BRICK Pavers or hard-fired bricks look good and last in almost any traditional garden. Brick collects moss in damp areas and may become slippery.
CAST IRON Ornamental edging is authentic; depending on height, it can be a low border or a short fence. The oxidized finish is fairly stable.
CONCRETE Extremely durable concrete can be made in nearly any color and poured into just about any design you want. You can also use pre-cast concrete bricks, “stones,” and tiles. It’s very hard to remove poured concrete edging if you later change your garden’s design or layout.
M E TA L It’s not obtrusive and it’s easy to bend and curve, but metal edging is hard to handle, and it rusts.
PLASTIC Affordable, flexible, and easy to install, plastic edging is not historical. It should be buried well and is best for long runs and curves, especially in the back of the garden (not up close).
STONE One of the more versatile edging materials (both natural shape and tooled, as in cobbles), stone can be carefully set in mortar or artistically combined with pebbles or gravel and other materials for a custom look.
TILE English rope-edged tiles are the most historically accurate, but today they are pricey.
WATTLE A historical edging in which saplings of pliable wood such as willow are woven into a band; wattle works well for holding back deep mulch.
WOOD Affordable and easy to work with (but good only for straight lines), wood adds an informal, organic look. Wood edging will last about 10 years (pressured-treated pine is best, to counter insects and rot).