Monthly Archives: December 2014

Doing it ourselves: the landscaping saga! Part one: Garden Edging

My loyal followers, I am sorry for being absolutely slack and not blogging much at all lately! We have been so exceptionally busy with a wicked combination of work, end-of-year madness and all of this landscaping.

After we fumbled our way though the letterbox construction and the fencing went up, we decided the next thing to start on would be the garden edging. We started on the easiest section on 20/11/14. We’re still not finished some sections!

There are a number of ways you can install garden edging but as per our landscaping plan we decided to stick with pavers. There are a couple of advantages to pavers:

  • they won’t rot, unlike sleepers and other kinds of timber garden edging
  • they won’t discolor or become brittle, unlike plastic garden edging
  • they provide a good barrier between the turf and the garden beds, limiting opportunities for the grass to invade the garden bed
  • they shouldn’t move out of place as easily as most other kinds of edging.

The downside is they can be time consuming to lay!

Materials:

  • Pavers. You want something solid the whole way through and roughly 200 x 100 x 50 mm in size. They come in a number of colours and can get them from most nurseries and hardware stores like Bunnings. They’re sometimes called a “havenbrick”. They tend to cost about $1 each but are available for less if you shop around. We brought ours from Turtle Nursery (85c each). To work out how many you will need, measure up all the lengths of where the bricks will go and divide by the length of the paver (usually 200 mm).
  • Cement. It’s hard to estimate the amount of cement you’ll need but there are lots of online calculators that can give you a rough idea, like this one.
  • Brickies sand. The landscape supplier should be able to tell you how much sand you’ll need depending on how much concrete you’re buying.

Tools:

  • trowel
  • either a wheelbarrow and shovel for mixing the cement, or a cement mixer
  • shovel for making the ground level
  • string line and pegs
  • string line spirit level
  • tape measure
  • rubber mallet
  • hammer and chisel, or angle grinder to cut pavers (if you have to)

Steps:

1. Level the ground as best you can with the shovel.

2. Set up a string line to help guide where your edging will go. You’ll need to use a peg to secure each end and stretch the line tight. Check that it’s level using a string line level and that the height of the string matches what your finished height of the edging will be.

3. Mix the concrete,

4. Start laying out the bricks. Plop a bit of the cement on the ground next to your string line and lay the paver on top, using the rubber mallet to tap it into place. Check that the edge and the top of the paver lines up with the string line. Check that the top of the paver is level as well (not tilted to one side or the other) using a small spirit level or the string line spirit level. Keep laying pavers, butting the ends together with no cement in between. When you’ve got a few in the line, go back and add extra cement to each side of the pavers, sloping the cement down on each side to help strengthen the line of pavers and keep everything in place.

20141122_085722a

Finished garden edging, looking down from above.

Finished garden edging, looking down from above.

Two lines of pavers to form the front garden bed.

Two lines of pavers to form the front garden bed. The garden bed will need to be dug out a little to make room for the plants.

Hints and tips:

  • You’ll be bent over all day- make sure you look after your back!
  • Try as best as you can to avoid having to cut pavers, but if you just can’t avoid it there are a few ways that work. Check out this for some ideas.
  • If you find you need to build the level up (we did!) you should try to get the brickwork laid on the hardest soil. For us, this meant laying on the natural clay. You can use extra cement to raise a paver up a little, but if you need to raise it a lot you may want to consider some retaining blocks or, do what we did and lay a left over house brick under the paver first.
  • It’s important to get the pavers in the right spot and get them as level as you can but don’t loose your marbles over it. By the time the hedge/grass/shrubs grow in around it you won’t notice that little mistake you made.
  • Go with the cement mixer if you can get your hands on one. Ask around, maybe a neighbour or a friend has one you can borrow? If not, they are available for hire.
  • Get lots of help!

 

Luke takes over the concrete mixing.

Luke takes over the concrete mixing.

James dad brings the wonderful invention of a cement mixer into the fold.

James’ dad brings the wonderful invention of a cement mixer into the fold.

James mum gets ready to lay MORE DAMN BRICKS.

James’ mum gets ready to lay MORE DAMN BRICKS.

Advertisements