Give your landscape an edge with these tips
You’ve picked out some fresh perennials, ordered some herb seeds, and found some native grasses to fill out your garden. But even with all of these idyllic elements, your landscape just seems off. If your landscape feels a bit disheveled even after bringing in new plants, you’re probably overlooking one key element: edging. Follow these edging tips to give your flower beds and garden that finished, manicured look.
1. Plan Edges First
If you’re just starting out on your gardening journey, you’ll want to plan where the edging will go. That means measuring out where you’d like your garden or flower beds to be and outlining where to place the edging, which will separate these areas from your lawn.
For existing flower beds or gardens, you can still work with what you have. If you want to extend or minimize the amount of garden space, plan for where the new edging will go. Otherwise, if you plan to add edging materials like plastic or brick, measure the perimeter of your gardens to prepare for edging.
2. Choose Your Edging Tools
You can simply use a shovel to start edging, pushing it about 6 inches deep into the soil where your edging line should go. There are also several other more advanced garden edging tools for your lawn and gardens.
Shears: Use garden edging shears to snip away awkward, overhanging pieces of grass.
Bed edger: For new gardeners, use a bed edger to outline where new flower beds should go.
Trimmers: Trimmers, available in gas or electric models, help trim grass efficiently in tough-to-reach places along flower beds or fences.
Lawn edger: More for the lawn than garden beds, this tool will quickly cut boundaries around your property.
3. Pick an Edging Material
You can leave the edging without a border material, allowing the mulch or soil of your gardens to meet the grass. But keep in mind this method, called trench edging, may take more yard maintenance to prevent the grass from creeping across the borders you’ve created. Edging materials, like stones, help further define the boundaries and require less maintenance to keep that clean look.
Plastic edging costs about $1.40 to $2.10 per linear foot and offers a nearly indistinguishable transition from grass to garden. Keep in mind, though, that, up-close, plastic edging might not be as attractive as stone or brick. Plastic edging is easy to find at most home improvement retailers, and be sure to go for thicker, heavy-duty versions, which can better withstand hits from the trimmers or lawn mower.
For professional stone edging installation, you’ll spend $12 to $40 per linear foot. As a natural material, stone edging is a complementary addition to any garden. This material will create a wider border that brings more texture to the flower beds.
For attractive, durable, and relatively inexpensive edging, consider brick. This option is stronger than plastic, but it costs less than stone. Brick edging costs $2 to $3 per linear foot. If you hire a professional landscaper for installation, it will cost about $5 to $10 per foot more.
For better lawn mowing, concrete edging is a reliable pick. Poured concrete materials cost $4 to $5 per square foot, while pavers will cost about $2 to $3 per foot. Professional installation will add $5 to $13 more per square foot. It’s easy to maneuver around flat concrete pavers or poured concrete, and this material is dependable when it comes to preventing grass from coming into the garden.
Both aluminum and steel edging cost similar prices, about $2.50 to $4.50 per linear foot. If you love the seamless look of grass meeting the soil or mulch, consider metal edging. These narrow, short bars have a subtle appearance that effectively retains the border. Both aluminum and steel will help prevent grass roots from spreading into the garden, although aluminum weighs less and may be easier to work with.
4. Mow Before Edging
Before you start cutting your trenches or filling garden beds with fresh mulch, you’ll need to break out the lawn mower. Start by cutting the grass to about 2 1/2 inches tall. This will help prevent bare patches and will help you determine how short to cut the grass along the edging.
5. Keep Up With Edging Maintenance
You’ve cut your edges and filled your garden with new flowers, but to keep your landscape looking pristine, you’ll need to stay on top of maintenance. Grass grows quickly, so mowing, trimming, and clipping the lawn, particularly near edging, is important.
Sharpen edging: Once per year, re-cut the edging with your garden edging tools.
Remove overgrowth: Turf may take over your edging pavers. If this starts happening, remove those clumps of overgrown grass.
Trim plants: Likewise, your plants may grow over the edging. If you don’t like this look, trim plants and shrubs in spring and summer.
Clip grass: Use a trimmer or shears to trim up grass that hangs over edging. Plan to do this about once per week or after you mow the lawn.