How to build brick flower bed borders

Written by jaqueline girdner
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How to build brick flower bed borders
Look for old bricks on demolition sites. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

You can build a simple brick flowerbed border. You can also enhance the simple design by the shape of the border itself, the bricks you use or the way you lay the bricks. The basic steps will be the same. Plan with an eye to the border's purposes. You may want to repel invasive grasses and weeds, keep mulch and stones from washing from the flowerbed, give your garden a neat and graceful look or all of the above.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bricks
  • Sand
  • Spray paint
  • Stain
  • Rope or string
  • Hand spade or trench shovel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Level
  • Gloves

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  1. 1

    Design the border first. If you have an existing flowerbed, the border will simply outline this space. If you don't have an existing bed, look at your garden space and decide whether you want a rectangular, circular, wave form or other shape of bed. Think of all the ways you can lay bricks -- end-to-end or side-by-side, upright, sideways or flat even diagonal. Draw out plans.

  2. 2

    Choose the bricks. You can buy new bricks from a landscaping centre in a variety of colours. If those colours don't suit, you can stain the bricks. You might be able to find local free bricks in Internet classified ads or at nearby construction sites. You can even make your own bricks.

  3. 3

    Mark the area to be bricked. Outlining your work area is especially important if no flowerbed exists yet. Lay out a piece of rope or string outlining the shape you want to create. Stand back and look. Make any adjustments. Spray paint alongside the rope to create an outline marker.

  4. 4

    Calculate the materials you'll need and buy them. Multiply the number of bricks you'll be using in a metre of your chosen arrangement times the number of metres in the border, adding at least 10 per cent for leeway. You'll also need to figure out the amounts of sand, spray paint, stain and other materials you might use. Make a complete list before purchasing.

  5. 5

    Prepare the trench. Use a hand spade, trowel or trench shovel to dig a trench deep and wide enough to make room for the bricks in the arrangement you've chosen, adding an extra inch of depth for the levelling sand. Make the sides and bottom as square and level as possible.

  6. 6

    Fill the trench, adding at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) of sand at the bottom to keep the bricks level. Place the bricks carefully and tightly in the arrangement you have chosen. Straighten the bricks as you go, adjusting the sand to maintain an even level and pressing surrounding dirt in around the bricks.

  7. 7

    Finish your brick flowerbed border by tapping the bricks into place with a rubber mallet. Check the flatness of the surface of the bricks with a level or by eye. Check that all bricks are solidly in place by hand. Straighten and freshen any plants that may have been disturbed by the project.

Tips and warnings

  • Think about any future changes to the shape of an existing flowerbed before planning a brick border.
  • Consider using grout between bricks if your soil is subject to freezing.
  • Check if the planned brick border blocks access to water spigots or utility meters.
  • Be sure your lawnmower can move easily next to your planned border.

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