Define garden spaces and keep your yard looking neat with decorative edging
Well-defined gardens and orderly blooms give a lovely, landscaped appearance to any yard. With the use of decorative edging, it is easier than ever to create solid boundaries between your lawn and garden and maintain a freshly groomed look at all times. In addition to creating a neat appearance, edging prevents soil and mulch from spilling onto your lawn. It also keeps driveway gravel out of your flower beds and prevents grass from growing into garden areas, reducing the amount of time you need to spend weeding. If you are looking to add both definition and design to your landscape, edging is available in a variety of materials, styles and colors. Edging will not only improve how your yard looks, it will also reduce the time you spend maintaining it. Before you buy edging, consider the following questions:
Spade-Cut, Strip, Masonry and Wood Edging
There are several different types of edging available. The four main types include spade-cut, strip edging, masonry and wood edging. Look around your yard and choose a material that aesthetically matches the design and style of your outdoor space. Each edging material has advantages and some varieties are better suited to certain climates. The main difference between each material, however, is budget and appearance. The least expensive, most commonly used material is plastic edging. One of the most attractive and most expensive types is rock or stone. Each type also varies slightly in how it is installed.
Spade-Cut Edging: For the simplest type of border, choose spade-cut edging. Spade-cut edging involves digging a narrow trench around the outside of the bed you are setting apart. This elegant edging was once used in the renowned English gardens. Spade-cut edging works well in most yards, regardless of the slope or the size of the area. Occasional maintenance involves weed removal and keeping soil out of the trench.
Strip Edging: Strip edging consists of a shallow barrier that is anchored beneath the ground. The very top part of the edging is visible to subtly set the bed and lawn apart. Strip edging works best for creating curves and comes in plastic and metal varieties. Plastic is less expensive and easier to install. Metal edging comes in steel or aluminum and lasts longer but is less pliable. In cold climates, where the ground heaves regularly due to frost, strip edging can dislodge so you may need to occasionally reinstall it.
Masonry Edging: Masonry edging, composed of stone, brick or concrete, is the most expensive type. Stone is very attractive and allows you to match borders to any existing stonework you have used in the landscaping, garden or exterior of your home. You can stand brick on end or lay it flat so it's easier to mow over, or you can mortar the bricks for a traditional look. Cement or brick pavers are less expensive. Cement borders often come in preformed sections of different shapes and styles, allowing for easier installation.
Wood Edging: Wood edging comes in precut sections of alternating heights -- either as round logs or flat boards. This type of edging is usually either prestained or pressure treated for convenience. You can also use large landscape timbers or railroad ties. All types of wood edging are durable and most are affordable. The types of wood most often used include cedar, cypress and redwood, which resist rot naturally when lying next to soil. If these types of wood are too expensive, opt for pressure-treated wood, which stands up well to rot. Try landscaping timbers in an area where the border must resist pressure from surrounding soil, such as on a hill.
Installation: For tips on how to install the various types of edging that are available, consult the chart below.
|Edging Type||Installation Tips|
|Wood: Landscape Timbers||
Landscape Timbers: Landscape timbers and railroad ties are large, durable and relatively inexpensive, unless you buy specialty wood, like cherry. You can use them individually to outline straight beds or pile them on top of each other. Landscape timbers are made from pressure-treated wood and coated with a wood preservative called "creosote." Timbers work well to hold back soil, such as in a retaining wall.
Cement or Brick Pavers: Some types of pavers interlock so they are easy to use. Although the interlocking kind are more expensive, they can be used to quickly create borders or raised beds without needing mortar. Pavers are typically 12" long and 4" wide.
Plastic Edging: Polyethylene edging has a round head on top and a series of grooves on the bottom to keep it anchored. Plastic edging is sold in 5" to 6" widths in 20' to 60' lengths. Some types contain UV inhibitors to resist fading and cracking in the sun. Lightweight and easy to bend, plastic edging works well in beds that are round or curvy. Plastic edging is the least expensive type of edging material. You can buy plastic edging in a kit with connector pieces to join corners or other tight areas.
Cedar Edging: Short, round cedar logs provide an informal look and can be set on end at equal or varied heights. You can also buy whole sections of these short logs strung together in one piece with plastic backing that you can simply push into the ground and secure with stakes.
Bender Board: Bender board is milled from redwood or made from composite materials, about 1/4" thick, which allows the board to bend easily. Bender board is sold in long rolls and is sometimes difficult to find. The benefit of using bender board is that it conforms to tight curves and angles.
Steel Edging: Steel edging is sold in 5" to 6" widths, in 10' to 20' lengths and in different gauges. Steel is flexible but not as bendable as plastic and is more expensive. Steel edging does not work well in climates where temperature fluctuations are common as frost can make the edging material heave. Dislodged steel edging can be extremely dangerous if left exposed in your yard.