Define Your Garden Space

Gardens, particularly an English “cottage garden” can get quite unruly unless the space has a definite border of brick or timber. I have used cross ties, landscaping timbers, limestone rock and old brick to contain and frame a garden. Fallen logs are a favorite as well.

Brick and fencing contain this corner of my garden
Brick and fencing contain this corner of my garden
Gardening timbers add visual interest
Simple gardening timbers add visual interest here
Old discarded railroad ties can hold back vigorous growth
These old discarded railroad ties can hold back vigorous growth

And though I have used old railroad ties in the past, it is worth noting that “new” railroad timbers are infused with creosote, which can be toxic to both plants and people (if used indoors, like a greenhouse).  If you can attain very old timbers, they have a weathered look and most of the creosote would have long leached out of them.  If you want to be extra cautious, line your plant beds so that the timbers don’t come in direct contact with the soil.

Limestone rock makes an effective border
Limestone rock contains this corner of the yard

If you have access to woodland areas, which are common in our part of the country, you may find an old fallen log that would fit your bill. Cedar works especially well since it takes many years for it to decompose. Be kind to your woodland plants and animals and don’t deplete your wooded area of all fallen trees.  Plants, animals, and even insects depend on those logs.  And really there is nothing quite more beautiful than an old rotted log with ferns and lichens growing all over it.

What do you use to shore up a border? Please return to My Garden Buddy and enter the conversation.  Thanks.


© Wade Kingston

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