Best Wood For Landscape Edging? Two-by (2x) Lumber

Best Wood For Landscape Edging? Two-by (2x) Lumber

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👋🏼Hi there.

So, this is the year you get outside and pull your outdoor space together.

You’ve got plans for everything from designing new garden areas to adding tree rings - and water features aren't off the table. And if you boost your curb appeal along the way? You won’t complain!

While researching ideas for your landscaping project you’ve likely run across a gazillion blog posts about every type of edging - plastic edging, metal edging (steel or aluminum edging), rubber edging, flexible edging (redwood bender boards), hardscaped edging (cement curbing). And those are just some of the options!

There are so many  decisions to make when it comes to a landscaping project:

  • What edging is best for flower beds?
  • What about lawn edging - what stands up to a string trimmer?
  • What edging material is safe to use around vegetable gardens? 

We aren't aiming to add to your choice anxiety! But have you considered wooden edging?

Read on to learn about the many reasons why wood edging, in particular two-by (2x) lumber, is a good choice - possibly a perfect choice - for your projects whether you're going for a rustic look or a modern landscape.

Let’s get to it!

 

What Is Two-by (2x) Lumber?

Two-by lumber is dimensional lumber which refers to wood that has been milled to standard heights, widths, and lengths.

Dimensional lumber is available at home improvement stores like Home Depot, hardware stores, and lumber yards. In other words, it’s everywhere and easy to get which is part of why we like using two-by lumber for edging projects.

Peruse the lumber aisles at your favorite big box store and you’ll see one-by (1x), two-by (2x), four-by (4x) and six-by (6x) lumber. The “one”, “two”, “four”, and “six” refer to how many inches thick the lumber is. Well, almost.

Dimensional lumber is actually a half-inch thinner than the number you see on the label. Meaning, for example, a two-by-four is 2-inches thick and 4-inches high by name, but IRL it’s actually 1.5-inches by 3.5-inches.

(Interest piqued? Here's some history on dimensional lumber standardization.)

 

Concerns About Using Natural Wood As Edging

If you're thinking about using wood as edging, you're likely wondering:

  • Won’t it rot away?

  • Won’t I have to replace it in a year or two?

  • Won't it leach chemical preservatives into my soil?

  • Doesn’t it attract the wrong kinds of bugs?

The answers to these questions are:

 

10 Reasons Why Two-by Lumber Is Great for Edging Projects

There are many benefits to using natural wood two-by lumber as a natural edge in your landscape.

 

1. Durable and long lasting

Two-by lumber is substantial and will last for many years. Even untreated lumber (lumber that hasn't had any chemical treatment to extend its useful life) will give you years of upright service.

Choose chemically or naturally rot-resistant wood and the life cycle of your edging can reach decades.

 

2. Readily available

Two-by lumber is super common stuff. You can get it at "big box" stores, local hardware stores and lumber yards.

You'll also find it at yard sales, free or almost-free on online platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor, and in give-away piles and alleys.

When you realize what you're looking for? You'll find it everywhere.

 

3. Get the job done fast

With two-by lumber you'll get from store shelf to finished project in a hurry.

Two-by lumber comes in many lengths off-the-shelf including 4-foot, 6-foot, 8-foot, 10-foot, and 12-foot.

That means you can skip the step where you measure, mark and cut your lumber to size.

Making a raised garden bed for your vegetable garden? Easy! Grab two 4-foot boards and two 8-foot boards and edge that bed with the quickness!

 

4. Custom off-the shelf

Two by lumber comes in a variety of edging heights as well as lengths off-the-shelf.

If you'd like to create edging that's low to the ground, go with a 2x2 which will give your edging a 1.5-inch high profile.

Want to create a more substantial raised bed? Go with a 2x6 which will give your edge a 5.5-inch high profile - plenty of edging to contain dirt, mulch, gravel, etc.

 

5. Easy to customize to suit

If you do need to change the length of two-by lumber to fit into your garden or landscape design, this is an easy thing to do with hand or power tools.

 

6. It's modular

Edging made from pieces of lumber is modular edging. That means it's easy to change up and maintain.

To extend it, just add another board. To replace a section of edging just swap in a new board.

Re-using, repairing, and replacing sections is easy to do with wood edging.

 

7. Create truly unique designs

Using natural wood for your edging project opens up new creative options and possibilities. You can paint it or stain it to add a complementary or contrasting color or tone to your landscape design.

Or let it season for a timeless weathered, natural look.

Make angled cuts in your boards and make interesting shapes like hexagon-shaped beds and zig-zag garden borders. You can do all of this with simple hand tools - no special skills or  required.

 

8. A safe wood edging option

Untreated pine and cedar in particular are great choices to make chemical-free edging. You’ll find no questionable chemical preservatives - such as creosote commonly found in railroad ties - in either of these options.

(If you'd like to stain pine or cedar and you're worried about chemicals, consider a water-based stain or DIY options such vinegar wood stain.)

 

9. A sustainable edging option

Out of all the edging material out there, wood edging is the best option when it comes to sustainability. It's not only a natural-looking border - it's a natural border.

Lumber is a renewable resource that eventually breaks down, returning to the earth. It's also recyclable and reusable. 

A tip: when purchasing lumber look for certification by the Forest Stewardship Council which indicates that the lumber your buying is a product of sustainable forestry practices.

 

10. A distinctly different, streamlined profile

We’ve all seen the typical types of timber used as wood landscape edging: landscape timbers, 4x4 posts, and railroad ties.

Two-by lumber offers a very different look compared to these large-profile beams and posts. Its clean straight lines lean modern, not chunky (some might say clunky).

One of our customer’s put it this way in a verified product review, “The 2x4 edging offers a modern, clean look without being fussy or too heavy”. Yes - that!  

 

Which Lumber Is Best For Edging Projects?

In "You've Got Options! Choosing the Lumber That's Right For Your Project", we highlight a number of different types of wood that are suitable for landscape edging projects including natural wood (untreated pine, pressure treated pine, cedar, redwood) and man-made materials (composite wood, recycled plastic).

There are other types of natural solid wood available in lumber and specialty yards that you can find or have milled into two-by dimensional lumber but these would be cost prohibitive and not suitable for outdoor use.

Of the four natural wood options we investigate in "You've Got Options!….", there are three that are easy to obtain:

Untreated pine - The least expensive option that merits consideration even though it isn't rated for ground contact and has the shortest life-span when used in outdoor projects. (Note: Staining, waterproofing/sealing, or painting will add years to this option.)

Pressure treated pine - Affordable and omni-present, and useful for everything from decks and pergolas to wooden garden edging. (Pressure treated lumber relies on chemicals for longevity. At one time, one of those chemicals was arsenic! Here's comprehensive info on pressure treated wood for your consideration.) 

Cedar - A more expensive choice but its long life, natural resistance to rot and pests, and all around au naturel good looks make it a terrific garden edging option.

 

How To Make Wood Edging Last

The trick to keeping wood edging viable for years relies on more than choosing the right lumber.

As you research your wood edging options you'll likely run into suggestions to use screws, nails, and trenches to tackle your installation.

 

Proceed with caution.

 

Holes in wood means rot in wood

Putting holes in lumber for nails and screws introduces weak spots that enable rot and decay.

If you can help it, don't use nails and screws to tie your lumber together or attach it to stabilizing wood stakes.

 

Wet wood is no good

Digging a trench, dropping lumber into that trench, and pushing the dirt back onto the lumber in the trench? Is a bad idea.

Wood that's in a trench is in a constantly wet or moist environment and that moisture will speed up the rotting process.

If you can, skip the trench when using wood as landscape edging.

(Also? If you change things up at a later date, skipping the trench means you won't leave unsightly trenches all over your property!)

 

You have options

Check out 2xEDGE Staples if you're installing wood landscape edging.

Using 2xEDGE Staples you will not put holes in your wood. Instead, you'll wrap the wood in steel that holds the lumber to the ground. The result: wood stays intact and lasts longer.

Also, 2xEDGE securely installs your lumber to - not in - the ground. With air circulating around all sides of your lumber, rot won't have a chance to set in.

Also, just sayin': the installation process is quick. 2xEDGE takes just minutes and a rubber mallet to install two-by lumber. 

As you consider wood landscape edging using two-by lumber, consider 2xEDGE Staples. You'll get all of the benefits that come with using natural wood as landscape and garden edging, and none of the problems that come with the old ways of installing wood as edging.

 

So, Now You Know

Who knew there are so many benefits to using two-by lumber as wood landscape edging?

Well, we did. And now you do, too.

Ready to go grab your lumber? We've got info to help you figure out what lumber will work best for your project and how to get all that lumber home. Check out our lumber posts.

 

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