Unilever logo
Cleanipedia ZA logo
Stay informed! Visit the SA Department of Health's website for COVID-19 updates: www.sacoronavirus.co.za.

Low maintenance garden: edging ideas to set your garden apart

Give your yard the edge with our tips on how to grow a beautiful lawn and create a green paradise.


Plants in pots in the garden with green gardening boots

Key steps

To achieve a low maintenance garden, follow these tips:

  1. Replace the lawn with paving or decking to spend less time mowing.

  2. Choose low maintenance plants for your garden.

  3. Choose garden edging in darker colours to avoid stains and marks.

  4. Use containers for your plants or flowers and add a thick layer of mulch to retain soil moisture. This will save time on watering.

You can create a truly low maintenance landscape with a few golden rules, such as adding a practical border to sharpen the look of your garden. From neat and tidy lawn borders to precise paving stones, we’ve got garden edging ideas to give any outdoor space the perfect finishing touch (without lots of work)! Here are some creative garden edging ideas to ensure a low maintenance garden that still looks great.

Keeping your low maintenance garden clean and clear allows you to use it for all kinds of activities, from hosting guests to drying laundry.

Garden edging ideas

Try these DIY garden edging ideas to help create a bit of order in your garden:

  • Traditional bricks: weather-resistant and easy to come by, bricks are one of the most popular choices. They give a timeless look that matches both traditional and contemporary settings. Lay them side by side or arrange them artfully to create a rock garden – just remember to set them in a level bed of sand to prevent unevenness.

  • Roof tiles: a great idea for those on a budget and looking to recycle. Leftover clay roof tiles can create a stylish edging with a layered look. Don’t worry if they’re not perfect, the broken edges can be buried in the soil!

  • Railway sleepers: after an industrial look? Upcycled railway slippers are the ideal material to construct raised flower beds or to give a defined edge to grassy areas. It’s worth investing in certified, high-quality timber to ensure they stay in good shape and don't pose any risk of injury to you or others.

  • Paving stones: slightly more expensive, these give a very sleek finish. Paving stones in neutral shades blend beautifully with natural surroundings. You can lay concrete paving stones in a single uniform size for a neat finish or mix and match different sizes for a more rustic feel.

  • Wooden wall: whether laid out horizontally or vertically, using a wooden wall is a simple and environmentally-friendly way of bordering your garden. You can combine it with light gravel to make a pretty and practical garden feature.

Inexpensive garden edging ideas

Need low maintenance garden ideas on a budget? Choose from these options:

  • Cinder blocks: part of its popularity is that it can be used as both edge and planter. They’re affordable, easy to put into practice, and you can create a second layer of flowers that will further edge the plants that it delimits.

  • Steel: if you’re a DIY enthusiast you’ll love this idea. Steel edging allows you to explore your creativity and create an edging of any shape.

  • Terracotta pots: things in bigger numbers can become even prettier! Place your terracotta pots vertically with plants or horizontally one on top of the other to create a graphic edging.

  • Glass bottles: they’re extremely durable and a great resource. Place them upside down deep in the soil so that you can only see the bottom of the base. Use them in different hues to obtain a clean look but be wary of any broken glass lost in the process.

Garden design ideas: low maintenance tips

There are lots of low maintenance garden ideas that will cut down on the amount of work it takes to make your garden look exactly how you’d like. Pay attention to these tips:

  • Lose the lawn: one instant time-saver is to replace your lawn with paving or decking. You’ll cut down on the hours you need to spend mowing and gain time to focus on your vegetable or flower borders, for example. If you want to retain at least some of your lawn, read our tips on how to mow the garden to keep it looking great.

  • Keep the lawn with low maintenance plants: these are great if you don’t have much time but want a beautiful garden. The best type will depend on the local climate but for hot sunny gardens, cacti are an obvious choice. Succulents are also excellent, as they are very attractive yet require very little regular care.

  • Low maintenance garden edging: anything that doesn’t need a regular clean is best. We recommend opting for materials in darker colours to avoid having to get rid of stains or marks.  

  • Use containers and mulch: planting in containers saves you time and effort - read our article on making your own pots to get startedAlso, one way to reduce the time spent watering and weeding is adding a thick layer of mulch – such as bark or shredded leaves – to retain soil moisture.

Those are our favourite do it yourself garden edging ideas. Remember, putting some edging in place doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. If you’re ever in doubt, ask for advice from staff at your local garden centre and experiment with different style options to find your favourite.

Want more tips on transforming your garden? Read our article on how to make the garden your favourite space for general advice or try our tips for creating privacy with garden fences and walls or creating a vertical garden for your next DIY challenge.

Originally published