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.

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      • 3popps
        on Jun 4, 2012

        An even cheaper (and admittedly less elegant)solution is to lay out old garden hose. It worked great for a path project I made.

        • Southern Trillium LLC
          Southern Trillium LLC Stone Mountain, GA
          on Jun 4, 2012

          garden hose is great, but it does not provide such a near perfect curve as PVC pipe. You can take a length of PVC and flex a nearly perfect curve with it.