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What you'll need:
Edger or spade
Whether you’re building a new flower bed or trying to give your existing bed a fresh makeover, brick edging offers a clean finish to any garden area. Aside from the professional landscaping look it provides, brick edging helps to keep overgrowth at bay and works to prevent soil erosion.
Bricks are durable, long-lasting, and relatively easy to maintain, and if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, laying brick edging around your flower garden is a relatively simple DIY project. Doing the edging work yourself is also a cost-effective way to get the job done. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, the steps below will help you achieve the flower bed aesthetic of your dreams.
Prepping to Lay Brick Edging
When preparing to lay brick edging, the primary work you’ll need to do ahead of time will be to assemble the supplies needed to complete the project successfully, envision and plan the layout, and purchase the bricks. When it comes to the tools and supplies, you should have no trouble finding everything you need at any local store that sells home improvement equipment. Planning the layout will also help you determine how many bricks you need to purchase. Bricks can cost $2 to $3 per linear footor more depending on where you live, and it may be more worthwhile to purchase a pallet of bricks if you’ll be edging multiple flower beds.
How to Lay Brick Edging in 8 Steps
Plan to dedicate one to two afternoons to complete this project, during a week or weekend of dry, warm weather. Following the steps below will help to ensure your flower beds have a sharp and uniform look to them by the time you’re finished.
Plan Out Your Design
Before you get started on this project, it’s essential to map out exactly how you want the bricks to lay. This will be especially helpful if you plan on incorporating curves into the overall shape, or need to account for corner sections, as you’ll likely need to cut a few bricks to accommodate the design.
Begin by laying out the bricks in the way you imagine the finished product to look like.
Once completed, take your garden stakes and begin inserting them into the ground, following along the edge where the bricks have been placed. Space the stakes out by two feet or so.
Once you’ve driven all the stakes into the ground, take mason’s line and wrap it around the first stake, then string it along until you reach the next stake.
Wrap the line around the second stake, then continue along and repeat the process until you’ve roped off the entire area surrounding your flower bed. Because you’ll need to dig a trench, the stakes and mason’s line will act as a blueprint to guide you as you dig.
Mark and Cut the Bricks For Curves and Corners
As mentioned earlier, depending on the layout of your flower bed, you may need to cut a few bricks at an angle to be placed in curved sections or as corner pieces. If your design doesn’t fit that description and you don’t need to cut any bricks, you may skip this step.
Now that you’ve laid out your brick pattern, take note of any gap spaces that need custom brick shapes.
In the places where the bricks are not touching and have a gap between them, lay one of your bricks on top of the two with the unfilled space between them.
Using your masonry pencil, mark on both ends of the brick what the shape of the space looks like that the brick will need to be inserted into. It will likely be narrow on one end of the brick, and expand outward on the other end, like the shape of a triangle.
Connect all the lines on the edges and face sides of the brick so you have a clear idea of how you’ll need to cut it to shape.
Very carefully, use your circular saw to cut the brick by following the lines you drew. It’s advisable to wear safety glasses and gloves while executing this step.
Once the brick has been re-shaped, make sure that it fits into place.
Pro tip: If the brick gets dusty while you’re cutting it, pour a little water on it to help with visibility.
Till the Flower Bed Soil (Optional)
Photo: Christine Bird / Adobe Stock
If you’re building a new flower bed or need to refresh your existing garden bed, take the time to till or add new soil before you start digging the trench or laying bricks down. If you wait to cultivate the soil until after you’ve dug the trench or installed the brick border edging, you may create more clean-up work for yourself if the dirt falls into your trench or onto your newly placed bricks.
Dig the Trench
Photo: Ilia Baksheev / Adobe Stock
Now that you have the mason’s line wrapped around the perimeter of your flower bed and brick edging, you can move the bricks to the outside of the mason’s line to begin digging the trench.
Place a tarp on the ground to transfer soil onto as you dig.
Using an edger or spade, start making straight cuts into the ground to dig the sides of the trench. Repeat this on the opposite side.
As you go, be sure to dig a flat-bottomed trench, as opposed to rounded, so the bricks will lay flat.
Continue digging until you’ve gotten past the topsoil. A change in the color of the soil will indicate when you’ve passed the topsoil layer.
Use your tamper to pack down the dirt after you dig out the bottom. The trench should be about six inches deep to allow for a layer of paver base (approximately two to three inches) and one inch of stone dust. The bricks will sit on top of those layers and be level with the ground.
Add in the Paver Base and Stone Dust
Photo: thomas woollard/EyeEm / Adobe Stock
Now that your trench has been dug out, it’s time to add the paver base and stone dust.
Begin spreading a layer of the paver base (a mixture of coarse, gravel aggregate) into the trench.
As you spread it out, use the tamper to pack it down as you go. The final product will be a layer of paver base that’s two to three inches thick when packed down.
When you’ve added the paver base, you can begin mixing the stone dust and Portland cement.
In your wheelbarrow, mix the stone dust and cement at a 6:1 ratio.
Lightly spray the mixture with your hose, taking care not to soak the combined stone dust and cement. A light coating of water will make mixing and spreading the stone dust and cement a less strenuous process.
Begin spreading the stone dust and cement mixture on top of the paver base.
Lay Down the Bricks
Begin laying bricks on top of the stone dust and cement mixture, pressing each brick into place by gently hitting it with the rubber mallet.
The goal of this step is to make sure each brick is level with the ground and flush with the bricks on either side.
Add the brick pieces you cut earlier for corner sections as needed.
Fill the Crevasses with Sand and Wash Off Bricks
Once you’re satisfied with the overall look of the edging, use sand to fill in any gaps between, behind or in front of the bricks.
Brush off any excess sand or dust from the surface of your brick edging.
Once you’ve cleared any debris, rinse off the bricks with a hose.
Plant Flowers (Optional)
Photo: Christine Bird / Adobe Stock
Now that you’ve successfully laid the brick edging around your flower bed, start planting your favorite flowers and shrubs to complete the garden and enjoy it for years to come.