Last Modified: May 25, 2024

Edging For Gravel

An expert introduction to garden edges

Gravel and brick edge

By Ben Parrot - Landscape Gardener & Amateur Geologist


When it comes to the appearance and functionality of your outdoor designs, an often overlooked but crucial aspect in achieving a harmonious blend of form and function is the installation of gravel edging. Whether for gravel paths, driveways, rockeries or patios, not only does it frame your landscaped areas, but it also serves practical purposes, from preventing erosion to keeping weeds at bay.

In this guide, we take a wide-angled view into the fundamentals of gravel edging – exploring materials, styles, and installation tips for DIY enthusiasts and homeowners alike. Whether you're planning a new garden walkway or looking for creative ways to rejuvenate your driveway, understanding the important role that edging plays will be a great step forward in renovating your outdoor space!

Oh, and have you noticed our new 'Pebble Picker' feature, located in the sidebar or menu? This tool allows you to select and browse every decorative aggregate, by colour and material, with ease.

Red brick edging between gravels on a driveway

Key Takeaways

  • The right materials can minimise the cost and future maintenance of your garden feature. We list them below.
  • Edging not only improves the look of your gravel feature, but can dramatically affect the overall look of your garden.
  • Installing a practical edging is essential for gravel containment for driveways, pathways, patios and lawns.
  • Creative ideas for sustainable edging materials include up-cycled bricks, garden stones, hardwood sleepers and paving tiles.
Green granite boulder edging around slate chippings

More Than Just a Border for Gravel Areas

There is a huge range of gravel and stone chippings available for renovating your outdoor spaces, in a range of scintillating colours, shapes and sizes. With their natural beauty and versatility, these decorative aggregates are a popular choice for a host of aesthetic and functional features. Yet, without proper edging, the stones can spread into your lawns or garden, diminishing the appearance and demanding regular maintenance.

Grey slate chips and artificial lawn without garden border edging

Benefits of a Solid Edge

Borders and edging just look good. They can draw the eye to features within the garden as well as creating clean lines of symmetry that are not only pleasing aesthetically, but tie your entire garden's theme together. Edging acts as a boundary to separate gravel from grass and keep it in place. It also serves as a practical method to delineate a clear and defined pathway. This also brings an added safety element by clearly defining passageways whilst maintaining the integrity of your design.

Borders also aid in erosion control, particularly in areas with heavy rainfall, ensuring that your stones stay put under harsh weather conditions. Lastly, edging can significantly reduce the maintenance required, deterring weeds from entering beds and borders and minimising the unwanted spread of loose gravel.

Stone curved edging around a gravel front garden

Styles of Garden Edging for Gravel Projects

Border for Gravel Patio Containment

The edging that goes along with most patio gravel ideas, often made from materials like stone or brick, provides a distinct, elegant boundary that enhances the patio's visual appeal and helps contain the decorative stones.

Edging for a Gravel Border

A vital part of establishing low-maintenance gravel borders for your plantings and flowerbeds as a good edge. Any number of materials can be suitable as a way of keeping the weeds back from your favourite shrubs and flowers whilst delineating your beauty areas.

Stone edged gravel border and driveway

Lawn Edging For Gravel

Typically, using materials like metal or plastic creates a clean separation between the gravel area and the lawn. This type of edging is popular for its neat appearance and the practical benefit of preventing gravel from scattering into the grass.

Edging for Gravel Path Design

Edging for gravel pathways is an essential part of design for practical and aesthetic reasons. Often, using timber edging for gravel path construction comes down to its simplicity of use and practical effectiveness. Timber also works very well for designs that are longer, which require a lot of edging, making it both convenient and cost-effective.

Rustic wood seperating lawn and garden path

Stone Borders for Gravel Paths

Borders for gravel paths in gardens, such as stone or concrete edging, are chosen for their robustness and ability to define the path clearly. These materials are favoured for creating a polished, finished look while ensuring the gravel remains contained and the path structure intact.

Edging Ideas For Gravel Driveways

Some ideas for ideas for gravel driveway edging involve durable materials like hardwood railway sleepers, concrete or metal, which can withstand vehicular traffic and bumps or scratches. These materials are popular for their strength, longevity, and the clean, defined lines they offer.

Brick edging around grey granite chips

Choosing the Material: From Timber to Metal

The material you choose for edging can dramatically alter the look and longevity of your gravel area. Each material, be it timber, metal, stone, or plastic, has its own set of advantages. 

  • Timber Edging: Timber offers a natural, rustic edging for gravel patio design that blends seamlessly with outdoor settings. It's relatively inexpensive and easy to work with, making it a great DIY option. However, timber may require regular maintenance and treatment to prevent rot and termite damage.
  • Metal Edging: For a sleek, modern look, steel and aluminium are popular options. Renowned for their durability, clean lines, and minimal maintenance needs, they are particularly suitable for contemporary garden designs and effective in keeping gravel neatly contained.
  • Stone Edging: Stones, rocks or bricks offer a timeless appeal, adding a sense of elegance and permanence to your landscape. It's highly durable and comes in various styles to match your garden's aesthetic. Stone edging can be more expensive and heavier to work with, but it's incredibly long-lasting.
  • Plastic Edging: Plastic is a versatile and cost-effective option. It's lightweight, easy to install, and comes in various colours and styles. While it may not be as durable as other materials, high-quality plastic edging can withstand weather elements and resist fading.
  • Rubber Edging:  Gardening rubber edging offers a flexible, durable, and often eco-friendly option for gravel containment. It's typically made from recycled materials and effectively conforms to curves. It is beneficial in areas with curved paths or uneven terrain. When compared to plastic, its resilience to temperature fluctuations and resistance to cracking or fading under sunlight makes it a practical choice for medium-term use.

When selecting the material, it's worthwhile considering the practical aspects like durability and maintenance, as well as the material's appearance and price.

Garden rubber edging

Ideas For Edging A Gravel Driveway

Driveway edging not only serves a functional purpose but also enhances the curb appeal of your property. Here are some ideas:

Natural Stone Edging: Use natural stones to create a border. It's durable and offers a classic look that never goes out of style.

Brick Edging: Laying bricks along the driveway adds a traditional and neat appearance. You can lay them flat, stand them up, or even create patterns for added visual interest. Recycled bricks are generally easy to come by and can often be picked up for free. This can also work well for an eco-friendly design.

Timber Logs: For a more rustic approach, line your driveway with timber logs. This can be especially striking in rural or woodland settings.

Paver Edging: Using pavers as edging provides a clean and modern look. Pavers come in various colours and shapes, allowing for customisation.

Most of these options can be made from recycled materials, with each having its unique look that can be tailored to suit the style of your home and garden.

Black and white stones along a paved driveway

Need to work out how much gravel your project needs? Try our free gravel calculator.

Installation of Gravel Edging

Installing gravel edging is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance the functionality and appearance of your gravel areas. Here's a general overview:

  • Ground Preparation: Begin by clearing the area where you plan to install the edging. Remove any debris, weeds, or existing landscaping features. Once the area is cleared, it is essential to carefully outline the desired path of the edging gravel, taking into consideration any existing plants that may need to be temporarily relocated to ensure their preservation during the installation process. 
  • Marking the Area: Use a garden hose or string to mark the outline of your edging. This will serve as a guide and ensure your edging is straight and consistent.
  • Digging a Trench: For most types of edging, you'll need to dig a trench. The depth and width will depend on the type of edging material you are using. For example, timber and metal typically require a shallower trench than stone.
  • Placing the Edging: Lay your edging material in the trench. For materials like metal or plastic, you should secure them with stakes. For heavier materials like stone or brick, ensure they are level and firmly placed.
  • Backfilling: Once your edging is in place, backfill the trench with soil on the garden side. This will hold the edging in place and give a clean finish.
  • Finishing Touches: Add your gravel up to the level of the edging, ensuring an even spread.

Additional information is available in our article, DIY Garden Edging. Next we cover some the basic tools and materials required to install a border for your gravel feature.

Marking out and excavating a garden path. Jpg

Required Tools and Materials

To successfully install your gravel edging, you will need some basic tools and materials:

  1. 1
    Edging Material: Choose from timber, metal, stone, or plastic based on your preference and the style of your landscape.
  2. 2
    Shovel and Pick: For digging trenches.
  3. 3
    Garden Hose or String: To mark the area for your edging.
  4. 4
    Level: A spirit or laser level to ensure your edging is evenly placed.
  5. 5
    Rubber Mallet or Hammer: For securing stakes or adjusting the position of the edging.
  6. 6
    Safety Gear: Gloves and goggles, especially if you're cutting materials like metal or timber.
1tools and equipment used for installing timber edging. Jpg

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

When installing gravel edging, there are a few common pitfalls to avoid, which can help to ensure a lasting and effective result:

  1. 1
    Dig Deep: Underestimating the depth needed for your edging can lead to instability and shifting. Ensure the trench is deep enough to hold the edging material securely.
  2. 2
    Levelling: An uneven edging can detract from the overall appearance and function. Use a level during installation to ensure uniformity.
  3. 3
    Drainage: Poor drainage can lead to water pooling around the edging, potentially causing erosion or damage. Plan for adequate drainage, especially with clay soils in areas prone to heavy rainfall.
  4. 4
    Choice of Material: Select a material that not only suits the aesthetic of your landscape but also withstands the local climate and stresses the edging to which it will be subjected.
  5. 5
    Expansion and Contraction: Materials like plastic and metal can expand and contract with temperature changes. Allow for some movement to prevent warping or buckling.
  6. 6
    Securing Adequately: Especially for lighter materials like timber or plastic, correctly securing your borders is vital for preventing movement.

If you plan your edging with these issues in mind, then you are on your way to a long-lasting and durable border for your gravel that will minimise your future maintenance requirements and make the rest of your garden look absolutely brilliant.

1levelling anf fixing a fence border. Jpg


Edging is more than just a finishing touch; it's a vital component that defines and protects your gravel paths, driveways, and patios. By choosing the right materials, following a thoughtful installation process, and avoiding common mistakes, you can create a visually appealing and functional gravel area. Remember, the best landscapes blend beauty with practicality, and with proper edging, your gravel areas will not only look stunning but also endure the test of time and use.

1slate border and brick driveway with concrete edging. Jpg


What materials are commonly used for edging gravel?

Common materials for gravel edging include pre-made edging products made from timber, metal (such as steel or aluminium), stone, brick, concrete, rubber and plastic.

How do I create clean edges for a gravel pathway?

To create clean edges for a gravel pathway, first, mark the intended edge line with a string or hose. Then, dig a trench along this line and install your chosen edging material, ensuring it is level and securely fixed in place.

Should I use plastic or metal edging for gravel?

The choice between plastic or metal edging for gravel depends on your specific needs. Plastic is versatile and cost-effective but less durable than metal. Metal edging, like steel or aluminium, offers a sleek appearance and greater longevity. Rubber is more durable than plastic.

Can I use natural stone as an edging material for gravel?

Yes, natural stone can be used as an edging material for gravel. It provides a durable and aesthetically pleasing option, blending well with various landscape designs. However, it's heavier and potentially more expensive than other materials.

What are some cost-effective options for edging gravel?

Cost-effective options for edging gravel include:

  • Natural or untreated wooden logs.
  • Although cost-effective, pressure-treated or landscape timbers can leach substances into the environment that some people say are harmful. As personal preference, we would advise choosing an alternative to highly treated wood.
  • Items from demolition sites, such as glass bricks, house tiles or recycled roof shingle.
  • Recycled materials like repurposed bricks or stones.

These options balance affordability with functionality. Please see our article How to do Garden Edging Cheap for more information.

We have every type of gravel available to choose from in the UK. Check them all out!

About the author 

Ben Parrot is a landscape gardener and amateur geologist. He is the founder of Outdoor Aggregates, with the mission to create the first encyclopaedia for decorative aggregates. From natural stone through to decorative bark, these aggregates are critical to garden and landscape design, universally.

The problem: There isn't any place where all the different types of decorative landscaping materials and construction aggregates can be found, nor are the specifications of each type readily available. So, enriched by his extensive experience, and inspired by the timeless elegance and raw beauty of stone and rock, etched by nature's artistry over millennia, Outdoor Aggregates was born.