Southern Trillium LLC
Southern Trillium LLC
  • Hometalker
  • Stone Mountain, GA

A trick to laying out near perfect curved bedlines.


If you have ever tried to mark off long curved lines by hand, you probably know that it is not easy. What seems like a nice curved line while marking ends up with it having strange bumps and not so smooth curves. A trick to laying out very nice curves is to use several long lengths of 3/4 inch pvc pipe. I prefer using schedule 20 irrigation pipe, as it is already in 20 foot lengths and one end of each pipe has a bell end, so they slide together.
As you can see in the photo, the pipe allows you to lay out the curves and continually adjust them until you have the shape you want. I use concrete form board spikes to hold my pipe in place. Once happy, take a can of marking paint and mark off the curve. In the case of this photo, once marked, I ran a bed-edger along the long curved lines to create the new bed space. More time was spent adjusting the pipe and setting the lines than actually running the bed edger machine. But in the end, the pipe allows you to create beautiful flowing curves over long distances. In the case of this photo, I was using 120 feet of pipe to create the long bedlines.
We use the same trick in marking off curves on patios and walkways made of concrete, pavers, and stone. It is nearly impossible to free-hand mark a long flowing curve, but with a few pieces of fairly inexpensive PVC pipe, it becomes quite easy.
The pieces of PVC pipe set out and marked to create the new flowing bedlines. I was using 120 feet of pipe to create these long bedlines.
The pieces of PVC pipe set out and marked to create the new flowing bedlines. I was using 120 feet of pipe to create these long bedlines.

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2 of 16 comments
  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Jun 6, 2012

    Everyone is correct in that garden hose does work to help lay out a bedline. The photo shown above is to illustrate another way to lay out near perfect curved lines. The pvc we use for this is 3/4" thin wall PVC. It is a schedule 20 pvc, which is used for irrigation lines. The thin wall allows it to be very flexible. The reason we use pipe versus hose is because when you take a long piece of pipe and flex it, it will bend into a beautiful curve. Since this pipe comes in 20 foot lengths, it is difficult to transport, but at about $3 per 20 foot stick, it could almost be a disposable item if the project justifies it. You could have 60 feet of pipe to bend for less than $10. Here is an example, if you wanted to mark off an exact circle in the ground, you can either place a stake in the center and tie a string at the desired radius, then mark the circle by walking around with the fixed length string. A long piece of PVC pipe can be looped into a circle, and it will be in a near perfect circle that can be laid on the ground. and marked. A garden hose provides something to follow, but it does not provide the near perfect curve. We mainly use PVC pipe to mark curves in our hardscape projects. It allows us to mark a nearly perfect curve and then saw cut the patio and walkway curves.

  • Marg C
    on Jun 7, 2012

    I see what you mean southern...a garden hose could make a sidewalk a little wind-ey whereas the pvc would be smoother and more accurate for walking '')

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