6 Materials for Landscape Edging, Patios, and Paths

Selecting the right materials for landscape edging, patios, and paths is an important decision that can enhance the aesthetics and functionality of your outdoor space. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which materials are best suited for your needs and budget. This comprehensive guide explores six of the most popular and versatile materials used for landscape edging, patios, and paths to help you make an informed choice.


Brick is a classic and elegant material that has been used for centuries to construct durable hardscapes. Bricks are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, allowing you to add customized decorative flair to your landscape design.

Pros of Using Brick

  • Timeless aesthetic that does not go out of style
  • Withstands the elements and provides long-lasting durability
  • Variety of looks from formal to rustic depending on the brick style
  • Can be laid in different patterns for visual interest
  • Provides good traction for safe foot traffic
  • Brick walls make attractive raised beds for gardens

Using Brick for Edging

Laying a brick border is a simple DIY project that clearly delineates garden beds, tree rings, or lawns with a tidy, decorative edge. Stack bricks and mortar them in place along the desired edge. For a more finished look, place cap bricks or flat pavers along the top. Low brick walls also make excellent raised beds for vegetables and flowers. Leave spaces between bricks to allow drainage.

Brick Patios and Pathways

The timeless, elegant look of brick patios and pathways can enhance the style of your landscape. Mix brick sizes, colors, and layout patterns to create visual interest underfoot. Brick has good slip resistance even when wet for safe outdoor footing. Use sand or polymeric sand between brick joints and seal the surface annually to prevent weeds.

Cost of Brick

Brick is one of the more expensive landscape materials but provides great value. Expect to pay $8-20 per square foot installed depending on the brick quality and pattern complexity. Brick edging costs around $10-30 per linear foot.


Natural stone creates a graceful, organic look in landscapes and comes in a diverse array of stone types like granite, bluestone, limestone, and sandstone. Stone can be dressed or rough-cut for different finishes.

Benefits of Stone

  • Provides a natural, earthy aesthetic
  • Variety of unique stone types, shapes, sizes and colors
  • Extremely durable and weather-resistant
  • Can mimic a native rock outcropping in natural garden designs
  • The irregular shapes allow creative patterns and textures
  • No maintenance required once installed

Stone for Edging and Borders

Loose stone borders lend a free-flowing, natural edge and reinforce the organic style of woodland or habitat gardens. Use irregular flagstones and set them closely together or with wide gaps depending on your preference. Larger boulders also make striking edge accents. Mortar natural stones for a cleaner border or raised bed edging.

Stone Patios and Paths

Rustic flagstone patios and stepping stone paths evoke natural beauty. Use local fieldstone or dressed stone like bluestone for walkways to make it appear native to the environment. The irregular shapes provide visual delight underfoot. Sand swept in between reduces slipping.

Stone Cost

Stone is one of the more expensive options but unmatched in beauty and longevity. Stone edging costs $15-45 per linear foot depending on type and size. Stone patios range from $15-30 per square foot installed.


Concrete offers versatile, affordable options for landscape edging and hardscapes with the look and feel of stone. Concrete can be stained, stamped, or engraved to mimic other high-end materials too.

Benefits of Concrete

  • Extremely strong and durable for long service life
  • Stains and dyes allow custom colors and realistic stone-like finishes
  • Relatively affordable compared to natural stone or pavers
  • Layouts and shapes can be tailored to your specific design
  • Smooth concrete is safe for walking and wheelchairs
  • Provides good traction when textured or broom-finished

Concrete for Edging

Poured concrete edges give clean, crisp definition to landscape beds and lawns. Concrete can be shaped, colored, and stamped to coordinate with hardscapes. For softness, edge with curved lines and shapes.

Concrete Patios and Walks

Concrete is one of the most popular patio and walkway materials thanks to its strength, price, and customization options. Stamp or etch the wet concrete to mimic stone, brick, wood planking, or tile patterns. Saw-cut control joints prevent cracking.

Cost of Concrete

Concrete offers significant savings over natural stone and brick. Concrete edging runs $6-12 per linear foot poured. Concrete patios cost around $4-8 per square foot depending on decorative treatments.

Composite Lumber

For the natural beauty of wood without the maintenance, composite lumber makes an attractive, eco-friendly choice for landscape projects. Composites contain recycled plastic and wood fibers fused together.

Benefits of Composite Lumber

  • Realistic wood-like appearance and texture
  • Resists rotting, splintering, cracking, and insect damage
  • No staining or sealing required
  • Molded styles mimic intricate woodworking
  • Resilient even in wet conditions
  • Large product size selections for edging and decking
  • Contains recycled content

Composite Edging

Composite edging is an attractive, low-maintenance option to border garden beds and tree rings. The molded lumber installs similar to standard wood edging. Choose colors to coordinate with your color scheme like black for modern or brown for rustic.

Composite Decking

Composite deck boards create a beautiful, comfortable outdoor living space without ongoing wood maintenance. Mix colors for additional flair. The lumber cuts, fastens, and installs with common tools like wood.

Cost of Composite Lumber

Composite costs more upfront than wood but saves over time with minimal upkeep. Expect to pay around $4-9 per linear foot for basic composite edging. Composite decking runs $7-12 per square foot installed.


Sleek and modern, metal adds a contemporary edge to landscapes as edging, borders, and decorative accents. Choose corrosion-resistant metals like aluminum, steel, and copper that develop unique patinas over time.

Benefits of Metal

  • Sleek, modern, industrial aesthetic
  • Rigid and strong for lasting durability
  • Low-maintenance and weather-resistant
  • Creative geometric shapes and patterns
  • Good slip-resistance when textured
  • Can mix metals for contrast
  • Available in variety of colors and finishes

Metal Edging

For a crisp, clean edge, install metal strips, tubes, or lattice panels along beds, paths, and lawns. Aluminum and steel offer affordable options, while copper and stainless steel provide upscale touches.

Metal Accents

Add visual impact to gardens and patios with metal sculptures, screens, wall panels, pergolas, arbors and trellises. Weathering steel develops a striking rust patina over time.

Cost of Metal

Metal offers cost-effective options. Basic aluminum or steel edging starts around $5 per linear foot. More intricate or specialized metalwork ranges $20-60 per square foot installed.

Gravel and Aggregates

For an affordable, low-maintenance solution, gravel and crushed stone offer versatile options for edging, paths, patios, and driveways. Available in a spectrum of natural hues, pea gravel and crushed aggregates complement a variety of landscape styles.

Benefits of Gravel

  • Very budget-friendly compared to other materials
  • Easy for DIY installation
  • Low-maintenance, no weeding or mowing required
  • Natural colors and textures
  • Permeable drainage
  • Materials like decomposed granite compact nicely for paths
  • Great for softening hard edges

Gravel for Edging and Borders

Gravel makes a casual, natural edging around planting beds, trees, and other borders. Use it alone or contain it with edging. The neutral colors blend with landscapes. Pea gravel, decomposed granite, and crushed rock all perform well.

Gravel Patios, Paths, and Driveways

For walkways, patios and cozy sitting areas, pea gravel or crushed stone blends provide firm footing that feels pleasant underfoot. Use geotextile fabric underneath to prevent sinking and weeds. Pack and relevel gravel annually.

Cost of Gravel

Bulk aggregates keep costs way down. Gravel edging runs just $1-3 per linear foot. Gravel patios and pathways cost a mere $2-6 per square foot installed. Even long driveways can be affordable with gravel.

Key Considerations When Selecting Materials

Choosing the right materials for your landscape edging, patios, walkways comes down to assessing your needs in terms of budget, appearance, and function:

  • Budget – Gravel and concrete offer the most budget-friendly options. Natural stone and pavers fall on the pricier end of the spectrum.
  • Appearance – Select materials and colors that will complement your landscape design aesthetics in terms of formality, style, color scheme, and overall visual flow.
  • Functionality – Consider traction, slip-resistance, and accessibility needs. Ensure edging can contain planting beds. Confirm paths and patios can handle anticipated foot traffic and accessibility needs.
  • Durability – Choose lasting materials like brick, concrete, and stone that withstand heavy use and the elements in your climate. Avoid maintenance-intensive materials like real wood.
  • DIY Skill Level – Opt for materials matching your skill level. Gravel and prefab edging are easier to DIY than mortared pavers or poured concrete.

By thoughtfully assessing your unique needs in the landscape and researching the versatile material options available, you can create stunning, functional outdoor living spaces your family will enjoy for years to come. Let this guide provide inspiration as you explore the possibilities for enhancing your landscape with borders, patios, pathways, and accents that blend beauty, utility, and style.

Frequently Asked Questions About Landscape Edging, Patios, and Path Materials

What is the most attractive edging material?

Natural stone and brick create the most elegant edged borders, though concrete, metal, and quality wood composites also provide attractive refined options. Loose materials like gravel offer a casual, natural look.

What is the best material for patios and paths?

Concrete, brick, and flagstone rank among the best patio and pathway materials thanks to their combination of durability, appearance, and slip resistance. Gravel also performs well for light usage.

Which materials are the easiest to install for DIYers?

Prefabricated landscape edging, gravel, and mulch are the easiest DIY materials that don’t require advanced skills. Premade paver systems are also beginner-friendly. Poured concrete and mortared stone require greater expertise.

What materials work well for curving landscape edges and borders?

Natural stone and pavers make curving borders simple because their modular nature allows flexible curves. Flexible premade plastic or metal strip edging also creates graceful curves easily.

What materials should be avoided?

Avoid low-durability wood, recycled rubber mulch, and cheap plastic edging that easily become misshapen, cracked, or lifted. Stay away from loose materials like bark nuggets for patios or paths that displace easily underfoot.

How long do landscape edging and hardscapes last?

Properly installed materials like brick, concrete, and natural stone can last 20-50 years or longer. Even quality wood composite edging and decking can last 15-25 years with minimal upkeep. Gravel and plastic edging generally last only 2-10 years before needing replacing.

How important is integrated color in landscape materials?

A cohesive color scheme ties the entire landscape design together, so select edging, paver, and wall materials that integrate well with the colors of your plantings, furnishings, and home exterior for a seamless finished look.

Should edging match the patio or path material?

It looks most cohesive when edging matches or complements patios and walkways. However, mixing materials can also add interesting contrast. Just ensure the overall look remains cohesive.

How much maintenance will the materials require?

Concrete, brick, and stone require almost no maintenance beyond occasional pressure washing. Gravel and wood composites may need minimal upkeep like releveling or resealing. Some plastic edgings need regular replacement.


Selecting the ideal materials for landscape edging, patios, and pathways involves assessing your budget, design aesthetics, site conditions, and long-term goals. Luckily, the range of options from classic brick to modern metal allows you to customize outdoor living spaces matching both form and function. This overview of six popular materials provides a helpful starting point to make informed, creative landscape material selections that will enhance your outdoor living area for decades to come.