Wednesday, February 17, 2016

So You Want To Use Stone Edging For Your Flower Beds?

Austin Stone flower beds done by The Patient Gardener.  

Wanting to edge your flower bed boarders and not sure where to start?  You have come to the right place.  There is green metal edging, concrete blocks from places like Home Depot, and then there is stone.  The first thing you must decide is your style.  Do you like straight and symmetrical?  Rustic or more natural?

Moss Boulders installed by Tropical John.

There are many different looks that can be achieved by using stone.  Having a budget in mind is a great way to begin.  Once you decide to take on this project, measure the linear length of your beds.  Does your yard slope?  If so, keep that in mind as well.  Is this a project you plan to do yourself or hire the work done?  Maybe you are unsure and want to check into cost?  There are a lot of factors to consider so lets break it down.

Knowing the length is the first and most important step when considering edging your flowerbeds.  Once you have the linear footage, next comes the type or rock or style you prefer.  Some like to match the stone on their house (if there is stone on the house).  That is usually a good idea but does not have to be the only option.


*2,000 pounds = 1 ton*                      *1 pallet weighs roughly 1.5 - 2 tons typically*

Austin 4"x 4" 

Chopped or Ledge Stone are the familiar looking rectangle stones.  There are many different colors and sizes.  The standard and most popular size is a 4"x4" which means the stone is 4" tall and 4" wide and the lengths of the stones all vary.  If a stone is too long, you can break them.  We sell the stone by weight (sold by the ton).  You do not have to buy a whole ton.  Each pallet's weight varies but is normally between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds (1.5 to 2 tons).   We also have 6" sized stone as well meaning it will stand 6" tall but still be 4" wide with varying lengths.  There are various types of cuts and other sizes too but lets just stick to the basics for now.

Austin 4"x 6" (6" tall and 4" wide)

How much will you need?  Great question!  The quantity of stone you will need depends on the following:

  • How many linear feet do you have?
  • What type/kind of stone?
  • Which size of stone?
  • How tall do you need your boarder?

Some types of stones are heavier than others due to their density.  So a sandstone rock will weigh less than an equal size piece of quartzite or granite.  Due to this factor, heavier the stone, the less coverage it will have.  Also, the taller/larger the stone (a 6" tall stone versus a 4" tall stone) the less coverage but it will stand taller.

General estimate for coverage for a 4"x 4" stone - roughly 100 linear feet per ton.  A stone which is  6" x  4" will roughly cover 80 linear feet per ton.  These estimates are for one layer only and again, may vary due rock's density.  (Austin Ledge Stone is a little lighter in weight/density so it tends to get more linear feet per ton than that of Oklahoma Ledge.)

** We do recommend to seal the Austin Stone - especially when used as a bed boarder.  It is a softer limestone and will absorb moisture.  Freezing and thawing weather conditions could lead to the Austin Stone busting apart.  Sealing the top part (sawn smooth part of rock which is exposed to the elements) helps with this problem.  Sealing the whole rock will also help with staining.  Since it is white, it shows a little more as it weathers.  Mud and grass can stain the rock.  But any and all rock is going to weather over time.  Even Oklahoma Ledge that has been down for years will most likely have a bit of green from the grass.  Many people have had Austin Stone as their flower bed boarder for years with no problems.  You can get stone sealers from many hardware shops but a local supplier called DFW Stone Sealers carry a variety of high quality sealers and cleaners for stone. **

If you plan to do this project yourself there are a few things to keep in mind.  First of all, you do not have to mortar the stones.  You can just line them along the edge of your bed and be done with it.  You can break the stones to a shorter length if you need to.  A handy tool to have is a hand grinder and attach a diamond blade.  Score the stone with the diamond blade and then finish breaking it with a hammer.  You can also use a hammer and score the stone to break it that way.

Oklahoma 6" Ledge for the flowerbed edging.  Done by

Thinking you would rather have them mortared together?  Be sure to dig a trench and pour a footer.  Mortar the stones but be sure to add weep holes every 6-8 feet so the water can drain from the beds.  Another option is to pour some concrete in the trench just a little at a time and place the stones in while its wet.  Leave the gaps or joints between your rocks free of mortar so you do not have to worry about drainage.  This will just help to keep your rocks in place and will stop weeds or grasses from growing up between the stones.

Since the ground shifts with our North Texas clay soil, if a proper footer is not installed when mortaring the joints of the rock, it will crack.  Over time due to dry conditions, you will most likely have mortar cracks even if a proper footer is installed.  It happens and most often the result of mother nature and time.  It may be years or decades so don't sweat it.  The same is true if you put the stones in the wet concrete.  It isn't for looks, it is just there to keep your rocks in place and deter weeds so who cares!  No one will see your "makeshift" footer.


There are many other options besides the chopped or ledge stone.  Many people like the moss boulders.  This is a more natural look and is typically a little easier to do yourself.  We have several sizes to choose from.  Creek Rock is another option for a similar look.  We have them in brown and white.  They are all smooth due to the fact the rocks do come from creek beds.

Moss Boulder edging.  Work by The Patient Gardener.
Mix boulders with chopped like Texas Outdoor Oasis did here.  They used Black Colorado Boulders with 4" Fossil Leuders and then added some Arizona River Rock along the front as well.

Another photo of Chopped Stone mixed with Boulders.  Due to the elevation now the 4" Fossil Lueders is stacked 3 high.  Installed by Texas Outdoor Oasis.

Moss Boulders also installed by Texas Outdoor Oasis.

Oklahoma Creek Rock - Set 'em and forget it!  We have flat versions of these too!

River Rock is another great choice for edging.  We carry many different kinds and sizes to give you the look you want.  Stacking flagstone is another option as well.  There are choices out there which will not break the bank or your back.

Cherokee River Rock

Arizona River Rock as bed edging.  Great look installed by Cut-N-Edge Lawn and Landscape.

Cherokee River Rock as the bed boarder with decomposed granite giving a very rustic look.

A nice example of mixing stone.  Here FGO Landscape and Stone used Oklahoma Ledge/Chopped with Moss Boulders.

Flagstone stacked to make a tree ring boarder.  FGO Landscape and Stone did a lovely job.

There are many options with stone as your bed boarders.  It all depends on you and how creative you want to be.  Check out our website for many more photos and ideas.  Have any cool examples of using rock as a flowerbed boarder?  Please share them with us!

Note: My posts are meant for helpful advice.  I use photos of customers (landscapers and DIY's/homeowners) using our stone and choose based on what I think will help the reader visualize what I am saying.  A link is provided to those landscapers/businesses as a courtesy to both the local businesses and reader hoping to make it as helpful as possible for everyone.  In other words...I am not paid to endorse anyone's business or product!      

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