Adding brick border edging to a flower bed can add so much charm to the exterior of a home. Luckily, almost all of the homes we have owned came with a random pile of bricks in the backyard.
If you have found random bricks in your yard, this is a great way to use them! If you don’t have bricks lying around, I would recommend looking on Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, a neighborhood Facebook group, and even estate sales. Of course, you can also purchase them at a local home improvements store, but that will be the most expensive option.
Our current home has a ton of bricks that I reused as edging around the new flower beds we created. The weathered bricks around green hosta and blooming hydrangea bush give the perfect English garden look I was going for.
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 rebuilt the brick border.
Once the shrubs were removed, I pulled up the brick edging to re-lay it properly.
How to Install Brick Border Edging in Your Garden
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Full transparency, I have updated this blog post a few times as I laid more brick borders and included new tips each time.
1 | Determine Brick Edging Design
There are many ways you can design a brick border for flower beds. Your edge could be completely straight or it may have a soft s-curve. To visualize the design of your brick border, try using a hose to map out the edge. A brick border can be laid horizontally or vertically. My personal preference is a vertical brick border, but it does require more bricks.
Here is a straight brick border we created in the backyard of our second home.
2 | Create a Guide
Our brick border design is a simple straight edge. I finally got wised up and used a string line as a guide! When I laid brick edging in the past, without fail, my straight line would start to curve. This time, I took the following steps to keep the edging straight:
- Determine the width of the flower bed and where I wanted 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.
3 | Dig a Trench for Brick Edging
I used a flat spade shovel to dig a trench for the bricks, but a garden edger tool is probably the best tool to use, especially when sod needs to be removed. I wanted the bricks to be level with our pool surround, so I made the trench deep enough to keep a consistent height.
For the brick edging below, I used the string line as a guide for the trench.
4 | Add A Layer of Crushed Gravel
Next, you will want to add a few scoops of the paver base.
This helps with drainage and leveling. 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!
4 | Lay the Bricks 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. It turns out I have a really tough time making a straight line as I lay my bricks, even with a string line guide!
When I laid the first brick border 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.
6 | 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 tap 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 may not 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. As you are filling in the sides, brush dirt into the cracks of each brick as well. This will keep the border intact and sturdy.
Charming Brick Border Edge Reveal
I absolutely love how the green plants look against the distressed white brick of our house and the 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 are 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.
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
Looking for more DIY’s to Try Outside?
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- 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.