Paver edging, also called a paver edging restraint, is a rigid plastic building material used to secure sand-set brick or concrete pavers and the boundaries they create for patios or walkways. When building a paved surface, the paver edging is laid down after the compactible gravel base which serves as a boundary to keep the sand layer in place and facilitate paver installation. It also extends the life of the patio or walkway by keeping the sand and the base from washing away over time.
Paver edging ideas can be straight, angled, or curved. The best edging for pavers is flexible and can be easily manipulated into shapes or curves. If curved pavers are desired, the paver edging can be cut to allow it to bend into gentle curves. If you want to install edging pavers on a slope, you will use the same instructions provided, but you should also take into consideration your water drainage needs. Though you don't need to use cement on the paver edging itself, you may want to use paver edge mortar to hold vertical pavers in place or if you're edging an asphalt driveway.
Made from recycled vinyl or another rigid plastic, paver edging is similar to the flexible plastic edging used to create boundaries for lawns and planting areas, but it is a heavier duty, contractor-grade product. Rather than being sold in long rolls, paver edging comes in rigid 6-foot lengths that are held in place with nylon-coated spikes that are driven through the edging and into the ground.
When the patio is finished and surrounded by lawn or planting beds, the paver edging disappears from view. While sand-set paver patios are frequently built without paver edging, a patio with secured brick edging is usually more stable and long-lasting when these edging strips are installed and properly anchored.
Using Paver Edging in Construction
Paver edging is always installed as part of a larger project, building a sand-set paver patio or laying a brick walkway. After the patio is laid out and a gravel base is installed, leveled, and compacted, the paver edging goes down, but never on top of the sand—the sand needs to be scraped away. The lengths of paver edging are installed over the gravel base to form a boundary for the paver sand that will be spread out and leveled before brick or stone pavers are laid.
You may wonder if you should install edging before or after pavers. Occasionally, contractors or DIYers choose to install the edging after the patio pavers are laid, tucking the edging under the bricks before anchoring it to the ground. Although this is not technically "correct," it makes for a somewhat more forgiving building process, since anchoring the paver edging first before requires a great deal of layout precision if you want to avoid cutting bricks at the edges.
Equipment / Tools
- Hand saw or handheld power saw
- Hammer or hand maul
- 8 6-foot lengths of paver edging
- 28 8-inch nylon spikes
Begin Patio/ Walkway Construction
Complete the preliminary steps of patio or walkway construction by laying out the area with stakes and layout strings, excavating the building site, and laying and compacting a gravel base. Make sure to refasten layout strings and measure them to make sure they precisely outline the finished patio or walkway.
Position the Paver Edging
Place lengths of paver edging in the desired location, taking steps to make sure they are carefully aligned with the layout strings. Ideally, the paver edging should be installed to perfectly match the desired size and shape of the patio or walkway. Use a hand saw or handheld power saw, such as a jig saw, where you need to cut partial pieces of edging.
Where the patio will have curved edges, the edging can be shaped to conform by cutting the connecting tabs along the edge of the edging. This removes the rigidity of the edging and allows the vertical flanges to bend to make curves. Some care is needed to hold the edging to the desired shape as you anchor it with spikes. A helper can be useful for this step.
Anchor the Edging
Drive 8-inch nylon spikes through the holes on the edging and into the ground. Drive spikes at the ends of each length of edging, and about every 18 inches in between. Curves will require more spikes. Be careful while driving the spikes with a hammer, as they can sometimes snap.
Complete the Patio or Walkway
Now, return to patio/walkway construction by laying a sand bed, setting the bricks or pavers, and filling cracks with paver sand.
As you work across the patio or walkway, you may find that the last pieces of paver edging need to be adjusted slightly if you want to avoid cutting pavers. This is a fairly easy matter of prying up the spikes, moving the edging, then driving the spikes again.
Finish the Edges
After the patio or walkway is completed, the exposed edges where the paver edging is visible can be covered up with pieces of sod if the patio adjoins the lawn, or with soil and mulch if it adjoins a planting bed.
How do you keep edging pavers from sinking?
Soil with poor drainage can be a problem, creating tipping and sinking pavers. The use of a paver edging restraint helps to solve this issue. However, to further reduce this problem, it's critical to make sure the gravel base is tamped down and properly compacted to eliminate air pockets and create a solid, stable base. In addition, when there is an edging failure, it could be that the base was not extended out far enough for the patio or walkway itself.
Should pavers be flush with the ground?
Pavers should be flush with the ground for a smooth look and feel. The paver edging, however, should definitely not be flush with the pavers. It shouldn't be too high or too low, but the top of the edging should come up about a 1/2 inch from the bottom of the pavers.
Do you start in the middle when laying pavers?
Should you leave gaps between pavers?