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Landscaping 101: Lawn Edging

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Landscaping 101: Lawn Edging

March 15, 2017

Anyone with a lawn knows the instant gratification that a sharp, freshly trimmed edge can give, but while keeping lawn regularly cut is one thing, it’s far more time consuming and fiddly to keep your edges in order. Step forward: lawn edging.

A  Sneeboer Lawn Edger with a hand-forged stainless steel head will cut a straight line in your lawn to create a precise edge of soil; €97 at Manufactum.
Above: A  Sneeboer Lawn Edger with a hand-forged stainless steel head will cut a straight line in your lawn to create a precise edge of soil; €97 at Manufactum.

What are the benefits of lawn edging?

Whether you have a pristine space or you garden on the more naturalistic side of the horticultural fence, incorporating an edge between your borders and lawn has many benefits. A strong edge will create neater, visually pleasing lines but it will also prevent border plants merging into grassed areas and help minimize infestations of weeds, especially invasive plants such as couch grass, from running into your borders too. It may also help to stop the migration of mulch and bark chips onto grassed areas.

What are the best materials to use for lawn edging?

The material you choose does, to a certain extent, depend on the style of your garden. There are options in metal, wood, stone, concrete, brick, and even plastic.

Metal Lawn Edging

 EverEdge Classic lawn edging (from around £5 per meter) was used in a recent Chelsea Flower Show. Photograph via EverEdge.
Above: EverEdge Classic lawn edging (from around £5 per meter) was used in a recent Chelsea Flower Show. Photograph via EverEdge.
Steel edging such as EverEdge is one of the strongest options and it’s very popular with garden designers—count the gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show using this sturdy, durable and aesthetically pleasing edging. It comes in meter-long strips that link together and are then sunk into the ground with pointed “teeth,” or, in longer strips that can be manipulated into sinuous curves. There are also circular options to install around trees and other features and this type of edging comes in many finishes too including black, brown, and rusted Cor-Ten steel.

A more economical metal alternative is Gardman’s Galvanised Lawn Edging ((£.99 for a 5-meter roll), which is a corrugated roll which is also sunk into the edge of the lawn. It can be cut to size.
Above: A more economical metal alternative is Gardman’s Galvanised Lawn Edging ((£14.99 for a 5-meter roll), which is a corrugated roll which is also sunk into the edge of the lawn. It can be cut to size.
Pros: Long-lasting, sturdy, looks great and you can generally use a mower or strimmer right up to the edge.

Cons: Can be expensive.

Plastic and Rubber Lawn Edging

A 4-meter roll of Rubber Edging Strip is 3 millimeters thick and can be cut to length; it is €.80 from Manufactum.
Above: A 4-meter roll of Rubber Edging Strip is 3 millimeters thick and can be cut to length; it is €24.80 from Manufactum.
There are increasingly sophisticated edging options in plastic, including a heavy duty polypropylene edging from Smartedge which is flexible and is fixed into place with pins (£32.99 for 5 meters).

EcoBlok’s Flexi Border is made from recycled rubber tires but mimics small bricks and comes in a range of colors. It can also be curved to 70 degrees (£12.99 per meter).

Pros: Quick to install, can be economical.

Cons: Some plastics can become brittle and break over time.

Wood Lawn Edging

 A roll of Rowlinson Natural Timber Border Edging is £3.9data-src=
Above: A roll of Rowlinson Natural Timber Border Edging is £3.91 per meter at B&Q.
Perhaps the most economical and lo-fi edging of all, is a simple timber plank that is sunk into the side of lawns and held in place with a few deeper uprights. But most garden centers also sell other wooden options on rolls including willow, bamboo, or mini logs.

Pros: Easy to install, will look naturalistic against borders and lawn.

Cons: Not as long lasting as some other materials.

Brick or Stone Lawn Edging

Maria Drema Sundstrom of the gardening blog, Almbacken, installed a black fence to serve as backdrop to her Swedish garden and a clever cache for her garbage and recycling units. Photograph by Maria Dremo Sundstrom. See more at Trend Alert: Black Fences.
Above: Maria Drema Sundstrom of the gardening blog, Almbacken, installed a black fence to serve as backdrop to her Swedish garden and a clever cache for her garbage and recycling units. Photograph by Maria Dremo Sundstrom. See more at Trend Alert: Black Fences.

For cottage gardens, the mellow tone of brick provides a very traditional and aesthetically pleasing edge. Bricks are inserted on their long side either directly into the soil or, better still, onto a layer of sand. They are then knocked into position and checked as you go along with a plumb line to ensure they are level. This is an economical option if you have old bricks to use up. There are also a variety of stone, terra cotta, or concrete panels which are laid in a similar way or laid permanently on a concrete foundation.

Pros: Gives an instant cottage garden feel and looks great.

Cons: More time consuming to install, can be more expensive if you are sourcing bricks. Bricks can sometimes need resetting over time and some are susceptible to frost damage too.

N.B.: See more landscape edging ideas:

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