I just want to define the edge of my bed and keep the grass out! I don't want to add anything decorative or that is hard to mow next to and want to do it myself as inexpensively as possible. Does that black stuff work? Is it easy enough to put in yourself without special tools?
Number one, buy a medium to high price flexible edging. I have found it easiest to cut alongside of the bed with a space and then force the edging down in. You still have to put the runners that go over the top but I find it works well. Last summer I purchased some of the edging that comes in sections about 2' long, you pound them in with a rubber mallet. I am going to use those again for ease of installation. I really can't tell you how well they work.
how well they work will depend on (1) your grass type and (2) how deep your edging will go. Cheap edgings are worthless and much more difficult to keep in place.
A fescue type lawn, you don't have to go too deep, four inches should do. Don't buy too cheap an edging even for this.
If you have an invasive type grass as we do - I live in golf haven where bermuda grass is common and you'll get it in your flower beds no matter what - don't think there is such a thing as a commerically available plastic edge that can keep it out - at least, not one I've found. Bermuda grass is the toughest weed I fight. But you can slow it down with the edging.
Look for edgings that are eight inches or more in height: if you find it, it will be expensive. It's worked best for us when we set it 7" into the ground straight down. Be careful not to set it at an angle, that gives the grass an "edge" - sorry couldn't resist the pun. And then let the edge ride up above ground level an inch - low enough the mower won't harm it but high enough to discourage surface runners. You'll have to trim the edge grass, otherwise surface runners will still go up and over the top.
the most important thing about setting edging in place is getting a really good flat cutting edge spade. you don't think about it until you're cutting the dirt, but most digging shovels are not flat, and you'll end up with a scalloped edge that's hard to work against when placing the edging. Most flat shovels are made for scooping and don't have a sharp cutting edge.
Thanks for the advice - I am not sure what type of grass we have. I will ask DH later. I am worried about the rubber stiff heaving and popping up. I saw these 6" scalloped pieces that you pound in with a rubber mallet and they all interlock - anyone ever hear of or see or use such a thing? Seems like it would be easy for me to handle doing myself and I could do it and come back to it. I rarely have a long stretch of time to dedicate to a project like this
Yes I used them last summer and it was easy to install. I have done both kinds by myself and prefer the ones in sections. I have had some of the expensive coiled kind in for 8 years and it hasn't heaved or popped up. Some cheaper coiled edging has worked it's way out.
we don't have deep enough freezes for me to talk about heaving and popping up. wouldn't you also recommend she not skimp on the stakepegs, Zen?
And I've heard the sections are easier to install, too, but our runner grasses habitually take advantage of the breach, no matter how well sealed, between sections. when I install the flex coiled stuff, I always had to plan ahead for as few breaks as possible.
But runner grasses tend to be southern "thang" and maybe you don't have these problems?
No our grass isn't as difficult to hold back. It does spread just not as aggressively.
If using the long coiled edging it is a good idea to follow the directions on number of stakes. One important thing to look for is a kind that attaches with another one well. I like to save money, but that is one thing I won't again. Actually the cheap stuff I tried was free and I know why the people gave it away. Fortunately is was a small garden so I didn't have to replace much.
I went outside to check my short section ones and they are individual pieces about 6" wide, I was way off on the size. They attach to each other and there are no pegs. It makes it very easy to go around curves. They are more expensive though. I used them on a relatively small garden. I will probably go back to the long coiled edging when I put in large gardens.
Zen that sounds exactly like what I bought. They come 40 to a package so you get 2' per box. I looked at the rubber coil and it just looks like I won't be able to do it thoroiughly enough on my own. I also expect grass 'can' get through but just slowing it down will be a good thing. Thanks for all the input!!! If you think of anything more I am happy to hear it ^_^
I have zoysia grass and bermuda grass and both send underground shoots into the flower beds. I installed the black rubber edging and it actually worked great. I just used a flat edging tool and made my digging edge deep. It was an all day's work but it was worth it. I still have to do it in some other beds.