So just what is landscape edging, anyway?
When it comes to landscaping, keeping the garden organized can be a challenge. The best way to keep everything nice and neat is to use landscape edging borders.
Landscape edging will not only be aesthetic additions, but it will also provide a way to keep gravel and other materials in place. A landscape edging border will help keep your lawn from spreading. If you’re looking at your landscaping plans and you’re not sure what exactly is missing, landscape edging may the answer.
There are a lot of landscape edging ideas out there. From material to installation to even landscape design design, you’ll find a lot of options. This guide provides a breakdown of the hows and whys of landscape edging.
Why Use Landscape Edging?
Image source: West Winds Nursery LLC
Landscape edging serves as a way of organizing your garden and landscaping, both visually and practically. Landscape edging will help you delineate pathways, patios, and different sections of your garden.
You can use it to group plants with similar care requirements together to make your gardening work easier. It is an excellent way to keep your lawn from spreading from where you want it, too.
You see different kinds of landscape edging more often than you think at both private homes and even public parks. It’s a very effective landscaping tool and you should give it serious consideration in your own landscaping plans. You can adapt landscape edging easily to either curved lines or straight lines.
It creates a cleaner line for mowing and trimming, saves you on trimming and weeding time, and provides a root barrier to keep invasive lawn grass from getting into flower beds. For homes, landscape edging will keep mulch where it belongs, show off your flowers and shrubs, and will complement your home and landscaping.
Well-chosen landscape edging can actually add value to your home because it makes such an impact on your yard and garden.
Materials Used in Landscape Edging
Image source: Paintbox Garden
There are many different kinds of landscape edging. What kind you opt to use should depend on style, function, and cost.
Metal Landscape Edging
Image source: The LaurelRock Company
Metal landscape edging is becoming increasingly popular, as it looks very good in succulent gardens, in front of modern homes, and between gravel and planted areas.
Metal edging can be placed in clean, straight lines very easily, so it looks very good in more modern styles of landscaping. It can just as easily be curved, however, so it’s a very adaptable material to use for landscape edging.
Weather resistant steel landscape edging and heavy gauge aluminium landscape edging will not rust, thought other kinds might. You can find powder-coated steel landscape edging in a number of colors. Untreated steel landscape edging may develop a rusty patina over time.
Black will look more formal, while green and brown are more relaxed. Thicker metal landscape edging will be both tougher and more expensive. Any kind of metal landscape edging may start to fray with time and exposure to the elements.
To install, metal edging, you’ll have to dig a trench to hold it in place (unless you have very soft soil, in which case you won’t need to dig).
Place a 2×4 plank along the top of the metal landscape edging and hammer the plank to drive the metal landscape edging into the ground. This is a fairly easy do it yourself project, though installing a lot of metal landscaping edging in your yard is fairly exhausting job.
Stone Landscaping Edging
Stone has been used for landscape edging for as long as there has been landscape edging. It is the most natural looking material for landscape edging, especially if you use rocks from around the area and bury them a few inches deep.
You can also place stones in mortar for a more refined look. Stone landscape edging looks good as the edging for pools and gardens ponds, providing a clear border with a natural look and durability.
Leaving gaps between the landscape edging stones allows for good drainage. If you want to create a clear line of distinction, get rocks and boulders that have a similar size.
Many people choose lighter colored rocks for these sorts of borders so that they stand out. You’ll need to make sure that ground cover won’t grow over your landscape edging stone, as well.
Brick Landscape Edging
Image source: Hill Swift Architect, pllc
Brick is a very easy to install and traditional looking kind of landscape edging. New bricks will be a crisp red, while salvaged brick will be faded and rustic. Moss and lichen tend to grow on brick, which can actually look very good depending on your landscaping design.
You don’t have to mortar the bricks in place when you’re laying them flat. Every piece can be set in place in sand. Make sure every piece is installed low enough to prevent damage to lawnmowers. Brick works very well for curved lines, but it is not ideal for straight lines.
Tile Landscape Edging
In warmer environments, tile can also work as landscape edging. This form of edging looks very nice, but it is not very deep. Laying tiles on top of a concrete border will work better if you’re looking to create physical separation. Tile can also get quite expensive if used in abudance.
Concrete Landscape Edging
Image source: Samuel H. Williamson Associates
Concrete comes in a number of colors. You can personalize it in a variety of shapes and you can even stamp it for interesting textures. A foot-deep poured concrete border is a great way to keep gophers out of your yard and garden.
It’s a very durable form of landscape edging, but you should bear in mind that concrete can crack, shift, and stain. These are aesthetic issues for the most part, and the practical benefits of concrete landscape edging rarely change.
You can also use concrete pavers as landscape edging. These concrete pavers come in a variety of styles and are more flexible than poured concrete borders, since you can easily move individual pieces around.
Plastic Landscape Edging
Plastic is an affordable and easily installed material. There are a lot of grades available, and you will get what you pay for. It’s wise to buy the best you can afford. Plastic landscape edging has a formal, crisp appearance. It can be prone to cracking over time, especially in cold areas.
Bender boards are a unique kind of plastic edging, made from recycled polyurethane plastic. It comes in several colors and can easily be found at your nearest home improvement store.
It’s a very flexible material and very hard to place in a straight line. The thinner the strip of bender board, the more flexible it will be. It’s very easy to cut with a saw and install yourself. You’ll just need to dig a trench to hold it in place. Hold bends in place with plastic stakes evert 4 to 6 feet.
Rubber Landscape Edging
Rubber landscape edging is very flexible and comes in a range of styles. It’s generally affordable and easy to install. It can be used for both curved lines and straight lines. Rubber landscape edging can have issues staying in place, however, since it tends to be very lightweight.
Like plastic landscape edging, rubber landscape edging can be prone to crack in cold climates. Depending on the type, it can also deform due to environmental conditions.
Wood Landscape Edging
Image source: SALA Architects
Wood is another traditional material used for landscape edging. There are variety of wood landscape edging types.
For a very rustic look, you can use railroad ties or simple planks. Untreated wood will rot, however, so be prepared to replace it fairly often. Treated wood will last more often but will still decay eventually.
Also, wood changes color over time due to environmental conditions. For vegetable gardens, use untreated wood to keep chemicals from leeching into the soil. This kind of wood edging works best in straight lines and is very easy to install.
There is also wattle landscape edging. Wattle consists of a low fence woven of pliable wood like willow or dogwood. It works very well for holding back mulch, making it a great form of landscape edging for gardens.
Trench Landscape Edging
Trench landscape edging is not so much a material as a technique. It’s one of the oldest and cheapest kinds of landscape edging. All it takes is making a few cuts between your garden and your lawn.
The first cut should be straight down about 6 feet. Then, you should make another cut at a 45 degree angle toward the garden bed until it meets the straight cut at 6 feet deep.
That angled cut will prevent grass from spreading across the border and into your garden bed. Once you’ve removed the loose soil and trimmed away the extra grass to make the trench neat, fill the trench with the same mulch you use in the garden bed. This form of edging look very natural.
It does require some maintenance, however. You’ll have to trim your lawn into a neat line on a regular basis or you will end up having to repeat the trench process. Trench landscape edging is very cheap but also takes a lot of effort. It’s a good choice for anyone who doesn’t mind sweating a bit and is working on a budget.
Cost of Landscape Edging
Image source: Envision Landscape Studio
The first thing you should do before buying landscape edging is figure out how much you need, how deep you want it to go, and what shapes you want.
Curved landscape edging will require more length than straight landscape edging, generally speaking. Various kinds of edging come in different lengths. Steel landscape edging, for instance, come in 4 inch wide by 10 foot long strips.
Decide on what material you want to use. Repurposed stones might be free. Tile and brick can get quite expensive. Concrete can vary depending on what you want it to look like.
If you want to use an expensive type of landscape edging, use it sparingly to save money. Use it to draw the eye to particular features, while using more affordable materials in other areas. Affordable materials can look just as nice as expensive ones, so don’t feel you need to spend a lot of money to have attractive landscape edging.
Once you know how much and what kind of landscape edging you need, you can head to the store or on the web and start buying it.
Remember to look into what tools you will need to install the landscape edging if you’re doing it yourself and have them on hand. Concrete edging in particular may need a lot of tools depending on what you want to do with it.
If you aren’t installing your landscape edging yourself, or the material you’re using requires professional installation, you’re going to have to pay for labor.
You can usually contact local landscapers and they will install the landscape edging as a part of the other work they do on your landscaping. Depending on how you want the landscape edging to look, the material, and how deep you want it, the cost will vary.
Landscape Edging Style and Design
Image source: Lee’s Oriental Landscape Art
Edging can make a good unifying element if you have a very diverse garden. The right kind of edging can make your rose garden and your vegetable garden look like they belong near each other, rather than coming from completely different places. It van also unify your garden with your patio, porch or path.
Make sure your landscape edging works with all the other materials in your landscaping design and your home’s look, however. The color and design should fit in. The wrong choice can be jarring and distracting.
Adding in low fences can also connect your edging visually to a trellis or pergola. Low shrubs can be used for a more natural kind of clear fencing when planted next to your landscape edging. For an original look, add in unexpected materials like tile or glass to you edging for an interesting accent touch.
Use landscaping edging to group together an interesting variety of plants in your garden. With the right planning, this creates a beautiful, diverse artistic effect. If you have seasonal plants in your garden, like tulips, treat sections like this as seasonal displays for a fun bit of living seasonal décor.
Image source: The Matheson Team RE/MAX Fine Properties
Here are some more landscape edging design ideas and tips:
While straight line landscape edging may seem simpler and more modern, curved landscape edging can be much more aesthetically pleasing as well as being much easier to install. There’s an appeal and character to these curved lines as they lead people through your garden.
Straight lines often grow boring, and some times of the year may make them seem particularly harsh. Curved landscape edging designs remain beautiful all year long and have a classical look that’s hard to match.
Emphasize Focal Points
Use your landscape edging to draw people to focal points both physically and visually. Think of landscape edging as the frame. It should be used to accent and emphasize what you want people to see in your overall landscaping design, just as good frame will do for a beautiful work of art.
This can have a spectacular effect, especially in combination with good garden lighting choices. Whether your focal point is a secluded gazebo or simply a pleasant garden bench, you can use landscape edging to make it look even better. You can even use it to frame and accentuate your home’s architecture for a similar effect.
Image source: Spani Developments Ltd.
Landscape edging can be used to create convenient walkways through the garden. Simply create a space between your garden beds and/or your lawn about two feet wide. You can have it be bare soil or fill it gravel. If you are willing to spend the money, you can even pour concrete in the space or put down pavers.
The landscape edging will create the borders for the walkway naturally. You won’t need to have a sign! You can sue any kind edging to do this, from simple rock landscape edging to metal landscape edging to anything else at all.
A common use for landscape edging is as garden edging. This form of landscape edging is used to distinguish between your garden and your lawn, or between your garden and your walkways, or even between different sections of your garden.
Keep in mind what you have planted in your garden bed when you select the material for your garden edging. If you have a vegetable or herb garden, you want to choose a material that won’t taint the soil with chemicals.
Untreated wood is generally a good choice, as it will also enrich the soil over time, though you will have to replace it within a few years, since it will rot, especially in wet conditions. Flower bed edging does not have this issue, though it is generally wise to look at reviews of both t landscape he edging and the type of plants you have to see if there are any issues that might arise.
Lawn edging is another common use of landscape edging. This use of landscape edging not only serves a visual purpose, creating a clear border for your lawn, but also prevents the grass from spreading into areas you do not want it to grow, whether that is a gravel path or your garden beds.
Make sure the lawn edging is low enough that it does not damage your lawnmower. Even if you’re careful, you will probably run over your landscape edging when mowing. If it’s too high, you will also have issues being able to mow the grass growing alongside the landscape edging.
Even if you have artificial grass, lawn edging is still a good idea. The landscape edging will keep the line where the artificial grass ends and the actual landscaping begins from being too harsh and striking. It will also make it easier to install and replace the artificial grass as necessary since the lawn border will keep the area from simply being a hole in the dirt.
Maintaining Your Landscape Edging
Image source: K&D Landscape Management
Most landscape edging requires very minimal maintenance. You should be sure that grass and weeds are kept from overwhelming the landscape edging. Watch for escapes from lawn borders in particular and make sure they don’t spread.
Certain kind of shrubs will make an attempt to overtake your landscape edging if you don’t trim them regularly. String trimmers and power edgers are good tools to help with this struggle. You can also use hand tools like spades and hoes to help you keep your landscape edging looking nice and neat.
For the edging itself, keep an eye on it to see if it needs replaced or repaired. Plastic landscape edging can crack over time, and wood edging will eventually begin to show signs of rot.
If you want your metal landscape edging to be rust-free or free from weathering, you will likely need to replace it eventually. Sometimes brick landscape edging will have bricks come loose, crack, or chipped.
Image source: Amyduttonhome
Keep an eye on the landscape edging to make sure it holds the shape you want it to have. Sometimes the soil can shift or weather conditions may cause warping. The fix can be as simple as reseating the landscaping edging or as time consuming as replacing the whole section of landscaping edging.
When considering you landscape edging design and materials, be sure to factor future maintenance into your decision. If you don’t choose the right kind of landscape edging for your needs, it can end up costing you time and money further down the line.
Check landscaping websites and, if you’re still not sure, talk to a professional landscaper to get a feel for the right landscaping edging for your home.
Landscape edging can give a bit of style and organization even to simple yard. It’s something you should definitely consider if you are redoing your landscaping. Whether you are looking for a modern yard and gathering area or a classical garden for relaxing, landscape edging will help it look its best.