To make a garden come to life (visually speaking) we have a host of options to consider: the types of plants and flowers we’ll be planting, the layout and style of our garden, and accessories such as water fountains and benches. But today we’d like to focus on another garden element which we feel doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserves: garden edging.
All types of garden / lawn edging perform three functions:
1. To make the border between the lawn and garden neater
2. To provide a barrier against invading grass and weed roots
3. And to hold mulch in the bed.
Of course you also want your garden’s edging to be attractive, but not so much that it steals the spotlight away from your prize-winning roses.
Fortunately, we’ve done our research to help you choose your edging correctly, plus added a few garden edging ideas for your consideration.
Like an interior room, a garden can also be made up in a specific style like modern, rustic, etc. First consider which style your garden is by inspecting it – is it rigidly geometric or casually comfortable? You need to select a garden edging that will enhance your garden’s look, not subtract from it.
In addition, also think about the various designs in which the edging can be installed. For instance, a low-lying stone or brick edging is perfect for a rustic garden, yet those same stones can also be neatly stacked atop one another for a more modern and formal design.
Are you in love with iron picket-fence edging and other manufactured products for your garden space? Then you’d better have a sturdy gardening budget! Remember that your garden can look just as beautiful with less expensive imitation materials (like faux vinyl), natural stones picked up from your own yard, or even pebbles and shells found on the beach.
Recycled materials are also an option – think about collecting old bricks or ceramic flooring tiles from an old home or renovation project
Is your garden located near the beach? Then keep in mind that the salts in the ocean spray will pit some metal, concrete or limestone edging over time.
If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall, remember that wood edging will definitely rot. And always avoid chemically treated wood edging for herb-, fruit- and veggie gardens, as the toxins seep into the soil and can contaminate your edibles. Vinyl might be a better alternative.
When it comes to stone edging, most stones can endure all climates, yet can be costly to purchase, transport and arrange.
Make a list of the most common garden edging materials in your area, then list the pros and cons. Let’s take stone and concrete – an old favourite that’s perfect for both contemporary and traditional gardens.
• They hold up to nearly all environments and situations and last a very long time.
• They can also be used for building retaining walls, which is perfect if you want your garden to have a consistent look.
• They are available in a wide range of sizes and styles. Continuous concrete edging can even be tinted with oxides to add some colour.
• They are not always a DIY option, seeing as they need to be laid very well to be used effectively.
• Due to the wide profile of these materials, they can give a bold and visually heavy feel to a garden.
So, what are our options for garden edging? Well, let’s break it down into two main categories: natural and simulated.
Natural garden edgings can be created with plants, piled rocks, mulch and/or wood. With a less formal appearance, these options also blend in very easily with most landscapes.
Plants: The most commonly used and includes examples like ornamental grasses, ground covers, flowers and small shrubs.
Rocks and stone: Available in many styles, this type of edging ensures a nice finished look for a garden. It also stands out beautifully among flowers and foliage.
Mulch: A mulch garden edging is achieved by stripping grass from the outer edges of beds, borders and walkways. These areas are then filled with mulch. This option allows for flexibility in case your existing garden or area changes in size or shape in the future.
Wood: Available in various styles (from natural to decorative and even simulated), wood edging can be created using landscaping timbers or railroad ties. Keep in mind that treated wood can harm plants and insects beneficial to your garden. Untreated wood, on the other hand, will deteriorate over time and will need to be replaced; however, it’s a much safer option for the environment. Although wood edging can be more difficult when adjusting curves, it will ultimately create a more natural appearance.
Simulated garden edgings include materials that are preformed, including metal, plastic and brick. These materials can be smooth or textured, dull or bright, and even coloured to add contrast to your garden.
Metal: Options like aluminium and steel are much more flexible, working well in curvy designs, yet remaining sturdy enough for straight lines. Although this type of edging will not look as natural, it will last for years to come. The downside, however, is that it may rust over time (which is actually a benefit to those with rustic gardens).
Plastic: Plastic garden edging, like vinyl, provides formality and a clean appearance to a yard. However, it is prone to cracking, especially in cold climates.
Brick: Brick edging is perfect for a formal look. Available in numerous styles, brick can be used to create interesting patterns, especially when edging garden paths. Brick and concrete are also very resilient and work well with many styles, although brick edging works better in curved landscapes and concrete in straight ones. Just be sure to keep them low enough to prevent damage to your lawnmower.
In the end, the type of edging you choose for your garden (whether it’s brick, seashells, metal or wood) must complement its surroundings. Garden edging is meant to enhance the appearance of your garden and home rather than compete with them.
Sift through all your available options, keep in mind the pros and cons, and then have fun treating your garden to a beautiful new look with edging. After all, garden edging done correctly is only one of many ways to achieve an attractive lawn and yard.
To appreciate your stunning garden edging at night, let’s look at 8 garden lighting ideas to shine up your outdoors.