Nothing accentuates a garden better than landscape edging. It can be used as a defining element, and also as an excellent way to draw the eye’s attention to a focal point. Besides being the perfect finishing touch, landscape edging also serves a practical use – it’s an effective way of keeping grass and weeds from growing into your flower beds and it will help keep the soil and mulch in your garden from washing away.

Landscape edging choices are plentiful. Once you start looking around in garden centres for landscape edging, you will quickly realise it is available in a wide range of styles and prices. You can choose from a number of natural and man-made materials, including plastic, wood, metal, stone, cement and brick.

The kind of edging you use will depend on the style and overall landscape design of your garden. If your landscape is a very formal design for example, the planting areas and flower beds will have to have straight edges and geometric shapes. Informal designs are generally found with curves, and will need edging that is flexible so that it can be formed to shape. One can also use bricks, which can be stacked standing next to each other and due to the short length of each brick, they can form any shape required. When an informal garden design is chosen, lay out the beds in sweeping curves rather than squiggles, as this is far easier to maintain and is more relaxing and pleasing to the eye.

The edging should stay in place on its own and be maintenance-free. There are pros and cons to every kind of bed edger you use and at the end of the day, it is up to the homeowner to weigh up each type of edging’s aesthetic and functional benefits and choose one to use.

If you have an existing edge, such as a paved driveway or path for example, you can plant right up to it as it will double perfectly as a bed edging. Another, very simple form of garden edging that has been popular for years is the bare strip of earth left between the lawn and the flower bed. It takes a little extra maintenance keeping things from growing into the strip, however, it won’t cost you a cent. Another timeless form of border that is evident in many gardens is the edge that has been cut by hand with a flat spade. Once again, this it very effective, but is requires a lot of maintenance.

Bricks or concrete pavers can be used as edging in two ways – they can either be dug in around the bed, standing upright to form a small wall, or they can be placed flat on the ground around the lawn at the correct level. They must be placed at the same level as the cut level of the lawn, and then each time you mow, the wheel of the mower can run along the paver, eliminating the need to trim the edges after mowing. This can look very neat, however if you have very damp or soggy areas, be sure to first dig a small trench around the grass edge in order to maintain the level of the pavers. Fill the trench up with concrete, like a small foundation, onto which you will place the paver. Once the concrete has set, the paver will remain at the correct height no matter how much rain you have.

One can also source pre-made edging from various garden centres and hardware stores. There are so many different kinds to choose from, that in most cases the design of your garden will dictate what edging you choose. If your home is rustic, the split-pole garden edging can look very beautiful around the beds. It generally comes in lengths of about 1m and the planks are held together with rope. The entire assembly is treated so that it won’t rot. To install them, dig a small trench around the beds and plant them. Use a rubber mallet to hammer them into the ground at the correct height.

An expensive, yet very effective kind of border to put around your beds is moulded concrete edging. A professional company will come in and show you many styles and colours of finishes you can have. These range from fake rock, pebbles and almost anything you can imagine. All you will need to do is look at the design of your home and choose a style to match. This kind of edging is very attractive, maintenance-free and boasts exceptional longevity; however it can be relatively costly.

For a look that is totally natural and seamless, why not create an edging comprising carefully selected colourful flowering plants or green shrubs. Just ask at the garden centre for plants that have been specifically designed for use as edging. This is a very beautiful and natural choice; however it is very labour intensive, seasonal and certainly not maintenance.

Apart from making the garden easier to maintain, garden edging neatens up the garden and can quickly transform a chaotic and cluttered landscape into a neat haven of beauty and tranquillity. – Antonella Desi

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