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How to Install Landscape Timbers

Shelley Frost

Landscape timbers offer a durable edging material for gardens or raised beds. The wood creates a straight edge with a natural look that blends in well with the landscaping. The timbers require a little work to create a level, solid border, but they are easy enough for the average homeowner to install.

Edging is one element of your garden design.

Inspect each landscape timber to find pieces that are straight and free of blemishes.

  1. Push stakes into the ground to mark the corners of the area you're edging with the timbers. Tie strings between the stakes. Check the measurements and lines with a tape measure and level. Make adjustments as needed.

  2. Dig down 3 inches along the line you marked for the timbers. Dig the trench wide enough to accommodate the landscape timbers -- they're usually 4 to 6 inches wide. Move a level down the length of the trench resting on the bottom. Dig out any areas that are too high or uneven. Pack in more soil if you dug too much in a particular area.

  3. Position the first timber in the trench at the end. Check it with a level. Make adjustments to the soil underneath if necessary to make the timber level. Continue placing timbers so they sit tightly end-to-end. Cut the last timber if necessary to fit the remaining space in the trench.

  4. Place the second layer of landscape timbers, if you're doing two levels. Offset the joints of the timbers by 4 inches or more to make the wall stable. Use wood shims if necessary to get the second course of timbers level.

  5. Drill holes through both levels of timbers. Pound landscape spikes through the holes so they are level with the top timber to hold the edging in place.

  6. Fill in the trench with dirt to keep the landscape timbers secure. Pat the dirt down firmly as you fill in the remaining gaps in the trench.