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Installing Landscape Timber Edging

 
 

Landscape timbers are an excellent edging for a raised garden bed. While a single course of 4-by or 6-by timbers simply can be set into the ground, there isn't a lot more involved in assembling two courses than securing them to each other. Three courses of timbers stretches the term "edging" and starts to qualify as a retaining wall, which is subject to different procedures and code requirements.


WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS JOB:

TOOLS:

 

MATERIALS:

 


 

Step 1 

Step 1: Lay out the bed and dig a trench

Lay out the bed and dig a trench 3 to 4 inches deep for the timbers along the garden border. Make sure the trench you dig is level by checking the depth with a tape measure and a level mason's line.

  

Step 2 

Step 2: Place the timbers of the first course in the trench and check the level of timber

Place the timbers of the first course in the trench and abut the ends together tightly. Use a level to check that the timbers sit level. Add or remove soil as necessary.

  

Step 3

Step 3: Cut across each face with a circular saw to trim timber to length

To trim a timber to length, measure and mark the location with the pencil. Next use the square and pencil to draw a line across the face of the timber, rotating the timber and marking each face till you return to where you started. Cut across each face with the circular saw. If necessary, finish the cut at the center of the timber with a handsaw. Alternatively, cut timbers with a chain saw or a bow saw.

  

Step 4

Step 4: Place the timbers of the second course so that joints are offset at least 4 inches from the first course Place the timbers of the second course so that joints are offset at least 4 inches from the ones in the first course. Overlap the ends at the corners. Overlapping the joints adds stability between layers when stacking the timbers.
  

Step 5

Step 5: Check the level of timbers

As you layout timbers check that the course of timbers is roughly level. If necessary, shim the low ends with thin strips of wood. At corners, square the timbers with a framing square.

  

Step 6

Step 6: Drill a pilot hole at each end

Drill pilot holes slightly smaller than the diameter of a 10-inch spike at each end and every 4 feet along the second course. Drive a 10-inch spike into each hole with a 3-pound sledgehammer.

  

Step 7

Step 7: Add soil to the bed behind the edging timbers Add soil to the bed behind the edging timbers. Smooth the bed with a garden rake. If you intend to plant edibles within the timber edging you will need to use a barrier-like pond liner to keep the soil separate from the pressure treated timbers. This liner should be stapled to and run along the entire inside perimeter of the timbers.