Ideally lawns need some type of barrier between them and any garden beds. Edging prevents the lawn from spreading into garden beds and becoming a weed. It can also be used to keep soil and mulch in the garden beds and just makes the yard look nice and tidy. While primarily functional, lawn edging can also be a great design feature in your front and backyards.
Lawn edging comes in many different forms from the very simple (and cheapest) of a spade cut along the edge of the lawn creating a narrow, empty space between the garden and the lawn. With this type of edging there is no limit to the shapes that can be achieved however it is the most labour extensive type of edging to maintain. So, the other option is to use materials to create the lawn edging, the barrier. Regardless of the type of edging material you decide upon, they all should penetrate the soil by 5-10cms in order to keep grass roots in check and to prevent them from spreading underneath the edging.
Note: If you have a particularly aggressive rhizomes turf such as Couch then penetrating 15cms into the soil is recommended.
While most forms of garden edging are raised, some are designed to sit flush with the height of the grass, making them virtually invisible. This style is created to be mowed over without causing damage and greatly reduces the amount of whipper snipping required, however, it just won’t work if the grass gets too long; it will just grow over the top of the edging and through into the garden bed.
Types of Edging Materials
Rock – available from local landscape supply yards or even from around your yard, rock comes in a wide variety of sizes and shapes so you can adjust the edging to suit your garden style. Rock can be heavy to work with but it does a great job of retaining garden beds, blocking grass and typically doesn’t require cementing in allowing for future changes if required.
Concrete – from pre-moulded concrete pieces to custom created edges, the possibilities with concrete lawn edging are varied. It just depends on your personal style, the time you have if you are considering a DIY project, and your budget. Pre-moulded pieces can limit your flexibility in terms of shape but you do have the ability to rearrange them if you wish. Concrete laid in situ offer some flexibility but should generally be considered permanent.
Timber sleepers – cost effective and pretty easy to work with, you should always use hardwood. Treated hardwood should last around 20-25 years in good garden conditions whereas untreated wood can attract termites and rot more quickly.
Pavers – old bricks or pavers are popular for lawn edging since they offer flexibility in design and budget.
Recycled plastic – crafted from UV stabilised recycled plastic, this option is highly durable and available in a wide range of styles and colours. It must be pegged down correctly in order to prevent movement.
Galvanised steel and aluminium – long lasting, flexible and easy to install, these materials can create a great design statement while being practical.
Your choice of lawn edging is a personal one, dictated by style, your location, the site itself, and your budget. But whatever your choice the time it will save you in removing grass from the garden beds will make the decision making process and installation time worth it.