Sometime last year, I decided to create some defined bed spaces for the plants that were growing up near the house. Up to this point the plants just came out of the ground where they were planted and my husband and son had to mow and weed eat around them. I thought that it would look more unified if I defined these spaces, but I knew that I could not spend much money on the project. The first idea that came to me involved using the overgrowth of forsythia that was growing in another area of the yard. Accordingly, I cut some stakes down to six-inch pieces, drove them into the ground at intervals, and wove forsythia branches back and forth between them. I used a staple gun to staple the top branches to the stakes to keep them in place. I did not have to make any strong corners and it worked well going around curves. It looked a little different, but it had visual interest and did keep the beds separate from the rest of the yard. Though this edging was not as good at keeping the grass out of the beds (it also was difficult to weed eat around), it would probably still be in place had we not had some work done on the water lines. The work crews had to remove a portion of the edging to get to the pipes and at that point, it was too difficult to rework it.
Since we liked having the beds, I knew that I had to find another inexpensive, but sturdier idea. That is when I thought of using pieces of pallet wood. Accordingly, my son brought me some pallets and my husband graciously separated the boards from the pallet frame and cut them in to pieces about six to eight inches in length. With an eye to mixing the different wood shades, I pounded them into the ground with each side touching the side of the board next to it.
Obviously, this was physically demanding work and I could not complete it all in one day! After I had put in a large portion of the border, I was forced to wait a day or so to continue because of rainy weather. I am glad that I had not done the entire border prior to the rain coming because I was able to learn an important fact before moving forward. The rain had caused the wood to swell and as I had positioned them tightly against each other, the wood had no place to expand and began to bow out in the softened soil. I knew that I could not live with the border looking like this, so I pulled out a board here and there and worked everything back into a line. This did take some time, but I now knew to leave some give between the boards as I put the rest of the boarder in place.There were several areas along the edge of the house where the gutters emptied into black tubing buried just under the ground. This made it impossible to pound in the boards more than an inch or so at those spots -not enough depth to keep the boards upright. To overcome this problem, I took a length of plastic strapping that I had saved off of the packaging of something that was shipped to us and stapled this along the backs of the boards that spanned the tubing. This connected them to the boards on either side that were firmly in the ground and stabilized them. This is the end result of my labors. I added more bedding material after this photo, but you can still get an idea of how it looks. I have not had any more problems with the wood buckling out of position and my men have liked the ease it has given them in maintaining the yard. From the street, it almost looks like the beds are edged in old bricks and the effect is more pleasing than the appearance of the yard before the beds were put in place, so I am happy with the results. It was labor intensive, but a great option if you have more time than money!