones for 53 years now. I have been mowing around them all that time. After about 40 years of clipping around them and weed whacking around them, it suddenly dawned on us that all that weekly work was a pure waste of time. To eliminate it we do not put cutesy borders around them. We simple make the tilled portion of the bed 6 to 8 inches out beyond the flowers. The riding zero turn mower clips all the grass with nothing left to trim. This also works really well around trees. DW sets sedum plants right against the trees then puts pine needles around them to create a mowing border. Sedum stands severe dry conditions and full shade very well. She also puts pine needles along and in her flower beds to hold down grasses and help hold moisture. Makes a finished look to the beds. IT DON"T GET ANY CHEAPER THAN THAT
As you drive look for "cuts" where they had to cut through rock to get the road thru. I have picked tons, and I literally mean tons, of rock from the side of the road. We live in an area with a lot of rock and when they create cuts it tends to fall off in layers which makes great flat stacking rock for beds. We have quite a few very large stcked rock flower beds that I picked.
The next place I pick material from is building demolition sites. The bricks are the best and can be easily cleaned but used and even broken block are fine too.
Someone said logs. We live in the land of cedars which you could use for bed edges.
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Marvella, the cheapest edging (other than free) I ever found, that was natural, was bender board...thin flexible wood strips, about 4" high (i think they come in about 10' lengths), that you hold in place with tiny aluminum stakes (not really noticable). They are typically used for separating lawn from flower gardens. They now have it in black plastic strips, which I hate...I liked the natural wood strips. I don't know if anyone still makes them. The last time I used them was over 20 years ago. They are not pressure treated, but are made of a water resistant wood like cedar, I believe. I put them about 3" down in the ground so I could run the mower over them, but they still prevent grass roots from taking over gardens too fast.
Do you have access to sawdust, and a way to haul it?
Here's something I have done in the past: dig a trench around the perimeter of the flower bed, about a foot and a half wide and deep. Lay a thick layer of old newspaper or cardboard in the trench as weedblock, then fill it with sawdust. You could scatter some shredded bark mulch (etc.) atop the sawdust if you find it unsightly.
The sawdust is a relatively sterile medium ... a few weeds may sprout in it, but they won't grow well, at least for the first 2-3 years, until the sawdust decomposes. In the meantime, you will have a nice, neat, unobtrusive margin!
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You might have to wait until you have an established lawn and solid ground for this to work; seeing as you have new construction, you could put in the flower bed now and then later trench it in. I've seen this method installed in city parks, around professionally landscaped homes (for what that's worth ), and I installed it around a business. Use a flat spade to cut through the sod where you want the border outline. Take the wedges you dig out and compost it (incorporating it into your flower bed could yield lawn in the wrong place). You want the trench to go down fairly deep to discourage grass from growing from the yard to the flower bed by removing topsoil. Then slope your flower bed soil away from the trench; not too steep or it will wash into the trench. Use a mulch if needed, but maintain the trench as this is what stops the grass. Most of the time you can use a push mower to trim, or trimmer to make it look really nice.
Cost to you: a lot of hard work!
"It's not like money grows on trees, and besides even if it did with my luck I would have clear cut them a long time ago for the firewood." -redgreenbluegil
Last edited by redgreenbluegil; 02/11/08 at 05:33 PM.