Lawn edging a garden bed is easier than you may think. Very cost-effective, and you will not believe the outstanding curb appeal resulting from a little bit of lawn and flowerbed edging.
Flower bed edging takes a little effort initially, but it is easy. And the trimming is easy to maintain.
Fortunately, today there are many landscape edging products on the market. They can make getting and keeping that clean, crisp edge of your lawn so precise initially and over time.
These products range from those that are cheap to those that are relatively expensive. Those edging options are easy to install or require a lot of extensive work and effort to put into place.
Three main categories of landscape edging include no dig landscape edging, in-ground landscape edging, and those that fall somewhere in between, or even across, both of the two main, different types.
No-dig landscape edging is often among the cheapest landscape edging products. And usually also among the easiest to install.
But it might not always be the best answer for everyone, for every lawn, garden, or bed. And every lawn design and aesthetic?
Perhaps another question would be, does the no-dig landscape work for all grasses?
First, it’s essential to consider why you might choose each type of landscape edging.
It is most often chosen for its value and appearance or because various no-dig landscape edging options are available for almost any style and design.
Pros of no-dig landscape edging:
- Usually a good value—there are low-cost options available that look good and make edging easier
- Provides a sound barrier from lawn pests
- There are options available for almost any desired aesthetic. Such as timbers, rocks, bricks, or even at the more expensive end, poured concrete.
Cons of no-dig landscape edging:
- Not always the most durable of options
- Some no-dig landscape edging choices can be easily damaged or moved when lawn maintenance is done.
- No-dig landscape edging can block weeds or grass from growing underneath and invading surrounding areas.
In-ground landscape edging is often selected more for its ability to block weeds and grass from crossing the barrier between the two areas than for its style or appearance.
- Typically, in-ground landscape edging is not damaged significantly by impact from lawn tools such as rakes, edgers, and mowers.
- Generally, it makes maintaining a crisp edge much easier
- Because it does install into the ground, it can usually be effective at blocking grasses and weeds from invading beds
Cons of in-ground landscape edging:
- In-ground landscape edging options are generally pricier than most no-dig edging options
- These in-ground framing choices can be a little more intensive to install
- Visual and design alternatives can be somewhat limited
How do you edge a flower garden?
- Step 1: Create (or re-create) an edge
The first step is to cut the edge. To create a new bed, you’ll need to use a garden hose to mark your desired lines. You can jump right in if you are freshening up an existing bed.
The traditional way to do this is to use either a spade or a half-moon edger to move along the line you’ve set out. Unfortunately, neither tool does a great job of cutting curves, and evaluating the course you’re taking can be challenging as you move along.
- Step 2: Remove the turf
Once you’ve established your edge, refine it with a spade, deepening the cut to 4 to 6 inches. If you are cutting a new bed, you must cut the turf inside the bed with the spade. The loosened turf can then be removed easily by hand. Again, the goal is to create an edge at a 90-degree angle.
- Step 3: Hone the edge
Suppose you like your edges to be razor-sharp place hand shears vertically along the trench wall.
Then cut any remaining grass blades from the edge. One should take care not to hold the shears horizontally to avoid destroying the right angle of the edge. You can repeat this step two or three times during the growing season to keep your edges looking groomed.
- Step 4: Mulch the be
The final step is to put down 2 to 3 inches of mulch on the bed. The mulch not only suppresses weeds but also adds a rich, dark color to the edge. Mulch right up to the edge of the turf. It creates a gentle slope from the bottom of the border to the top of the bed.
What should I Border my flower bed with?
Plastic isn’t glamorous, but it’s relatively easy to install. It’s available in short individual sections you pound into the ground or long rolls of edging, requiring you to dig a trench to sink the edge.
Pros: Inexpensive and long-lasting
Cons: Not particularly attractive
- Paver Stones
Pavers made from concrete are nearly indestructible. But they’re heavy to handle and time-consuming to install, so plan on a few days of heavy carrying and digging. You can make paths with pavers or just use them for edging beds.
Pros: Lasts forever and is very attractive
Cons: Time-consuming to install
- Woven Willow
Also called “wattle,” this natural edge is perfect for English or country gardens. It’s used extensively in Europe.
Pros: Beautiful in the right setting
Cons: Easily damaged and pricey for large areas
- Natural Rock
Rocks are available in various sizes, colors, and shapes, and creeping flowers look amazing, tumbling over them! Simply line the edges of each bed, but opt for rocks that are the size of a softball or larger for the most visual impact. Visit a nursery or garden center for options.
Pros: Lasts forever
Cons: It takes time to fit them together in a pleasing way
Many types are no-dig, meaning you hammer them into the ground. Painted finishes or galvanized metal last the longest, but unfinished metal has an attractive rustic appearance for country gardens.
Pros: Relatively easy to install
Cons: Hard on your hands; wear heavy gloves
Flagstone comes in many different shades and thicknesses. Set the flat pieces along the garden edge, or stack them for a classic look in a cottage or country garden. Check with your local nursery or garden center for options.
Pros: Pretty and lasts forever
Cons: Relatively expensive
Lay bricks in a shallow trench on their side with the wide side down, or stand them upright. The hardest part is getting everything level. Hint: Use a rubber mallet and line level on a string.
Pros: Lasts forever, relatively inexpensive
Cons: Labor-intensive to install
- Poured Concrete
This is typically not a DIY job for newbies, as you must build a form, then mix and pour concrete into the mold. Consider hiring an expert because mistakes are not easily fixed.
Pros: Lasts a long time
Cons: Can’t easily adjust the layout of the planting bed in future years
- Shovel Edging
Here’s a great idea if you don’t like the look (or expense) of edging: Use an edging shovel, which looks like a half-moon, or a spade, to cut the grass away and create a sharp edge, which keeps grass from creeping into beds.
Pros: Clean look that works for all garden styles
Cons: Must be done annually. Difficult in clay or rocky soils
- Landscape Timber
Landscape timbers are a cost-effective edging method if you’re handy with a saw. They’re often pressure-treated to prevent rotting. You’ll need to level the ground and cut sections as needed.
Pros: Inexpensive and long-lasting
Cons: Cannot be used to create curved borders
Small cedar shingles or cedar shake “fences” are simple to hammer around the perimeter of beds. They last for several years, but not forever, as string trimmers or lawn mowers easily damage them.
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to install
Cons: Easily bumped out of place
- Decorative Fence
Small sections of fence are super-easy for lining a garden perimeter. Many different types and sizes exist, including metal, wood, and plastic, so you’ll find the one that suits your garden’s style.
Pros: Easy to place
Cons: Easily damaged, doesn’t hold mulch in place
- Recycled Rubber Edging
A few companies now make rubber edging that’s pounded into place. It’s nearly indestructible, as it usually gets made from recycled tires.
Pros: Lasts a lifetime
Cons: Doesn’t look great in formal or cottage gardens
- Coco Fiber
If you’re seeking a more natural look, a coco fiber edge stops weeds and is easy to place along the perimeter of beds. You also can cover it with mulch. Use landscape staples to keep the mat in place.
Pros: Easy to install
Cons: It doesn’t last forever
Bamboo is the natural choice for a Zen-style garden. It’s typically sold as temporary fencing that you pound into the ground.
Pros: Almost indestructible
Cons: It doesn’t look right in all gardens
- Sea Shells
Large seashells, like the quahog species seen here, large seashells make for a striking border in any garden. The contrast between earthy greens and seaside attraction creates a unique visual dichotomy that will envy every gardener.
Larger shells can make for walls independently, while some folks prefer to crush up smaller shells for a rock-garden effect.
- Bottle Edging
Here’s a relatively low-cost option with a high degree of personality. Using discarded bottles in a creative fashion in the garden is an increasingly popular project. Gathering the bottles themselves is the most labor-intensive part of the project since you’re free to implement them as you please.
With seemingly endless options, these tips will guide you in making the best choices when edging a flower garden.