Landscape edging defines different areas of the yard, such as flower beds, lawn and garden spots. It can be purely decorative and aesthetic or functional and utilitarian. Some landscape edging materials like pre-formed blocks or decorative stone may be beautiful but can be expensive, especially if you have a large area needing a border. For less money you can still achieve a very attractive, and possibly more distinctive, look.
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Plastic landscape edging products are available quite inexpensively at home and garden supply stores and online. Plastic is a good choice if you want something flush with the ground that is mainly utilitarian and inconspicuous to divide your landscape sections.
Brick is a sturdy, durable and attractive material. Used brick can be found for free or inexpensively. If a brick building is being torn down in your neighborhood, inquire about purchasing some of the brick. The work crew may even give it to you. Some salvage outlets also sell used building materials like brick at a discount.
Used concrete that has been torn up can be re-purposed as landscape edging material. Look for free concrete chunks at your local landfill or volunteer to haul away the torn out concrete if someone in your neighborhood is redoing a driveway or sidewalk. Chunks of old concrete stacked into a low wall can enclose a garden or flower bed.
Rock can be expensive when purchased specifically for edging, but collecting rocks yourself is free, if somewhat labor intensive. Get your friends and family to help you gather stones of a manageable size and sink them partially along your border or stack them above ground to create a sturdy and long-lasting edge.
Mulch is a cheap material that does a good job of keeping weeds under control and preventing grass from encroaching into beds. Dig a trench about six inches deep, fill it with mulch and cover your bed with mulch as desired. For free mulch use pine needles or grass clippings from your own yard or collect it from neighbors. If you know someone with a farm they may be willing to give you some free straw, or you can buy straw bales fairly cheaply.
For a more artistic garden border, get creative and make edges out of found objects like driftwood, salvaged metal parts, shells, recycled tires, discarded railroad ties or cut logs. By using what you have and modifying it you can save yourself money and perhaps end up with an interesting and creative conversation piece for your garden.
Try just planting a border of edging plants along a walkway or the edge of a flower bed. There are dozens of plants that make an attractive, tidy border. Inquire at a nursery for good border plants that do well in your area. To control costs, buy fewer plants and space them far apart the first year. The following year, divide the plants to fill in the spaces between and continue dividing the plants each season until you have a thick border.