Using Landscape Edging

Landscape edging supplies a crisp edge between different areas of your yard. Use this guide to select the best edging for your garden design.

Most well-designed landscapes consist of various areas that serve different purposes, such as a vine-covered sitting area, a vegetable garden, or a flower border. Landscape edging helps to accentuate each of these separate spaces while also lending a unifying element to your garden's design. Edging can have a practical role as well, such as holding mulch in place and preventing mowers from damaging your prized plants. Depending on your aesthetic and functional purposes for edging, options range from a simple trench to high-end paving stones, and everything in between. We'll help you sort through all the considerations at play so you can decide which landscape edging will work best in your garden.

floral garden yard landscape edging

Landscape Edging Uses

Edging creates clean, crisp lines between beds and other areas. It is most visible between a lawn and the adjoining garden, but landscape edging can define a flower border, a shrub bed, a single tree, or the transition from a patio to the surrounding garden. It emphasizes the lines of beds, and it leads the eye to the next garden focal point.

From a practical standpoint, landscape edging helps to keep turfgrass from creeping into surrounding garden areas. At the same time, it prevents soil or mulch in garden beds from spilling onto the lawn whenever you water or it rains. Landscape edging also corrals pathways made of loose material, such as gravel or mulch; it maintains clearly defined walkways while keeping the path materials in place.

Taller landscape edging options, such as short hedges or low fencing, like a Decorative Garden Fence ($49, Amazon), can help keep people on defined paths. Using landscape edging also serves to keep visitors out of areas where you don't want them to go, such as planting beds.

If landscape edging is flat and wide enough, it can handle the wheels of a lawn mower. A practical mowing strip created by landscape edging eliminates the need for manicuring the edges with a string trimmer, and it prevents you from mowing over tender plants in beds at the edge of a lawn.

Edging should be set firmly in place. Otherwise, mowers, garden carts, children, or your own feet can unsettle it, and you will be repeatedly resetting materials.

Landscape Edging Types

A wide range of materials can work as landscape edging so there is something to suit the function, style, and cost you have in mind.

Lawn & Garden Divider: As a divider between the lawn and garden beds, edging can be as simple as a trenched edge or a shallow, V-shape ditch.

Mowing Strip: Use a flat, wide material, such as brick or flagstones, to create a firm base suitable for the wheels of a lawn mower.

Mulch Capture: To keep a heavily mulched bed in place, use a material that extends at least 2 inches above ground (and 4 inches below), like an Easy Pound-In Landscaping Edging Kit ($45, Amazon).

Beauty Edging: If the edging is purely aesthetic, options are virtually limitless!

stone path landscape edging
Peter Krumhardt

Landscape Edging Styles

When selecting a style of edging for your garden, consider the other hardscaping materials in the garden. Edging can be a strong unifying factor, but if it introduces a new material to the garden scheme, it could be a distraction.

Brick, stone, or pavers can unify the edging with a patio or path. Fencing can help connect to a pergola or trellis. Low shrubs can blend into the planting beds for a defined but natural look. Unexpected materials, such as tile, glass or metal landscape edging, can be used with standard edging materials to match accents from other garden areas.

Landscape Edging Costs

Costs depend on the material type and quantity. Repurposed stones may be free; tiles or brick may be very expensive.

If an expensive edging material is your dream, think about using it sparingly. Consider using the expensive landscape edging material only in areas that will be seen up close and often, such as the front yard, or use it as an accent near garden focal points. More affordable materials can be both pretty and practical elsewhere in the garden.

In addition, include the cost of installation in your landscape edging plans. The installation cost of different materials varies, as does the ease of doing the installation yourself. Some materials require professional installation or special tools to get the desired look. Others lend themselves to an easy do-it-yourself project.

Landscape Edging Colors

The color of the edging has a big impact on the overall perception of your garden. Use landscape edging in a color that either complements or clearly contrasts with the surrounding foliage and flowers. In casual settings, link the edging to the garden bed by using plants of a similar color or tone. For more formal beds and edging, use uniform materials, such as steel, wood, brick, or prefabricated masonry.

brick pathway landscape edging
Erica George Dines

Landscape Edging Materials

Visit your local home improvement store and you'll find landscape edging made out of plastic or even metal. You can also make your own edging out of a wide variety of materials such as brick, wood, or stone. But don't feel limited by what you can buy. You can also get creative and make your own edging out of everyday items like fallen twigs or branches, or even upended wine bottles. Each material has its advantages.

  • Brick: Elegant and long-lasting, brick comes in a multitude of styles and is a good idea for a uniform look.
  • Plastic: Affordable and easy to install due to its flexibility, plastic edging comes in many grades. The least expensive looks it, so invest in the best you can afford.
  • Concrete: You can purchase preformed sections of concrete landscape edging that are ready to be set in place, or you can make a simple form and create a custom edge.
  • Wood: Affordable and easy to work within straight lines, wood adds an informal, organic look. Count on wood edging to last about 10 years.
  • Stone: One of the more versatile edging materials, landscape edging stone can be carefully set in mortar for a refined look or placed more casually for a relaxed appearance.
  • Wattle: This edging uses a technique that involves weaving saplings of pliable wood, such as willow or dogwood, into a low fence. Wattle works well for holding back mulch.
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