Common edging materials are shown on this page, but you can use almost anything. River rock (both the large and small varieties), whole or broken sea shells, broken brick or block, and even reclaimed roofing tiles or broken-up concrete make attractive and functional edging.
Edging is more than an aesthetic element. It also helps contain the surface material. Although not required for flagstone and mortared surfaces, edgings are a must for dry-set brick and concrete pavers. Without it, maintenance chores increase greatly.Types of edging
Brick: Brick set as soldiers (upright and on edge) and sailors (flat and perpendicular to the pattern of the paving) enhance both formal and informal designs. Set bricks into a trench on an angle for an attractive sawtooth edging. Brick works well for edging curved patterns as well.
Poured concrete: You can color and texture poured concrete to match or contrast with the patio or path. Installed in curbs, it requires strong forms and a little extra effort, but if properly installed, it will outlast many other edgings.
Plastic and steel: Plastic edging is flexible and affordable and conforms to almost any curve, though it isn't strong enough to contain heavy materials. Anchor it with spikes driven through lugs. Use commercial-grade steel edging to contain precast concrete pavers and in any installation where you need edge restraint but don't want a visible edging material. Both plastic and steel edgings are buried below the edge of the surface materials so they don't show.
Wood: Lumber (2x4, 2x6, or 2x8) and landscape timbers (4x4 or 6x6) make a pleasant contrast with brick or concrete paving. Stake timbers in place and backfill with topsoil to hide the stakes. Or predrill timbers and drive 1/2-inch rebar through the holes into the soil.
Stone: Both flagstone and cut stone make excellent edging. You can purchase precut stone or cut the pieces yourself. Make sure to select stones of roughly the same width so the border doesn't look haphazard.
Precast edging: Precast pavers come in straight or curved shapes, many with sculpted designs. You can use them to match or set off your paver pattern. Some styles pair well with sand-set brick.