If you want to give your lawn a professional finishing touch, without spending the money to hire a landscaper, you might want to do a little research. When choosing an edging material, consider its price, durability, how well it fits with your existing landscape design, and how easy it will be to install and maintain. You can choose from a variety of materials, including natural stone, plastic, gravel, metal, concrete pavers or brick. Here are some other materials to consider:
- Wood creates a natural look. The downside to wood is that it doesn't last more than 10 years--even when treated.
- For greater durability, concrete or brick pavers are better. They also will give your edging a more formal, professional appearance. You will pay more for concrete and brick though, and plants can grow through the spaces between bricks as they shift over time.
- Steel or aluminum paving will hold up well so you won't have to replace them often. Steel comes in many different colors, but it does have sharp edges. Flying pieces of sharp steel can be a real hazard if you accidently nick the edging with your mower or trimmer. Steel will also eventually rust. Aluminum is lighter and easier to work with, and it won't rust.
- Plastic edging comes in rolls or fence styles. Because plastic is flexible, it will bend to fit the shape of your flowerbed or path. It comes in a variety of thicknesses. The heavier the plastic edging is, the more durable it will be and the less likely to lose its shape over time.
- You don't need to use conventional materials to create your edge. Seashells, bottles--even roofing tiles can work if you arrange them creatively. Visit yard sales and junkyards to look for inexpensive inspiration.
When designing your edging, remember that edges don't have to be straight and square. Experiment with curved borders -- whatever shape fits your landscape. With brick edging, you lay the bricks end-to-end. With plastic or metal, you can choose from edging that snaps together, individual pieces that you stake into the ground or shaped forms that fit around flowerbeds and the bases of trees. Edging that has to be staked into the ground will stay in place longer, so you won't have to change it out every couple of months.
To really save money, you can create natural edging (also called spading or trenching). Using a flat-edged shovel, you dig a V-shaped trench between the grass and flowerbed that you can then fill with mulch. You'll need to redefine a natural edge about once every year.