How to Install Landscape Timber Edging

  • 01 of 08

    Installing Landscape Timbers

    In this picture, landscape timbers are used as edging. Landscape timber edging is attractive.
    David Beaulieu

    Landscape timber edging is easy to install and creates an attractive, natural-looking frame for a flower border or perennial flower bed. Landscape timbers come in a few different shapes. Some are square-edged, like a fence post; some are almost oval in shape and have two wide flat sides and two narrow rounded sides; some have rounded sides but are more square in overall dimension, and some have square bottom edges and a rounded top. All landscape timbers should be pressure-treated to prevent premature rot due to ground contact. 

    Supplies Needed:

    • Edging stakes
    • String
    • Hand sledge or hammer
    • Hand edger
    • Shovel
    • Garden hoe or steel rake
    • Level or straight board
    • Tape measure
    • Saw
    • Drill-driver
    • Galvanized corner braces and screws
    • Galvanized mending plates and screws
    • #3 rebar (optional)
    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Mark the Border Path

    Picture: run string between 2 stakes to mark the border for landscape timber edging.
    David Beaulieu

    Tie one end of ​a string around an edging stake. Drive the stake into the ground at one end of the border planting. Walk to the other end of the border planting, then tie the string to another edging stake. Pull the string taut and line it up exactly where you want the edging to run, then drive the second stake into the ground.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Cut Through the Turf

    Picture of hand edger. For a small space, hand edgers may be easier to use than mechanical ones.
    Hand edger. David Beaulieu

    Use a hand edger to slice through the turf or other plantings just under the string, starting at one end and working to the other end. Remove the turf with a shovel. Note: If there is no turf or other plants in the path of your edging, you can skip this step. 

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Level and Tamp the Ground

    Remove sod to prepare edging. Using level, make sure the ground you just raked is even.
    David Beaulieu

    Prepare the ground at the edge of the border planting so that it is ready to receive the landscape timber edging. Use a shovel, a steel rake, or a garden hoe to dig out rocks, roots, and other obstructions along the edging's path.

    Walk over the loosened soil to pack it down. Add soil if necessary to bring the area up to the proper level, then pack it down again. Make sure the soil is firmly packed to prevent settling.

    Check for level as you go, using a carpenter's level or a straight board. The ground does not have to be exactly level according to a level; it must be flat and level with the surrounding area. 

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Cut the Timber Returns

    Landscape timbers need to be sawed for this project. Picture shows sawing of landscape timber.
    David Beaulieu

    Cut one full-length timber to make the two "returns" for the ends of your border planting. It is easiest to use a miter saw to cut timbers, but you can also use a hand saw or a reciprocating saw.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Construct the Corners

    Corner braces are form 'elbows' in building projects. As picture shows, corner brace is screwed in.
    David Beaulieu

    Join each cut return piece of timber to a full-length timber, using a galvanized metal corner brace and galvanized screws, to form a right-angle corner. The braces should be on the inside of the corners. 

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Place the Corner Pieces

    Border planting corner formed by 2 landscape timbers. As picture shows, they make a tidy corner.
    David Beaulieu

    Position each corner assembly at one end of the border planting so the long leg of the "L" is aligned with the string. 

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Install the Timbers

    Use galvanized mending plates for outdoor projects. Mending plates can unite timbers (picture).
    Galvanized mending plate. David Beaulieu

    Lay out straight timbers between the two corner assemblies. If the final straight piece will be shorter than 2 feet or so, shift the timbers so that they are centered between the corners and the two straight end pieces will be cut to roughly equal lengths. Mark one of the straight end pieces for cutting and cut it to length. 

    Join the cut end piece to the adjacent corner assembly with galvanized mending plates and screws. Do the same to connect the remaining full-length timbers along the entire run. When you reach the other corner assembly, measure for the end piece and cut it to length, then join it to the adjacent timbers. 

    If desired, secure the timber border to the ground by drilling 3/8-inch holes through the timbers and pinning the timbers to the soil with 12-inch lengths of #3 (3/8-inch-diameter) rebar driven with a hand sledge. 

    Remove the stakes and string to complete the project.