There is nothing like raw timber to give a rustic feel to a garden. Logs remind us of pioneers, log cabins, and cottages of the past, and offer a sense of connectedness with the soil. Using raw, untreated wood is also a green alternative to treated lumber and gives us an opportunity to make use of downed trees, unneeded firewood, or fallen branches instead of paying the garbage collector to haul them away.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Chalk dust, string or garden hose
- Large knife, machete, spokeshave or table saw
- Mallet or sledgehammer
Mark the outside perimeter of the space you want to edge with logs by dusting an outline in chalk or laying down a string or garden hose to the desired shape.
Use a sharp shovel to excavate the soil from a trench 3 to 6 inches wide and deep within the outline just created.
Cut logs to the desired height plus 1/3 that height to allow for burying them in the soil. For example, if you want a finished height of 12 inches, cut logs to 16 inches, which is 12 inches plus 1/3 of 12, or 4 inches.
Sharpen one end of each log using a sharp knife or machete, or by carefully shaving away the wood on a table saw.
Place the pointed end of each log down in the trench, and tap it with a mallet to bury 1/3 of its length and secure it in place.
Add another log next to the first in the same way. Continue putting each subsequent log closely against the previous log and tapping it in place as you go until the entire outline is complete.
Backfill and tamp the soil down firmly around the log edging after all the logs are in their finished positions.
Tips and warnings
- For a more interesting border, try pounding in the logs at different heights for variety.
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