A beautiful home can easily become an average home when it’s surrounded by a hideous lawn. This is why it is imperative to know what it takes to have that perfect lawn look.
Many people want a nice, clean, crisp cut lawn, but don’t exactly know where to start.
The first step towards your dream lawn is to envision exactly what fits your definition of a flawless lawn – a beautiful lawn that makes you happy whenever you see it.
Your idea of a beautiful lawn may include no wild growing weeds; mowed, healthy green, colorful flower beds; crisp edges; and the most adorable garden gnomes.
Fun fact… orderly garden beds boost your property value along with adding color and texture to the landscape. Landscape edging helps for this well-defined landscape look to become more achievable.
Think you want to consider a natural landscape edge?
A natural edge can be made by digging a small trench along the border of the desired garden bed without using a sort of standing barrier. This trench can be filled with mulch or pea rocks. It is completely natural and a very inexpensive edging option for your perfect lawn.
The trench’s purpose is to stop plants from spreading out of the garden and to keep grass or weeds from invading the garden. Also, because there are no barriers, it is super easy to mow alongside. Another pro to this edging method is that the garden border can be “moved” if you need to expand or just want a different shape. The downside to this natural landscape edge is that it requires a bit of maintenance and labor to keep that crisp look.
Yet, a trench isn’t the only “natural landscape edge option” when it comes to landscape edging. You can also use wood as a barrier (preferably nontreated, to keep it natural). The wood will rot over time since it is not treated with chemicals, so this method will also require some maintenance—replacing the wood barriers along the border.
You can also use natural stone to create a natural landscape barrier, which won’t rot over time. Natural stone can be somewhat expensive and will require some heavy lifting when placing the stones.
Furthermore, another natural option to consider is using certain plants for a living landscape edging. These plants will also require a bit of upkeep, as they will need to be trimmed every so often to keep them from outgrowing the space and keep that nice, crisp edge.
Landscape Edging Isn’t All About the Looks…
When you have decided you want a crisp line between your lawn and garden, there are a few things to consider.
Do you want to go all-natural with your landscape edging or use a manufactured material for a landscape edge barrier? A few natural landscape edge options are described above, but some of the manufactured materials can include metal, plastic, rubber, concrete, or brick.
- What is your budget? Some materials used for landscape edging and methods are more expensive than others. If you’re covering a large length of border with a small budget, you may want something a little more inexpensive.
- You also need to be aware of the climate in which you live. This can help you determine the best fit for your landscape edging. For instance, it is a poor idea to go with certain metal landscape edging materials as a border if you live near the ocean. The ocean spray can oxidize and rust some “basic metals” not allowing it to withstand time. Maybe you live in a moist, groggy environment? Traditional wood might not be a great option for you because the moist environment could cause some woods to rot much quicker, leading to more expenses.
- You might want to also consider the exact purpose of your edging too. If it’s just for looks, then the depth and durability of the edging material is almost irrelevant. If you have a grass like Bermuda grass, you may need something a little sturdier. If you’re edging on a downward slope, you’ll need something that digs a little deeper into the earth to prevent the barrier from washing away.
- Last, but not least, you need to honestly ask yourself how often you are willing to provide maintenance to your landscape edging? A natural edging will require more upkeep than say a metal barrier landscape edging. If you’re not willing to put in the extra work it takes to keep that crisp edge, you may want to go with something that requires less maintenance.
Ornamental and Decorative Landscape Edging Options
There are MANY different types of decorative landscape edging options.
To start, you can have a trench, solid barrier, fence, or flowers as a decorative landscape edging option. A trench could be left as-is once it is dug or filled with mulch, pea rocks, or any other small decorative item.
A solid barrier could be made of several different things including concrete, brick, plastic, metal, wood, or stone.
You could install a small fence around the border of your garden, whether it be 6 inches high or 3 feet high. It will still serve the same purpose, just serve up a slightly different look.
Flowers and decorative grass plants can also be used to form a decorative landscaping barrier around your garden area as well. They keep the mulch intact and provide extra living décor to your lawn. You could even get a little outside-of-the-box and use recycled items such as ceramic plates, vinyl records, or flooring tiles. You could also incorporate some solar lights and adorable garden gnomes to add a pinch of pizzazz to your landscape.
Of course, decorative landscaping options also don’t have to be over-the-top. Some commercial landscape edging options – such as our Edge Right and Grass Barrier products that are functional AND attractive.
Options for DIY Landscape Edging
When the edges of your landscape are colored a little outside of the lines, it makes your overall landscape look a little shaggy.
To give your lawn a clean-cut look, there are several different options for landscape edging.
Landscape edging can sometimes require a professional, but that’s not always the case. You can more than likely find locally – or online – exactly what you’ll need for a crisp line along your garden bed.
Materials for DIY landscape edging:
There is a wide variety when it comes to landscape edging materials. You could even find some materials laying around your yard like bricks, stones, or wood. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have these materials lying around, you can purchase materials from a recycled materials store or your local hardware store.
Wood edging may look nice and be inexpensive, but keep in mind that traditional wood will need to be replaced every few years. Basic plastic or rubber landscape edging is another option that is inexpensive, but could become damaged by the sun or foot traffic. On the other hand, specialty plastic landscape edging like our Grass Barrier is meant to be a less-expensive landscape edging option that is much more durable than other plastic landscape edging products.
Metal edging is a very popular option and will last a long time. The only real downfall is that metal landscape edging can be a little more pricey. Of course, the durability will likely balance out an extra cost because materials like our Edge Right metal landscaping is made of a specialty metal (Cor-ten steel) that is meant to last a very long time—even in climates where there is moisture and salt in the air.
Stones or bricks for landscape edging can be a great edging material, as long as you have a truck to haul them with. They also will need to be mortared or they will be prone to getting knocked out of line.
Installation of your DIY landscape edging:
Once you’ve come to a conclusion on what material you’ll use for your edging, the installation of your DIY landscape edging is fairly simple.
Metal, plastic, and rubber edging: With most of these types of edging, you’ll start by digging a small trench. You’ll then place (or stake-drive or mallet-hammer) the selected edging inside the trench and use the dirt that was dug out to fill in around it. Alternately, some metal edging will require a hybrid installation where you can dig a more shallow trench and use the pointed edges of the edging material to drive it into the ground.
Wood edging: Dig a small trench a few inches deep and wide enough to fit the wood planks into. Place a thin layer of gravel into the trench before placing the wood. Once the gravel is evenly dispersed, place the wood planks into the trench and use the excess dirt to fill in any gaps to ensure the planks are sturdy.
Brick and stone edging: Start by clearing out any grass or plant life and dig a trench a couple inches deep and wide enough for the stone or brick to fit in comfortably. Distribute a thin layer of gravel into the bottom on the small trench. Place the stone or brick on top of the gravel and use the dirt that was dug out to fill in any loose spaces. If you’re using more than one layer of stone or brick, place a layer of mortar on top of the first layer of stone or brick, and then place the second layer on top.
Tips for A Perfect Lawn Every Time
The perfect lawn starts with the mowing.
Specific Mowing Tips:
- You’ll want to wait until the grass is dry, never mow a lawn when it has just rained. This ensures that the blades are upright and less likely to clump after the mow.
- Be sure to keep your mowers blades balanced and sharpened for a crisp cut.
- Change the mowing pattern each time you mow to keep the blades of grass growing upright, instead of developing a one-way grain.
- It is a good idea to leave the grass clippings on the lawn (unless they’re clumped together) to recycle the nutrients back into the lawn.
- Avoid blowing the clippings into garden beds and other “hardscape” areas.
Next is trimming and edging your lawn.
You’ll want to clean up the edges around your landscape edging and trees that are incorporated into the landscape. Specialty tools like edgers make this job easier but it can be done with basic tools.
Other Edging Tips:
- Stay in the groove. You want to keep your edger as close to the border (about 1/8 inch) of what is being edged, that way the grass doesn’t recede further back each time. This can also be done with a handheld trimmer as well.
- Stay on top of it. To keep that perfect, crisp line, you’ll need to trim and edge every week or every other week, being careful not to trim away too much.
- Find the perfect height. You don’t want to be too high, where you can’t tell it has been edged. You also don’t want to be so low that you have a dirt outline, scalping the ground.
- Clear away the clippings that have found their way into the garden beds. Grass mixed in with mulch or soil isn’t exactly a “clean” look.