Whether you want to boost the curb appeal of your home or establish clear lines in your landscape, lawn edging is a practical and relatively inexpensive way to do so. Not only does it last a long time, but it’s also easy to install.
The Benefits of Edging
Edging keeps grass in its place and prevents it from infiltrating your garden. Additionally, it prevents mulch and soil from getting on the grass. When you keep the edging low and flat, it can even handle the blades of your mower. As a result, you won’t ever to have to trim around the edges of your lawn. This saves you a ton of time and reduces your chances of accidentally clipping other plants and flowers.
It also creates a visible barrier that may prevent people (including children) from walking over your begonias, violets, and other delicate plants. If you have someone else tend your landscape — whether it’s a landscape professional or a child in the neighborhood — they'll probably be more than happy to see some edging thrown into the mix, as it keeps different elements of your landscape in their respective places.
How to Install Edging
Start by determining where you want to install the edging. While it’s traditionally placed around gardens and flowerbeds, you can also use it around your trees and shrubs (and anywhere else you don’t want grass to grow). Mark the area with spray paint and measure it thoroughly. This will help you purchase the right length of edging. Of course, you may want to purchase a little extra in case you need to replace a section or two in the future.
Go for edging that's four or five inches wide. As with any outdoor product, high-quality edging may cost more, but it’s more likely to endure the elements. While most plastic edging will last a long time, those who live in areas prone to inclement weather may want to think about spending a bit more on edging they know will look great in any kind of weather.
When you’re ready to install the edging, dig a trench in the soil along the line you marked with spray paint. Use a shovel, a sod-cutting spade, or another trench-digging tool to dig down about six inches — or an inch longer than the width of the lawn edging you chose (e.g. if you purchased edging that's four inches wide, dig a trench about five inches deep). Cut downwards, moving the tool back and forth to loosen the soil and lifting out any sod you want to be removed. Shake the soil from the sod into a wheelbarrow, and use it (along with the soil you dug out to create the trench) to fill in any holes or gaps after you’ve finished installing the edging. Throw the clumps of sod into your compost bin upside down so they can decompose properly.
To install the edging, simply unroll it and cut off the amount you need. Since it has been wound in a circle, it’ll probably already have a natural curl to it. Position the curve so that it faces your flowerbed or garden. Push the plastic down until it’s level with the base of the grass. If you must leave some of the edging above the surface, make sure that no more than half an inch is visible. Use the soil you removed from the trench to fill in the area on either side of the edging. This will help it stay in place. Ideally, the top of the edging will either be level with the surface or almost completely buried once you’ve backfilled the trench.
If your garden is curved, you may want to use a mallet to hammer landscaping stakes (available at your local hardware store or garden shop) through the plastic above the reinforcement strip to hold the curve in place. This will help the edging conform to the shape of your garden over time.
Use your feet to tamp down the dirt on either side of the edging and compact the soil. This will help it settle in place. If necessary, add in a little extra soil to ensure the top of edging doesn’t rise too high above the surface. Once you’ve installed the edging, survey your work area and look for holes and gaps. Fill any that you see using the soil in the wheelbarrow. Water the edging on either side of the trench to help the soil settle into place. If the water causes the soil to sink, add more soil to the top for reinforcement.
Boost Curb Appeal
Take the look of your edging to the next level by putting decorative stone or concrete pavers above the edging around your garden beds. This will not only add visual interest to your landscape, but it’ll also provide another barrier to prevent grass from getting too close to your other plants.