Your garden is a personal extension of you. Creating boundaries around and within your growing area is just as important as the plants that you choose to grow. While basic plastic edging is the norm with many gardeners, you can enhance your garden with a variety of boundary ideas that can serve a purpose beyond just keeping your soil in place.
Using mulch as a boundary where your garden meets your lawn is not only a simple, natural border solution, but can be very beneficial to plants as well. Mulch prevents soil erosion, keeps the soil from becoming compacted after a heavy rain, maintains moisture for better plant growth and stops weeds from taking over the garden. Wood mulch is available in different colours that can accent your plants, creating a uniquely colourful garden. Be aware that sunlight will fade mulch over time and it may need replacement every few years. Also keep in mind that heavy rain can wash mulch out of a garden, especially if the ground is sloped.
Treating your garden boundary with fencing can serve two purposes: highlighting the edges of the growing area and keeping animals from damaging your plants. One advantage of fencing is the wide selection of material, shapes, sizes, colours and decorative patterns available. If deer frequently visit your yard, 8-foot fencing is an ideal way to keep them out. Rabbits, and other small wildlife, can be kept out with a fence that stands about 2 feet, which is easy to step over so that you can access the area. Remember to dig your fencing into the ground to keep animals from digging underneath it to reach your plants. Always make sure that any fencing you put up meets local zoning requirements, especially if it is near a property line.
Paving stones come in an endless supply of colours, sizes and shapes, making them a great choice for enhancing the look of your garden boundaries while maintaining a low profile. Paving stones are ideal for creating borders within the garden by using them to make a pathway through the area, separating one part of your flower bed from another. Small paving stones of varying shapes are often partially buried to build a barrier around the outside of a garden. For more elaborate designs, you can use paving stones to build retaining walls around a garden that is located on ground that is higher than its surroundings, or use small walls to create boundaries up the side of a steep hill to deter erosion from heavy rain.
If you live in an area with poor drainage, or just want to elevate your garden for better viewing, incorporating landscape timbers as a boundary around your elevated growing space is a great idea. Landscape timbers give your garden a defined edge and help hold soil in place, making them popular for gardening on rooftops or in areas where the natural soil is too hard for roots to grow. Timbers can easily be cut and configured with any size garden and give your growing area a natural look. Make sure that the wood you use is treated so that it will not decay quickly because of moisture.