Think Garden, Think Richard: Edging Products

Continuing my new series of articles for 2019, materials for a purpose, I am going to be discussing how best to choose the right Materials For Your Desired Purpose and how they best fit into the design of a space.

This month I want to investigate edging products.

Mowing strips are a great way to reduce the maintenance of your lawn and can be used very effectively to make a prescribed shape in a garden design. Traditionally mowing strips have been made of engineering bricks and can be laid to suit the shape. Rectilinear shapes lend themselves to stretcher course, and curves to header but it depends on the look you want. I like an old style red brick paver when I design a mowing strip for an older property, granite and sandstone setts look good too. It is important that the material used links in some way to the exiting materials in the garden, the property or proposed other new materials. A garden can soon become very busy looking with the use of lots of differing materials and colours that do not relate to each other. The strip not only keeps a good shape to a lawn but it prevents other materials such as planting or mulch migrating. Many traditional herbaceous borders in National Trust gardens will have a strip of paving in front for viewing the border but this is another way of achieving the mowing strip as well as providing somewhere to stand.

Definition between materials is a strong reason for needing to use edging in garden design. When you set out to design a garden space of any size there is the need to exercise control over the space, make some shape on the ground. For shape to be clear having a defined edge to work from is key. Edging in its many forms can provide this and good designers will pick the edging to complement the style of their design. Metal edging is good and over the years I have used many different types that slot or clip together. This is a cost effective way of constructing a metal edge and because they come in long lengths can be used to form great curves in my designs. Timber is good for definition too but be aware that it does not have the longevity of steel.

Material contrast is a great way to make a statement in garden design. Often we strive for harmony and cohesion in a designed space, whether it be a new kitchen, bathroom, living room or garden. Using strong contrast can give a very different feel to a space, but keep your colour palette simple. For example a very contemporary courtyard garden could have slate paving on the ground edged with white gravel pieces to make a strong contrasting colour statement about the space. This will command your attention and draw the eye. A softer way to contrast materials could be sandstone paving as the edge and washed Caledonian cobbles as a mulch in a minimal gravel with ornamental grasses garden. How you decide to contrast your edging materials is very dependent on the style of space you want to achieve.

Transition points are very important in the garden as they mark movement from one space to the next. An abrupt change from one material to another will work but sometimes it is good to be more subtle. Solid paving could stop forming the edge and stepping stones of the same paving could continue in gravel pieces to mark the gentle transition. The use of long strips of paving in gravel has become very popular and is a great way to make the gentle transition. The stone planks work well to indicate change of direction on the ground too. Think of them as stripes, laid width ways they will make the space feel wider and length ways longer and thinner.

For more in depth advice or garden design help please get in touch to arrange a consultation.