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How to Lay Edging Stones – A Pro Guide to Gorgeous Garden Edges

Laying edging stones is essential for the driveway, path, hard surface, or visual borders you are building around your property. While they may seem like something you lay as boundaries for the aforementioned areas, the edging stone has a crucial role to play.

For one, the surfacing you have as the driveway will be contained within the boundaries of the edging stones you lay. 

Edging stones also serve as a visual beautifier. They give driveways or gardens crisp and obvious lines, which help to define boundaries between different sections of your property. Whether it’s the grass section, the flower bed or the driveway itself, the rugged look of concrete is aesthetically captivating as it helps add a touch of class to your work. 

This article looks at how to lay edging stones and turn your property from a distinct mess into a therapeutic piece of heaven for yourself, your family, and your pets.  

What Are Edging Stones?

Think of edging stones as a sort of kerb. The fundamental difference here is the location. Whereas you may find kerbs at the edge of roads and other major infrastructure meant for public use, most people usually associate edgings with footpaths and driveways. 

Normally, a project dealing with garden edging stones will have straight edging stones. However, these straight stones are accompanied by rounded ones to soften their hard look. They also protect car tyres on driveways. 

Depending on your objective, there are different ways to lay concrete edging kerbs. You can lay them in the soil, on a mortar bed, or grass or lawn edge. 

Whenever laying a driveway or footpath, edging stones are supposed to stay in line and stop the base from spreading into the lawn whenever weight is applied to it.  

Benefits: How Garden Edging Stones Will Improve Any Area

There are many benefits garnered from edging, such as

Protect Lawns: Growing and sustaining a lawn can be tedious; no one should step or dirty it. Protect your turf by creating a visual barrier between it and walkways. Edging encourages people to walk on designated paths and not on the lawn.

Maintain Driveways: Edging helps maintain driveways by preventing them from falling apart or cracking, especially if made from brick pavers or other paving like concrete or macadam.

Beautify paved areas: Garden edging stones enhance the beauty of paved areas by making them stand out. They blend in well with the paved area and lawn; or mix and match for a rustic/ contemporary style.

Different Types of Garden Edging

There’s a wide selection of edging, including block paving, wood and metal edging.

1. Block Paving

It’s a classic design that is the most versatile. You can easily create a driveway or footpath out of them and then use the same material for the edging. 

The appeal of block paving stone comes from its easy maintenance. A power washer is enough to blast the grime off. 

Block paving stones are available in various shapes, sizes and colours. They can suit whatever design you have for your footpath or driveway.

This short video shows how to lay block paving edges

2. Concrete Pin Kerbs

Another alternative to the concrete blocks found on public roads is the slimmer profile of the concrete pin kerbs. They are an excellent choice for a low-profile garden edging option. 

However, they don’t come in many variations, the only ones being the flat top and the rounded top. Other than that, it’s the same old grey block of concrete that will outlast you.

3. Boot Kerbs

As quintessential decorative edging stones, boot kerbs are small, almost square blocks whose length and width are the same, 125 mm x 125 mm with a depth of 100 mm. Their rounded faces are perfect for driveways or walkways.

They are available in various styles and colours, making them suitable for more than just edging. This stone type is best for the edge of a lawn or garden and flower beds though they are also useful in the driveway. 

4. Natural rocks

This stone type offers the best edge if you love the wild. It takes the form of river rocks, boulders or pea gravel. Ensure you sit each stone close to the other to create a tight wall or edge devoid of gaps or soil through which weeds can grow. Cement the base of these rocks to firm them up.

5. Brick edging

This conventional landscaping finish greatly complements your brick home. A brick edge is not easy to install because the type of bricks used are regular ones. Being softer, these standard bricks are more susceptible to breaking easily.

How to Lay Concrete Edging Stones Alongside a Driveway or Pathway

Before you lay the concrete edging stone, you need the following tools to make the process a success.

Let’s get into it. 

Step 1: Workout/calculate the heights

The first step for laying edging stones is defining where the stones themselves will go. A clear foundation allows you to visualize the edges of the driveway or pathway. You can mark the area you want to lay the edging stones using string and wooden pegs. 

Typical edging stones have a width of around 150 to 250 mm. How high you want the stones to project off the ground is a matter of preference. However, you need to factor in around 50 to 75 mm for the concrete base.

Step 2: Dig a trench

The concrete edging stones you are going to lay need a support base to cement them in place. This means digging a straight trench with a shovel to lay the stones in and compact them into place using the back of a trowel.

The depth of the trench depends on the kind of stones you choose, the intended position or height you want them to protrude off the soil, usually halfway through each stone and the concrete base of 50 mm to 75mm.  

Step 3: Place a line the length of the trench

The string line acts as a strict height and straightening guide when placing the edging stones. Use the rubber mallet to tap the stakes into the ground and tie the string line to the height you want the stones to reach. 

To ensure a straight line, use a spirit level on the string line or an app on your phone. Remember to account for any slopes in the path and use the string line to set the levels according to the gradient.

Step 4: Mix concrete to bed the edging

This step depends on the type of concrete you choose. If you make the concrete yourself, mix four parts aggregate, two parts sand and one part cement. Use as little water as possible; the mix should be a stiff or semi-dry mix, as this is preferable to a wetter mix, which diminishes the strength of the concrete.

The proportions are a volumetric guide for the bed on which you want to lay the concrete. Place concrete into the trench while ensuring you dig a base of at least 50 mm to 75 mm next to the lawn. Use the trowel to smooth over the concrete and cement it to form a level bed where the plastic edging stone will be placed. 

Step 5: Bed the new edging in the concrete

Your next task is how to lay paving edging into the trench. Ascertain that the stones sit on one edge towards the front of the trench. The space towards the back is essential; therefore, leave about 50 mm space between the front face and the path. 

Start laying the stones flat into the partly consolidated bed, and then tap them on the top surface to achieve the correct level by using the rubber mallet.

The first two stones enable the rest to be in line, particularly where the surface is sloping. Use a spirit level to check levels at the top, front and rear of each stone in the line. Further, determine whether they conform to the ground level gradient before setting the next stone. 

Step 6: Haunching concrete–laying concrete in front and behind the stones/edging

After laying concrete edging stones in the entire length of the trench, now it’s time to reinforce their positioning by placing concrete in front and behind the stones to cover at least half of each stone. An edging stone always experiences pressure from the front. This is why extra haunching is necessary at the back of each stone, covering at least half of each of them. 

Also, the gap between the lawn and the brick edging stones has to be filled with concrete. When you complete placing all the concrete, remember to trowel it down for a smooth finish.

Precautions to Take After Laying Paving Edging

It’s easy to knowingly or unknowingly destroy or deface all the hard work you’ve put into laying paver edging. That’s why you need to take precautions whenever you do this.

Note that how to install concrete edging pavers is dependent upon your concrete. Though it’s a hardy material, concrete is barely so when freshly laid. Adhere to these precautions for success with the concrete.

Avoid placing any weight or strain on the concrete until fully cured. This can be by walking on the paving or driving on the freshly laid driveway surface. The excess weight placed on the driveway deforms the concrete.

When placing the concrete, don’t drop it from a height of more than a metre to avoid disintegration. 

Don’t do any concrete work when it’s raining. Also, if you’ve just laid fresh concrete and there’s a forecast of rain, ensure the concrete Is covered until the rain stops or is fully cured. 

Conclusion

Laying edging stones in the garden transforms your lawn and driveway into a little treasured patch. This guide has made it clear that this is a DIY project worth undertaking. While it may not be exactly technical, mistakes happen, particularly if you want perfectly laid out flower beds, garden stones or well-defined boundaries. 

If you would like someone more experienced to handle the laying of concrete edging stones for you, consider engaging the services of a reliable local tradesperson.