What kind of edge restraints can I use for a gravel path?

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What kind of edge restraints can I use for a gravel path?
Edge restraints preserve the clean, straight lines of a gravel path. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Edge restraints serve a simple purpose, but have a big impact on the look and maintenance of a gravel path. They block encroaching grass, and keep the small stones in line so they don't scatter onto your lawn. There are a number of differed edge restraints you can use on a gravel path including bricks, stones and metal. Choose the type that complements the style of your landscape.

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Bricks or pavers

If your gravel path is a primary walkway in your garden, use bricks or pavers to create a more formal, structured look. The materials should sit 5 cm (2 inches) taller than the edges of the walkway to prevent gravel from spilling over in heavy rain. Set them over a foundation of compacted aggregate and sand to allow underground water to drain away. Place the bricks or pavers end-to-end for a narrow border or side-to-side for a broader border to accommodate curves.

Timbers

Landscape timbers offer a natural contrast to small, hard rocks. Use timbers on a straight or angled path to give it casual definition. Pressure treated to prevent rot, timber edging can last for as long as the walkway itself. Install the boards over a gravel foundation and bury them at least halfway into the ground for stability.

Stones

Natural stone edging accentuates the texture and colours of a gravel path. Irregularly shaped, medium-size fieldstones and flagstones give depth and a rustic quality to a landscape. Resistant to weather and erosion, well-laid stone edging calls for little to no maintenance. Install the stones over a bed of gravel to prevent them from sinking in the ground, and wedge small stones between large ones to stop weeds from growing through cracks.

Metal or Plastic

Preserve the simplicity of a gravel path with metal or plastic edging. Choose metal for straight paths and flexible plastic for curved edges. Install the strips by placing them against the edge of the path and hammering nail spikes through the pre-cut holes. Metal and plastic blend into the surroundings, serving the same purpose as other edge restraints without drawing attention to the edging itself.

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