Brick border edging is a great way to add color and interest to your garden and is a great DIY for beginners. It also makes for a beautiful and charming border around your flower beds. For smaller flower beds, this DIY can be completed in a day.
Flower Bed Edging Before
If you look in the back corner of this listing photo, you can see the large green bushes by the sliding door. We pulled out the large shrub and discovered the brick border that was covered in dirt and hidden for many years. We also removed the ewes lining the back of the garage and installed another brick border.
Here is the flower bed once the bricks were pulled up. I reused all of the bricks and installed them properly.
How to Install Brick Border Edging in Your Garden
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1 | Gather Materials for the Project
Brick is the perfect material for brick border edging for a few reasons:
• Cost – This is probably the biggest factor. If you are looking at using brick edging as a decorative feature, then you should probably go with something inexpensive. However, if you plan to use it as a structural element, then you might want to invest more money into the material. I found a pile of old bricks in our yard and was able to reuse them for the border edging. Facebook marketplace or Craigslist is a great place to find inexpensive bricks for this project.
• Durability – Brick edging is meant to last for years and has been tested to withstand weather and other elements.
• Appearance – Brick edging comes in a variety of colors and styles. You can find anything from simple bricks to elaborate designs.
• Maintenance – Brick edging requires little maintenance, just weed around the bricks occasionally.
2 | Lay Out the Brick Edging
Once you have chosen the type of brick edging you would like to use, you will need to lay out the design. Your brick border edge could be completely straight or it may have a soft s-curve. To visualize the design of your brick border, use a hose to trace the edging. The bricks can be laid horizontally or vertically. My personal preference is a vertical brick border, but it does require more bricks.
Here is a vertical brick border we created in the backyard of our second home.
3 | Create a Guide
When installing a straight brick border, use a string line as a guide! I have laid brick edging in the past without a guide and my line would always start to curve. This time, I took the following steps to keep the edging straight:
- Determine the width of the flower bed and where you want the brick edge to end (24 inches)
- Measure 24 inches from the metal edging on the other side of the flower bed (measuring from the exterior of your house also works)
- Mark 24 inches with a stake in the center and both ends of the flower bed
- Connect the three stakes with a string to create a guide for the edge of the brick border
If your flower bed border is curved, I recommend using a hose as your guide while laying the bricks.
4 | Dig a Trench to Install the Bricks
I used a flat spade shovel to dig a trench for the bricks, but a garden edger tool is the best tool to use, especially when sod needs to be removed. The first flower bed butted up to our pool surround. I dug a trench so the top of the brick would sit flush with the concrete surround.
I installed another brick border around my English garden. You can see the string line I used as a guide for the trench.
5 | Add A Layer of Crushed Gravel
Next, you will add a few scoops of the paver base.
Paver base helps with drainage and leveling of the bricks. If you would like to lay down a weed barrier fabric before the crushed gravel, that is an option and can help prevent weed growth.
The crushed gravel acts as a barrier between the bricks and soil and prevents erosion of the brick. I recommend adding gravel as you lay each individual brick and not laying down a bunch of gravel at once.
Some people use mortar to build their brick edging which creates a more permanent structure and helps to prevent weeds from growing between the cracks. Because I only installed a single row of bricks, I chose not to use mortar. Honestly, I don’t mind pulling weeds if they grow near the bricks because I have to pull the weeds in the flower bed anyway!
6 | Install the Brick Edging
When laying the brick, there are a few different areas where you want to pay attention.
Make sure the brick border remains level.
Lay the row of bricks so they are level horizontally (unless you are installing it on sloping ground). As you begin adding more bricks to the border, use a longer level (I used 24-inch) and keep the bubble in the center. You may have to dig out more dirt to lower the brick or add more paver base to raise it up.
One of our flower beds slope down gently on one side, so it was not always completely level.
Each brick is slightly sloped away from the flower bed.
You want the brick to be vertically sloped away (slightly) from the flower bed.
Sloping the brick slightly will allow water to drain away from the flower bed. If it was sloped towards the flower bed, you could get flooding in the bed.
Keep the brick row from curving (if it is a straight border).
Continuously check that you are making a straight line, ideally by the string line guide you have set up.
When I laid the first brick border edging at our house, I had to restart 3 times because the row began to curve. Chris had a great idea to use a fence board as a guide and it worked perfectly. If I saw a slight curve or a brick out of place, I used a flat shovel to tap the bricks back into place.
Even when I created the string line guide, I ended up with a slight curve! Luckily, it is pretty easy to tap bricks forward and realign.
7 | Tap Each Brick with Rubber Mallet
If the next brick is too low when you go to install it, add more gravel. I like to add enough gravel so that the brick is slightly higher than the vertical row of bricks. Then when I use the mallet to smack it into place to become even with the row of brick edging.
7 | Repeat to Complete the Brick Border
Continue to lay the bricks until you have completed the brick edge border! You may find that the final brick doesn’t fit perfectly in the last spot. There are a few ways to remedy this issue:
- Flip a brick on its side for half of the width to complete the border – this will require a deeper trench to keep a consistent height
- Use a saw suitable for masonry and cut the brick to fit perfectly
- Fill the remaining border with gravel or soil – I would only suggest this if it is an inconspicuous area or will be covered by foliage
Once. the bricks are laid rake the soil to fill in any dips from the trench. Brush sand into the cracks of the border to stabilize the bricks.
Charming Brick Border Edge Reveal
I absolutely love how the green plants look against the distressed white brick of our house and the charming brick border! We will be adding a small fence around the pool equipment and fresh sod in the coming weeks that will complete the look of these charming flower beds.
Here is another view of that area just a few weeks later with fresh grass!
And a few weeks later with the new fence hiding the pool equipment.
Here is my latest brick border installation around our English garden. The bricks give a defined edge to the garden while still feeling casual.
I also installed a brick border around the concrete skirt of our inground pool. I have a complete tutorial detailing this easy DIY project.
This project takes a little patience but it is pretty simple once you get the hang of it! Plan on spending a few hours completing this project.
Brick Border Purchase List
- Gardening gloves
- Bricks (similar)
- Garden Edger
- Flat Shovel
- Handheld Shovel
- Paver Base
- Rubber Mallet
- Short Level
- Long Level
- Measuring Tape
- String line & Stakes
- Additional edging guide options: Garden hose or scrap of wood
If you’re planting flowers, choose perennials that bloom year after year. Perennial flowers last longer than annuals, so you’ll enjoy blooms throughout the season. Choose bulbs that flower early in spring, such as tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths. You can also plant bulbs later in the summer, when temperatures are cooler.
Looking for more DIY’s to Try Outside?
- How to Camouflage Your Meter Box with Paint
- How to Install Brick Pavers Around a Pool | DIY
- Build Your Own Composting System at Home
- How to Build a Simple Raised Garden Box | DIY
- Hardy Perennial Plants to Split & Share with Friends
- How We Painted Our In-Ground Pool
- Create an English Garden in Your Backyard
- 5 Easy Outdoor DIY Projects to Try This Year
Commonly Asked Questions
Can you lay bricks on soil?
You can lay bricks directly on the soil but I would not recommend it. Adding a base layer of gravel will prevent the bricks from eroding. The paver base helps with drainage and keeps the bricks in place.
How much does it cost to lay a brick border?
The cost of a brick border really depends on the size and design of your border and what you already own. For our brick border project, we owned all of the tools and a pile of old bricks in our backyard. The only material we had to purchase was the paver base, which is about $5 per bag.
If you don’t own some of the tools, reach out to friends and family and ask if you can borrow theirs. If you don’t have any bricks, make it known to friends and family that you are looking. Sometimes a simple Facebook post asking if anyone has bricks they are willing to give away is all you need to secure affordable or even free materials.
Do you need mortar for brick edging?
No! Brick edging does not require mortar. You absolutely can use mortar to create a sturdy border, but it is by no means required.