Decor: Border basics

Garden borders aren’t a focus or feature of any landscape. But that doesn’t mean they can’t spoil an otherwise eye-pleasing setting.

Borders should be neutral accents that blend with the rest of the landscape, says Tom Del Conte, owner of Del Conte’s Landscaping in Fremont, California. Materials that rot, slip out of place, or allow grass and weeds to grow through them can be a headache for property owners. That’s why, no matter what the style, the trend is toward materials that provide a permanent barrier solution.

In California, the natural look of wooden borders is popular. But after two or three years, these borders begin to break down and appear “ratty,” Del Conte says. “The wood, after it starts to deteriorate, is more a blight than an accent,” he says. “It detracts from the landscape, losing its neutrality.”

As an alternative, a synthetic, hard plastic material that looks like wood has been gaining popularity. The material comes in a variety of sizes and colors and is pliable, so you can bend it to fit the shape of any planting bed, Del Conte says. The cost is about double that of real wood, but the synthetic material maintains its appearance far longer.

Adam Berg, owner of A Man 4 All Seasons, a landscaping company in Farmington Hills, Michigan, says he presents all border materials to his clients, explaining their pluses and minuses. Lately most have been choosing garden wall bricks – interlocking concrete blocks with a textured fa

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