Edging serves several purposes when added to a planting bed. Any type of sunken border can prevent grass from encroaching on flowerbeds or shrub borders. And wide, flat borders create a mowing strip that cuts down on edging and trimming chores. But a decorative border, like the one shown here, adds an element of artistic flair all year round.
Measure your garden bed and calculate how many tiles you'll need. To make our calculations easier, we chose 1/2-inch-thick, 12-inch-square terra-cotta floor tiles. Using a tile-sized sheet of thin cardboard, sketch out your design. To make cutting easier, stick to simple shapes and gentle curves. Also, allow at least 4 inches of tile to be sunk into the ground. Cut out your design template, and use a pencil to trace the shape onto your tiles.
Use a jigsaw blade designed for cutting tile to trim tiles into shape. (Always wear eye protection and a dust mask when cutting tile.) If trimming tiles is beyond your comfort level, hire out the job. For best results, buy or rent a heavy-duty jigsaw.
Dip the lower 4 inches of cut tiles into a bucket of foundation sealer to help prevent the porous edges from crumbling. Let tiles dry overnight. Use a mattock, square-pointed shovel, or trowel to excavate a trench for the tiles. Dig a trench 4 inches deep and 1 inch wide. Remove sod, roots, and rocks. Stand tiles side by side in the trench. Backfill to hold them securely in place.