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I’m On The Edge, Man!!!

When last we joined Amy, she had narrowly escaped disaster by getting her flowers in the ground mere moments before a thunderstorm….


The ensuing downpour was good for the greenery, but it also put “Phase 4: Add a border” on hold for a while.

Fortunately, we’re back. So let’s get this party re-started! I’m such a nerd.

So, here’s what I chose for the edging element of my flower bed. We don’t want those rascally flowers climbing outta there.

It comes in a 10-foot roll & looks like the tippy tops of a picket fence strung together with wire. It cost about $7 per roll — I’m not a receipt/budget breakdown person. The best you’re gonna get here is a ballpark estimate.

I think this is more fair anyway, because what my hardware-store-of-choice sells is almost certainly going to be different from what your store carries & their pricing. Besides, you don’t want to copy me exactly anyway. Your project will cost a different amount from mine simply because it’s a different project.

Anyhoo — I liked this edging because it ties in with the simple look of our wooden steps, porch, etc. To make it even more cohesive, I hit it with a quick layer of paint. We already had the paint from our porch gate project.

(Don’t worry, coverage of that is coming up.)

Dan snapped this candid of me & Sonia painting the edging. Yes, she helped. And got COVERED in paint. Which is why I have a DIY blog, not a parenting blog…

Whatever. She loves helping & she’s always VERY supervised. Plus, the first time I had to trim dried paint out of her hair, I cried. Tears of joy.

I sincerely hope she becomes a DIY girl just like mama. Frankly, after being enlisted as free labor for the first 18 years of her life, I don’t see how she’ll be able to avoid it… it’s bound to get under her skin. (Not just on it.)

Here’s an action shot of me painting the edging. Oooh… boring. But, I figured I’d include it, since this pic happens to illustrates a couple of the details involved in painting this kind of edging. First of all, you want to do both sides. The back side will be visible, even if your flower bed isn’t right in front of your porch, like ours is.

Second, make sure you get some paint in between ALL the pieces of wood. See how I missed one right where the paintbrush is? Didn’t notice it until much later. D’oh!

Tip: Don’t be a doof — double check your work before washing out that paintbrush!

Oh, also, I didn’t bother to use a primer because I figure it’ll look all weathered & natural once the paint begins to fade a bit & I like that. However, untreated wood — especially the cheap, rough cedar pieces used for this kind of edging — soaks up paint like crazy. If you’re trying to achieve a more polished look or don’t have a bunch of paint to waste, a quick spray of primer will make this process more permanent and less absorb-y.

Also, I didn’t waste time/effort/paint trying to really cover the bottom part of the edging, because it’s going to be buried in dirt anyway. Why bother? I just kind of let my paint trail off toward the bottom of each piece of wood. I had Sonia’s help with some of them, so a few got totally painted (read: seriously drenched), but for the most part, they were bare-ish near the bottom.

Ten OCD points to anyone who can tell me what I did “wrong” while painting the edging. Lemme rephrase: Ten OCD points to anyone who can tell me what I PURPOSELY did wrong while painting the edging… 

I have my reasons for making such an obvious error. They will soon be revealed…

Tip: Keep people interested in your boring stories by enticing them with promises of better tales ahead!

After I finished painting & had hosed down the kiddo, it was time to dig again. This time: trenches!

If you decide to use another type of edging this step might be wholly unnecessary. Get it? Wholly? Trenches? But seriously, folks… I only had to dig a little & to me it was worth it. Plus, you should see my guns. Like Ah-nold, I tell ya.

Here is my bee-u-tee-ful trench. I did it myself! Actually it was the easiest thing ever thanks to our soft Pennsylvania soil. I just used a flat shovel and my foot.

OK, so this is actually a shot of me digging out a different garden, but the process is the same, so I figured why not use this photo…? Besides, look how shapely my leg looks. And even my dirty, Birkenstocked, Birkenstized? foot looks pretty. Of course I’m going to post this pic. Probably repeatedly.

Tip: Don’t wear Birkenstocks while doing potentially toe-severing chores.

When digging my trench (I love saying that) I made sure to leave ample room at the corners to allow for a little error. I wanted it to look tidy, but not perfect, so I didn’t measure the trench for depth. I just dug down 3 or 4 inches and tried to stay relatively straight.

Then I placed half the edging in the trench and ran up to the porch to get a bird’s eye view. It looked pretty straight, and like I said, I’m going for an imperfect look, so it wasn’t that hard to get it right.

RENTAL HOUSE RULE #5: DON’T GET NITPICKY. Chances are, your rental property has seen better days. So, the more “perfect” your projects look, the junkier your house will look by comparison. Try for middle ground in terms of perfection. Subtle improvements will elevate the look of a rental property. Obvious improvements just look like lipstick on a pig.

It was lookin’ good, if I did say so my own self. So I put the other roll in place, trimmed off the excess with a pair of tin snips.

Tip: You should totally own tin snips. They rule.

Then I hammered the edging into the ground using a small, flat piece of wood and a regular old hammer. I might have used a rubber mallet, if I had one. Alas, I do not. And this little trick is as old as time.

It provides you a wide, flat surface for hammering & also keeps the edging from splitting when you hit it.

Here’s a close up…

Again, I wanted a natural, imperfect look. So I didn’t really care if they appeared level. I just whacked ’em in there good. I ended up with all different heights & leans, which was the look I was going for. If you like a more uniform look, just use a level when you hammer in the edging. Start at the center & work toward the edges.

(My dad would SO make me level them if he was in on this project.)

Then I tucked the soil I’d removed for the trench, minus grass, behind the edging to stabilize it and finished up by reinforcing the corners and a few spots along the perimeter with metal stakes. Then I ran some of my leftover weed-blocking fabric staples through the edging roll wire and into the newly packed soil barricade. All in all, I’d say that sucker ain’t goin’ nowhere.

I somehow neglected to get a pic of the highly sophisticated staple-insertion procedure, but you can imagine. See the wires holding the edging together in these last 2 pics? I just looked for gaps between the wood & lower wire and ran a gardening staple through the gap & stuck it into the soil. Viola.

Then I topped everything off with a final layer of mulch and stepped back to appraise my work.

Not bad if I do say so myself!

It’s hardly the Queen’s Royal Gardens, but it’s WAAAAAAYY better than it was before.

And once it fills in? Jump back, Jack!!

NEXT POST: DETAIL ORIENTATED? Pulling it all together.



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