How to lay timber for lawn edging

Written by tanya khan
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Laying edging around a lawn defines the area, reduces soil erosion, prevents weeds from creeping in or mulch from spreading out and enhances the overall appeal of the area. Although different types of materials used for edging are commercially available, landscape timbers are preferred by some because they are inexpensive and lend a rustic appearance to the space. The durable material creates a long-term project that does not need replacing for many years. Albeit heavy, landscape timber edging is simple to install.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rake
  • Powdered chalk
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow (optional)
  • Marker
  • Circular saw
  • Drill and 3/8-inch bit
  • 1-foot-long galvanised spikes
  • Sledgehammer

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  1. 1

    Remove or rake obstructions from the area over which you will lay timber for edging. Collect stones, rocks and plant debris. Spread powdered chalk over the cleared area to create an outline and give you an idea of how much timber you need.

  2. 2

    Dig a trench directly over the powdered chalk using a shovel. Keep the depth of the trench 1/2- to 3/4-inch shorter than the height of the edging boards and 2 inches wider. Collect the dirt in a wheelbarrow or create mounds next to the trench. Level the base of the trench so the edging is even when installed.

  3. 3

    Place a length of timber horizontally into the trench, starting at one corner. Lay another length against the previous one's end, and continue laying the lengths until you reach the second corner of the trench. To cut a length of timber to size, mark the point over it with a marker and cut directly over it with a circular saw.

  4. 4

    Drill a pilot hole at each corner of a length of landscape timber, and two evenly spaced in between using a 3/8-inch drill.

  5. 5

    Insert a 12-inch spike through a pilot hole and pound it hard until its top is in line with the surrounding wood. Repeat the procedure until you drive a spike through each hole. The spikes penetrate the timbers and grasp the soil below, keeping them in place.

  6. 6

    Inspect the edging to make sure it is stable and does not shift. Drill an additional hole and insert a spike through any part you want to reinforce. Pack dirt into any visible gaps between the trench and row of timbers.

Tips and warnings

  • Set a second row of timbers directly above the previous row for higher edging. Offset the joints so the seams of the two rows of timbers are not in line with each other. Drill a set of five pilot holes through each length, one at each end and two spaced evenly apart in the middle, and pound a 12-inch spikes through each. The spikes join the timbers above to those directly below.

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