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How to Add an Edge to a Patio
Any patio can be given a visual lift by adding an edge, and these can be practical, too. An edge extends a patio, links it to the house and leads into the rest of your garden. A variety of materials can be used for this. Choose one which matches the mood of your garden, the patio paving, and the shape you want to make. Since you won't have to buy new paving, you may be tempted to splash out on material that's a bit more expensive as you'll need a smaller quantity. For a patio to be really useful for eating out around a table, you need a fair amount of space - about 3.5 x 3.5 m to be able to get 4 to 6 seats around a table, and pull them in or out without falling into the garden. You may want to take this opportunity to add a bit of extra space, which could be surfaced with gravel. This keeps costs down, makes a contrasting surface texture, and allows you to make a small gravel garden. A gravel edge also acts as a good transition from a hard patio to the soft planted part of your garden. This workshop shows you how to add an edge of bricks, blocks or other such hard units, or gravel.
you will need
Edging material of your choice: bricks or slabs (must be frost proof), concrete blocks (small cobbles better for good curves) or granite setts; a spade; a garden line or paint to mark out; a wheelbarrow; a rake; a trowel; sand; and a spirit level. Optional; mortar mix depending on material; hardcore; gravel; landscape membrane; for treated timber edging see below.
Mark out the edge around your patio based on the size of your edging material, using the line, sand or paint. Remove any turf from the strip. Do this in sections, taking only 2.5 cm or so of soil. Dig out the soil along the strip to the depth of your edging material plus 2.5 cm or so. Level the soil along the strip using a rake. Then spread an even layer of sand along the patio edge. Tamp or firm this down with the rake.
Put the first unit of your patio edge into place and settle it into the sand. Bricks and blocks can be laid on edge, side by side, or on end - lengthways in a single row. Tap the brick, block or slab down firmly with a piece of timber or the handle of a trowel. Check with the spirit level, use more sand if you need to make up the level. Then add the next unit. Continue laying your patio edge until you have finished. You can mortar a brick, block or slab patio edge into position either at the time of laying, or by brushing in a dry mix of mortar when you have finished. Brush dry a mix of 1:3 cement and sand into the joints to fill them, then brush off the excess. Use a watering can with a fine rose fitted to water the edge, and leave it to set. Concrete blocks are designed to be laid in sand. To keep a single row in place, you can set them into a haunch of mortar.
To add a gravel edge, mark out the area that you want to surface with gravel. Remove the turf or dig out the topsoil to a depth of about 10 cm. If you want to give a definite edge to your gravel, install that now (follow the instructions in Step 3). Some gardeners like the idea of unedged gravel areas blending into their planting, blocks or slabs.
To suppress tap rooted weeds , lay a piece of landscape membrane; over the area. If you want to grow some larger plants through the gravel, make holes for these at this stage. Add a layer of hardcore or clean rubble to a depth of about 7.5 cm. Spread this evenly over the area to be gravelled and compact it - if necessary a machine can be hired to do this.
Add the gravel you have chosen. Rake this evenly over the area. Either plant up, place containers, or add a few really large stones in the corners to finish it off.
Mark out the area you want to cover
Secure the outer sides of your edging
Your edging will blend the patio and planting

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