Smarten up your act and use the edge

plant in front of the fenceToday I’m giving a shout out to the forgotten edge. Most often assigned to a life of weed-eating and fussing about, edges bring a golden opportunity and done well can save you a heap of work.

Put the edges of your gardens/ fences/ structures to good use and plant them up – fill them with useful, but beautiful herbs and companion flowers. Such useful gardens these, they provide

  • a tonne of ingredient for mulch and compost
  • feed the bees and beneficials
  • a handy dandy place to rot down big chunky prunings like corn stalks and sunflowers
  • herbs for teas, medicine and eating
  • perennial vegetables
  • flowers 😍

My goal is to grow as much of my mulch as possible, and these edge gardens are where the bulk of my mulch come from.

useful edges

The edge of the berry-house grows borage, calendula, parsley, pineapple sage, yarrow and poppys. Every now and then I need to clear the path to the gate and bonus!, score a pile of mulch.

mulch harvest

Which today gets used to mulch the potatoes


Work the edge and lessen your workload

lavendar hedge

The hard edges in front of fences/ sheds etc are high maintenance areas. Plant them up to create a soft edge where the mower can go right up to them (or just plant the whole lawn up 🙂 )

Forgo all your house and garden urges and don’t use hard edges (sleepers, bricks, stones et all), round your gardens. They harbour hard to get rid of weeds and when joining a lawn require special treatment ie swap the mower for the weed eater.

Stop marooning your trees (planting them on their own in the lawn). Instead plant under them and take the edge out to the dripline or beyond. Grow whatever it is the tree needs (or you need) beneath the tree. For better health and to eliminate the silly job of weeding around the base of your tree.



  1. Jolene Tillier says

    Hi Kath,I have a large open bare area under some natives, couple of Kowhai trees and a Japanese Empress tree, what could I plant under it all to stop weeds and make it more enjoyable to look at? Many thanks Jolene

    • Evergreen groundcovers are the main go to here. Annuals or winter dormant perennials expose the soil to sunlight = weeds! So now it depends on the soil + weeds you’ve got as to what you use. My favourites for the edges are flax like plants because the soft drooping edge can be mowed under and they do an awesome job of beating the weeds out. Plants like Emerald Gem cookianum flax 1x1m and renga rengas 30×30 are a good example of what I’m talking about. Use them against the lawn and a splash of colour + funk behind – could be anything from lavendar to daylillies to dahlias …

  2. Bronwyn Ward says

    Hey Kath, I’ve have a big ugly concrete crib retaining wall on my south boundary (facing north). Half of it gets heaps of sun, the other half as the house shading it. I’d like to plant in it but am struggling to get anything to survive. (It used to have ivy in it, now THAT did really well). I’ve got mint surviving but it needs lots of water, ajuga (for hte bees, a ground cover) in the shady parts (behind my feijoas) and thyme. But grasses have failed, strawberries don’t survive unless watered twice a day, ….Any suggestions? Its 1.5m high, down to about 1m at hte lowest point, so there is lots of space….I think over time I can manage the partially shaded bit but any other ideas? thanks!

    • oh wow super tricky to do this well remotely Bronwyn – even with all that description! If you are interested in a 30min phone consult to workshop it then be in touch. best Kath

  3. Excellent! I don’t accept docks or buttercup in this pile (or anywhere for that matter) – but anything else goes I reckon.

  4. Hi Kath
    I brought a pear tree from mitre 10 and had planted it around 3 months ago. It has plenty leaves now so I was wondering if it was too late to move it now as I realize that it’s alot closer to the fence than I thought.
    Thank you

    • Probably best to wait until late Autumn/ early winter to move it now. Unless you live somewhere cool and with great soil and will keep up with regular watering in which case you could move it now. Bit hard to say remotely 🙂