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Adding edging around your garden or landscape is as important as the garden itself. The edging frames your 11×8 garden much like a picture frame. A picture can be interesting and beautiful but it needs a frame to enhance its appearance, so it is with your garden.
There are various types of garden edgings. Many people prefer to use something heavy and permanent, like a low brick wall, or rocks set together with mortar. However, not everyone is physically capable of creating such a structure.
Bricks set freely can be just as effective. They can be placed in a simple line, end to end, or stacked in a double row, with gaps in between. They can also be set diagonally, leaning against each other for support.
Another attractive alternative is to decorate short lengths of board with old tiles. Tiles can often be purchased very cheaply from re-recycling places. Glue your choice of tile along the board using outdoor glue. On each end of the board, tack a peg with one end pointed. This will be used to push into the soil to support your board and keep it off the ground.
Bush rocks can also be used to give your garden that finished look. They need not be too big, unless you have plenty of muscle or help. You may be able to gather rocks from a friend’s farm, or from the bush if that is legal in your area. Otherwise, garden suppliers usually have plenty to choose from. This is something I did alongside my 11ft x 8ft garden shed and looked pretty good.
How about flowering plants or shrubbery to create a living border. Choose a plant that will be suitable for your climate and conditions. The pretty pink of alpine phlox is an attractive border and the plants can be divided and planted again and again. Many other plants can be propagated in this way, thus reducing the initial costs. Of course, your border will take a little more time to get established than if you bought all the necessary plants at once.
Gazanias are another hardy border plant that can be divided many times. Bulbs might seem like a good choice too, but remember that they will die down and leave your borders looking messy for ages. In addition, they remain dormant for at least six months, so if you plant anything else there you risk damaging the bulbs. Of course, you can dig them up and replace them with something else, but you may prefer a more permanent border edge to save on the workload.
If you have a larger garden, comfrey is a plant to consider using for an edging plant. Its thick growth habit will prevent any grasses intruding into the garden, and the leaves can be pulled for excellent mulch around roses or other plants. It has delightful, dainty flowers in season too. However, a small garden could be overwhelmed by more than one comfrey plant. In front of my wife’s 11×8 garden workshop they looked very good.
In a small garden attractive annuals like sweet alice, pansies, violas or petunias make great borders. For something a bit different, try an herb border. Then you can go out and pick your herbs any time you want. Chives have a crisp green colour that would make your garden sparkle while strawberries will entice the kids out into the fresh air to have a healthy snack.
Some people prefer to simply bevel an edge around their garden with the shovel. This is a good option if your lawn has the sort of grass with runners, like kikuyu. Those runners can be kept under control by chopping them off every so often with the edge of the shovel.