An integral part of formal gardens is the use of repetition and symmetry, especially in a large garden. This repetition and symmetry can be achieved by making use of hard landscaping features such as a fountain, a container collection, a checkerboard type paved garden, etc. But more importantly, this repetition and symmetry can be reinforced by using garden edging to provide definition to garden beds, rooms, etc. Cobblestones are a cost-effective, easy way in which to provide definition to all your focal points in your home garden. The aim of this section, namely hard landscaping, is to provide you with an easy guide to a Do It Yourself garden edging using cobblestones. Garden edging will provide you with defined garden beds, defined pathways, and a general neat, landscaped, professionally organized look in your home garden. Without edging you can easily end up with disorganized chaos that might detract from the joys of gardening. One of the basic principles of landscape design, namely simplicity, can be achieved with the use of landscape edging, in this case the cobblestone edging, to create a unified look that will also serve to define your home garden.
How to do cobblestone edging
First you need to identify the area that you want to define with the cobblestone edging in your garden. If it happens to be marking out a garden bed or a garden path and separating the garden bed from the lawn, then proceed as follows:
Ensure that you have all the equipment at hand: cobblestones, cement, river sand or builders sand, wheelbarrow, spade, trowel, spirit level, rubber mallet.
Step 1: Prepare the area where the cobblestone edging is desired. Take out a strip of lawn where you want the edging to be inserted. (TIP: If you have recently cut your lawn then your end line will be where the grass is at its ideal height or perhaps just to your preference.)
Just take out enough soil by digging slightly deeper than the depth of the cobblestone that you intend using. (This is to ensure that the cobblestone will be level with the lawn and the paved area.)
Step 2: Prepare your cement mixture which will be used to lay the cobblestones. This mixture should preferably be mixed to a ratio of 4:1. That is 4 parts river sand or builders sand to 1 part cement.
Place the measured sand and the cement in a wheelbarrow or suitable container in which to make up the mixture. Mix the sand and cement well. Add some water and work the cement mixture into a thick, whipped cream-like consistency. The mixture should not run off the spade. (TIP: There is no need to buy special measuring equipment, a small bucket will suffice.)
Step 3: Use a trowel to put down your cement base. Place the cobblestones, one by one, on top of the base. First put down only one cobble. Tap the cobble gently with a rubber mallet to level the cobble down to the same height as the grass and the pavers that might already be in place. Then repeat with the next cobble. Do not leave any gaps between the cobbles.
Step 4: Place about four to five cobblestones then make use of the spirit level to check whether the cobblestones are level. Continue in this fashion until your edging is done. In no time you should have your cobblestone edging in your garden providing your home garden with a neat, defined, manicured look. The cobblestone edging will also ensure that your gravel or pebbles that you might have used as your pathway does not migrate into your lawn.
With the clever use of cobblestone edging you can do justice to many of the garden design principles, such as simplicity, balance, repetition and symmetry, color, line, proportion and unity.