Landscape edging keeps flower beds neat and grass in its place. Selecting an edging material can be a daunting task due to the wide variety of choices available. Plastic edging is inexpensive and easy to install, but doesn't hold up well and often looks tacky. Metal edging lasts for many years, blends into the landscape and bends to go around curves. Wooden edging costs about the same as metal edging or slightly less. It creates a rustic feeling, but is best used in straight-edged designs. Wood breaks down over time, requiring replacement. Brick, stone and formed cement provide durable, long-lasting edging, but cost the most.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Measuring tape
- Garden hose
- Powdered chalk
- Crescent shaped spade (or shovel)
- Rubber mallet
Visit local botanical gardens and neighbours' yards to compare the different kinds of materials used for landscaping edging. Consider the style of your home, the size of the flower beds and your budget when choosing edging. Brick and moulded cement edgings work well for traditional or formal homes, while wood or rock edgings are more suitable for casual or cottage-style designs.
Compare costs once you've chosen an edging. Visit home stores and landscape supply companies to find the best price.
Lay a garden hose out to define the intended edges of the garden. Softly curving lines generally are more aesthetically appealing than straight lines or sharp curves. Sprinkle powdered chalk along the garden hose to mark the line.
Measure the chalk line to calculate how much edging you will need.
Dig a 5- to 6-inch-deep trench along the designated boundary. Dig the trench deep enough that 1 inch or less of the metal or plastic protrudes out the top.
Insert the metal or plastic edging into the trench, bending it to accommodate curves. Use a rubber mallet to gently mould heavy-gauge stainless steel edging.
Slide the pins into place to secure the edging. Metal and plastic edging come with pins (or spikes) that slide into brackets found on the edging to secure one piece of edging to the next. Hammer them gently with the rubber mallet.
Score the metal or plastic edging with a hacksaw to remove excess length. Bend it back and forth until it breaks.
Pound the edging securely into the ground with the rubber mallet. Fill in the trench with soil and firm with your foot.
Dig a flat trench wide enough to accommodate the edging material and 1 to 2 inches deep.
Fill the trench with 1/2 inch of sand or pea gravel. These materials aid in drainage and prevent the bricks or rocks from moving if the soil heaves during frosts and thaws.
Place the bricks or stones in place in the trench. Walk on the bricks to ensure that they are stable. Fill in soil around them.
Tips and warnings
- Check online ads for used edging materials, such as bricks or stones. These items don't generally deteriorate with use and the savings are substantial.
- A living edging of small ground cover plants also can be used to separate lawns from flowers.
- Don't use sleepers or pressure-treated wood for landscaping, according to the University of Wyoming. Chemicals from these materials can leach into the soil, damaging plants.
- Unless you have experience with cement work, leave formed cement edging installation to the experts. Formed cement edging is difficult to change; make sure you carefully consider the shape and size of the beds before investing in these permanent edges.
- Buy metal edging with a rolled or rubber top to prevent cut feet.
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