A rock border can be made from larger stones or small pieces of gravel.

What to Use to Border Grass & Beds

by Paul Schuster

Once you have your garden beds all laid out and your lawn spaces clearly designated, a creative and interesting garden border adds appeal and also keeps grass out of your carefully tended garden beds. You can choose to stick with one primary material, or you can mix and match materials for an unconventional combination of textures.

Brick and Stone

Two classic garden bed choices are brick and stone. Durable and heavy, these materials, once placed properly, do not generally shift. A single rock or paving stones or bricks create a clean-cut appearance that can be easily arranged into a variety of patterns, such as small squares or in a zigzag design. You can even bury bricks diagonally so an edge is the top-most portion of the brick visible, creating a sawtooth design. When creating a brick or stone edging, bury half the brick or stone underground in a trench to prevent them from moving after installation.

Miniature Pickets

A time-honored classic, the picket fence can be tweaked and updated for a more modern take. While neat, side-by-side pickets have a retro charm, consider widely spacing the pickets or painting them a different color for an eye-catching fence. When using pickets to border a garden bed rather than a grass lawn, keep the pickets relatively small and spaced apart so they don't overwhelm or overshadow your plants. If less than 12 feet tall, a picket fence creates a charming, easy-to-install fence that keeps your garden beds tidily separated from your lawn. For a more rustic look, leave the pickets unpainted and untreated, allowing them to age naturally.

Low Lying Materials

Choosing one or several low materials to create a border is less time-consuming than the other options, and you can easily tidy up the materials should they come out of place. Dig a shallow trench, only a few inches deep and pour in a layer of sand, pea gravel or landscaping glass to create a tidy, color-contrasting border. Pea gravel and landscape glass also add extra textural interest to your landscape design with their smooth, rounded shapes. If the borders get knocked out of place, simply rake or sweep them back into the trench for easy maintenance.


Using a mix of unconventional objects can help create an aesthetically pleasing and charming visual “break” along your garden bed borders or the border of a lawn. Some items include using a mix of old wine and beer bottles with the labels removed. Line up the bottles in a trench that sits at least a few inches deep, and place the bottles shoulder to shoulder for an attractive but unconventional border. Similarly, you can also use a range of other objects such as old wagon wheels or a collection of differently sized bowling balls to create a visual break. Space the items apart to create a larger border, and to minimize the number of objects you need.

About the Author

Paul Schuster began writing in 2006 and has published in "Gardening Life" and "Canadian Gardening." Schuster is the director of the Toronto Botanical Garden, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Horticulture from the University of Guelph. He leads gardening workshops for elementary school children.

Photo Credits

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