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A perfect lawn is sought after by many gardeners and is often the focus of a great deal of attention. Having a nice clean edge to a lawn can add the finishing touch to a garden, making it appear more well kept and tidy. To create a clean, defined edge many gardeners lay edging made from stone, wood or concrete.
Edging stops the lawn from growing out of it’s set area and can be used to distinguish between the lawn and other areas of the garden such as flower beds and pathways. Laying edging is a simple process and can be done at a low cost if you follow the correct steps. This step by step guide covers everything you need to know before you start to lay your edging, so you can add that finishing touch to your garden.
Different Types of Garden Edging
Concrete is an affordable yet stylish option for edging. Concrete can come in many different colours and styles, so you’ll be able to find the colour that works with your garden design. It is easy to lay and is installed the same as other stone edging. We love the look of this Pressed Concrete Thick Flat Top Edging that can suit many different gardens.
Plastic and metal edging
Both plastic and metal edging are flexible allowing for them to easily be fit to the shape of your lawn. Plastic and metal edging are both cheap and simple to instal making them the perfect option for a garden on a budget. Because metal and plastic edging is malleable they can be installed in large pieces that bend to the shape of the lawn, saving time in the installation process. Plastic and metal edging isn’t always the most aesthetically pleasing option for a garden so, take some time to assess if the edging fits with your overall garden design before you lay it.
Wooden edging is a great alternative to concrete or stone edging, it is laid in a very similar way so is easy to install. Wooden edging can provide a nice, subtle edge to a lawn or path as it can aesthetically fit next to trees and foliage. One downside of using wooden edging is that it will need replacing soon than stone or concrete edging as it will naturally rot in wet climates.
Stone edging comes in a variety of different forms, from small individual stones to larger constructed strips. The variety of types of stone available for garden edging means there should always be a type of stone edging that ties your garden together. Stone does have it’s downsides, it can be tricky to lay. Thankfully in this guide, we will cover exactly how to lay it.
How To Lay Edging Stones
Dig a trench around your lawn, path or driving way.
Before you start to lay any edging you must first excavate an area for it to sit. It’s important to have the measurement of the stone you’ll be using before you start digging as it will affect the size of the trench. For example, if the stone your using is 6x2 inches you’ll need the trench to be around 6 inches deep. In addition to your stone, there will be around 2 inches of concrete at the base, along with around 2 inches of the stone visible above ground. When digging your trench do your best to ensure that it is as flat as possible, this will help your edge to be straight after the stone is laid.
Set up a taut string line guide
Before you start laying your edging stones you need to set up your string line guide. This will help when you are laying the brick to keep it in a straight line. To set up a string line, place two posts at each end of the trench and then tie the string around the posts. Make sure the string is straight and taut so the line is easy to follow.
Place your bedding and compacting it
For your bedding use a semi-dry mix of cement, this will be placed in the area you have excavated. You should place your semi-dry mix to just bellow your string guide, allowing enough room for your stone to fit under it. Once the mix has been placed you next need to compact it. This process will help to remove the air in the mix making it denser and help it take form. To do this you can simply press the mix down with your foot. Allow for there to still be some give in the mix, if there isn’t any you might of press down too hard.
Topping it up preparing the bed
Now on your partly consolidated bed top it up with some more semi-dry mix so that the bed is back to the hight of your string guide. After this level it down again with a trowel so that it’s flat and ready for the stone to be laid. The hight of your bed will depend on the size of your stone edging for larger stones, we suggest you leave around 2-3cm of space between the string line for smaller stones level around 1-2cm.
This can be a task of trial and error to find out how compact the bedding needs to be. This can also be the same case for placing the stone at the right height. It might take a few attempts to get the bedding perfect so allow some time for this.
Placing the stone edging
Now your bedding is ready it’s time to place your stone edging. First, simply place it on top of the bedding, once you are happy with the positioning press it down with a rubber mallet. Hit the stone as close to the centre as possible so that the force is distributed equally. If the bedding is too high you can always remove some with a trowel and then level it down again. It is always best to adjust your bedding if you feel you are needing to apply lots of pressure with the hammer.
Hitting the stone too hard could damage it so, it’s always best to remove some bedding first. If the stone is to lose this could be because the bed hasn’t been compacted enough. In this case, remove the stone and compact the bed more, adding more mix if needed. If the bed is to low, now is the time to add more mix to the bed as after this step you won’t be able to go back.
Checking the levelling
Although the string guide should be level it’s important to check that the stone you’ve laid is following suit. You should check the levelling regularly whilst laying the stone to ensure there haven’t been any mistakes. Once you know one stone has been laid correctly, you can use it as a guide for the next stone. For precision use a spirit level to check the stones. If one stone is higher than another you can push it down further into the bed with the rubber mallet.
Align and haunch
Once you are happy with the alignment of your stones you need to haunch the edging. The haunch will support the stone and make sure they stay in their intended position. Depending on the placement of the edging the haunch can be on both sides or just the outer layer, other paving or grass could mean that it’s not possible to apply cement on both sides.
A wetter mix will be used for this process which allows for it to be smoothed providing a tighter and more stable finish. This mix should never be less than 75mm in width as anything less won’t be able to support the weight of the stone and provide adequate stability. The haunch should have around 2.5cm of space between it’s highest point and the start of the top of the stone. This should always be the case unless it is not covering at least half of the stone. The bedding and haunch will need time to harden and so you shouldn’t apply any pressure to it for a few days. If you are laying the stone for a driveway be careful when parking your car or avoid using your drive where you can.