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When it comes to installing the perfect edging for paving, attention to detail is everything.
Not only is it essential for your paving to look good it must also be structurally sound and robust. The best edging for paving will both compliment paving aesthetically as well as providing a strong perimeter border.
However, the word edging really is a broad term when it comes to paved surfaces. Edging for paving can create bold visual borders or add some form or retaining function.
Most of the time however paving edging has more than one function. Paving edging now comes in a wide variety of products and materials ranging from timber to metal and masonry materials.
In this article I cover the main types of paving edging and six of the best material choices for edging paving.
Retaining edging for paving
Retaining edging is one of the most functionally important parts of any paved surface.
Such edging ensures that paving has a robust perimeter which contains both the paving and its base. If paving is laid upon sloping ground then retaining edging can become even more important and pronounced.
On substantial gradients paving edging may be laid onto retaining foundations or even retaining walls.
This could be a soldier course of brickwork along the top of a low retaining wall.
Most of the time however, retaining edging forms a ridged barrier between paving’s base work and the surrounding ground.
This can ensure the longevity of a paving’s base by ensuring it remains well compacted over time. By far the most important retaining edging is that used within flexible paving.
Flexible paving includes paving laid upon compacted sand such as block paving driveways. Edging blocks and kerb edgings are concreted into position to provide a strong retaining edge.
This helps to keep the compacted sand and base work firmly in place so no displacement occurs.
Common materials used for retaining paving edging include; kerb edgings, path edgings, bricks, blocks and sets.
Border edging for paving
Border edging for paving typically serves more of a visual function than a functional one.
Very often, large expanses of the same paving material can become monotonous and boring. Consequently a border edging will normally be a contrasting tone or material which is in keeping with the paving's style.
A good example of this would be a row of dark red bricks bordering multi-tonal sandstone. Such can be seen in one of our patio project examples in the image below.
Occasionally border edging can be even more dramatic with big colour contrasts between materials.
Such an example would be a header course of blue engineering bricks edging cream, porcelain, paving.
However, border edging can also have other functions such as retaining paving edges and proving junctions to different surfaces.
Border edging can also be utilised to form design patterns within paved surfaces.
What is the best edging for a patio?
The best edging material for a patio will depend upon your specific projects design and personal preferences.
Generally however, the best edging for a patio will visually contrast the patio itself but still compliment the design as a whole.
Often a differing colour or visual texture to the primary paving material is the most effective.
This is why a solider course of decorative landscape bricks regularly works well with patio slabs. The best edging for a patio will also be robust and have a retaining function to the patios base.
Such edging will separate the paving’s base aggregates from the surrounding ground.
On the whole masonry materials such as concrete, brick and natural stone have such qualities ideal for patio edging.
What is the best edging for driveways?
The best edging for driveways is an edging with aesthetic appeal and a high compressive strength that does not degrade over time.
Typically driveway edgings will need to retain large quantities of compacted aggregates with no threat of failure. Consequently the best edgings for driveways are masonry materials such as concrete edging kerbs, brick and natural stone walling.
Furthermore, effective driveway edging will compliment the driveways surfacing material. Commonly this will come down to aesthetic design and personal choice.
It is very common for driveway paving such as block paving to come with their own associated edging products.
6 of the best edgings for paving
Brick edging borders
Bricks are one of the very best edging materials for paving edging. Not only do they look good they can also be laid to form retaining walls and attractive borders.
Bricks laid in a soldier course can create a pleasant visual texture to the edge of the paving. They can also help to add contrast to the patio surface as a whole.
Natural stone set edgings
Setts are robust cubes of natural stone which are extremely robust and hard wearing.
For centuries square sets were used to surface roads and pavements within the public realm. Natural stone sets can also make attractive and strong edgings to paving slabs.
Their sheer mass and depth enable them to retain other heavy paving materials effectively.
Kerb edgings are generally made from concrete and specifically designed for edging paving.
Some kerb edgings have curves or bull-nose designs while others have a more angular profile. Kerb edgings are particularly useful if you want to implement raised or retaining edgings to paving.
These can also be used to form raised beds or build steps like in the image below.
Concrete block edging
Concrete blocks are some of the most versatile of building materials. Blocks can be cut into a multitude of different shapes and sizes for utilisation as edging.
The extra advantage of using concrete block is you can clad it in pretty much any other material. Blocks can be rendered, painted, clad or tiled.
Smaller concrete blocks such as block paving can also be used as flush edgings to paving.
Path edging kerbs
Path edging kerbs come in a range of styles and colours but generally take a similar form.
These edging kerbs are typically around 1 metre in length, 150mm deep and about 50mm wide. Pathway edgings are designed to form a robust retaining edging to patios and pathways.
Such edging kerbs are an effective way to create clean and modern, flush or raised edgings to paving.
Sleepers are robust sections of treated timber used extensively within landscaping.
Generally sleepers are around 2.4 metres long 200mm wide and 100mm thick. Sleepers can be used as edging for paving in two main ways vertically and horizontally.
Horizontally they can be laid along the straight edge of paving to create a retaining border edge.
If you have a curved paving edge, sleepers can be set in vertically to form a meandering edge or retaining feature.
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Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire