Landscape Edging Installation: Helpful Tips for Metal and Plastic Options

Landscape edging is a way to make your lawn more attractive, clean it up and make it look crisp. There are several different factors to consider when deciding exactly what kind of landscape edging to add to your lawn. Some of these factors may include color and design, whether you are going to go natural or manufactured, material you will use, specific edging for specific grasses, permanent or temporary, and so much more.

When choosing which landscape edging option to go with you can even get make your selection based on the landscape edging installation process you prefer.

There are four basic types of landscape edging installation from which you can select:

  • Digging a trench
  • Hammering the edging material directly into the ground
  • Stake-installed edging
  • Simply laying materials on the ground around the border of your garden bed or other landscape elements

There are also numerous landscape edging material options to consider. Some of these options include:

  • Wood
  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Concrete
  • Pavers
  • Plastic
  • Metal

Plastic and metal landscape edging are the most prominent materials used in the world of edging.

You will also want to consider and research the type of grass you have growing in your lawn to determine how the root system of that specific grass grows. This should definitely factor into your landscape edging material selection.

One thing to be aware of is whether the root system of your particular grass grows horizontally or vertically. Different materials and installations can accommodate various root systems differently. This is especially true if you want your landscape edging to serve as a grass barrier, guarding your garden bed or landscape components against the root systems invading and sprouting beneath the home of any ornamental plants in your beds. But again, the efficacy of the landscape edging chosen will depend on the option chosen in relation to the way your specific grass grows, as well as the depth of the root system itself.

Metal Landscape Edging Tips

Metal landscape edging has definitely made a name for itself as a top-edging material.

Metal creates a clean, crisp, organized edge to your lawn—not to mention the longevity of the material. The majority of metal edging options are made up of steel or aluminum, each having its own positives and negatives. Steel is going to rust, giving a modest, rustic, natural look, while still lasting 40 plus years. If you are not a big fan of rust, aluminum may be the better option for you because it does not rust significantly. Although, steel is sturdier than aluminum, which is why it is less likely to dent or lose its shape.

In terms of landscape edging cost, metal is more expensive than plastic edging, but lasts so much longer. It is also much more stable and sturdier as well.

Here are some metal landscape edging benefits and tips:
Benefits of metal landscape edging:
  • Creates a clean border between the lawn and garden bed or other landscaping sections.
  • Uses little space
  • Minimal visual distraction
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Long-lasting
  • Not susceptible to rotting, cracking, chipping, or becoming brittle during the colder seasons
  • Prevents migration of garden materials like soil, mulch, or gravel
  • Serves as a grass barrier, keeping garden beds free of that pesky grass sprouting up in your garden.
  • Easy to shape and install
  • Resists ground movement caused by extreme weather conditions and excessive raining.
  • Will not chip, break, or become damaged by edging tools like weed eaters, edging machine, and trimmers
Tips for installing metal landscape edging:
  • Check to see if the ground is hard or soft to establish an effective installation plan
  • Gather together the proper tools you will need for a job well done; this may be a sharpshooter spade or a small shovel.
  • Decide what material will best serve you and your lawn’s needs
  • Check multiple places before purchasing the material you will use to ensure that you get getting the best price available to you
  • Install according to the specific installation guide of the product to be sure you have a proper landscape edging installation that will last
  • Last, but not least, do not forget to maintain the edging and trim the surrounding grass down to keep a crisp look year-round
Plastic Landscape Edging Tips

Plastic landscape edging is used in the same manner as metal landscape edging—to distinguish a garden bed from the rest of the lawn.

Plastic is a top-used material for landscape edging because it is inexpensive, practical, easy to bend and easy to install. Unlike metal landscape edging, however, most plastic landscape edging doesn’t last very long and should be considered a rather temporary solution that will need to be replaced in a few years or so. There are exceptions to this, of course, such as our Grass Barrier plastic landscape edging that is made with HDPE recycled plastic that can last for many years.

Additionally, since the majority of plastic landscape edging is considered “cheap” and rather temporary, it can also appear cheap if a quality product is not selected and then not installed properly.

For example, plastic edging material has a tendency to lift up out of the ground, allowing grass to grow right through and underneath it, sneaking into your garden bed.  Different plastic edging kits also have different installation methods. Thus, you will need to check on your specific plastic landscape edging proper installation to prevent it from negatively impacting your lawn’s overall appearance.

Generally, to install most plastic landscaping you will need to:
  1. Start by measuring and outlining the garden bed using spray paint or rope. Plastic lawn edging is most commonly packaged in 20 feet lengths, ranging in height from 3 inches to 6 inches.
  2. Next, for rolled plastic edging, be sure to unroll it the day before you plan to use it, allowing it time to lay flat and be less curled up from being in a packaged roll.
  3. If your garden ground requires it, dig a small trench about 4 or 5 inches deep, just wide enough to fit the material down into. Also, keep the removed soil close by to reuse it when it is time to fill in the remaining space in the small trench.
  4. Be sure to check for any small roots that might be in the way of the trench. You can use pruning shears to remove any smaller roots that may be there. If there are heavy, thick tree roots in the way, it is best to leave them there and cut the plastic landscape edging to accommodate around them.
  5. Next, you will need to place the plastic edging into the trench, pushing the edging firmly into the bed as well as up against the garden bed. If your plastic material has a decorative edge, be sure to leave it high enough above the ground to see it once you are done.
  6. If there were large tree roots in the small trench you dug, place your plastic edging exactly where it should line up at and make a couple marks to cut the plastic. Use scissors or a utility knife to cut the marked area out to fit around the tree root, being careful to cut neat and clean lines to prevent the plastic from completely cracking or breaking.
  7. If your border around the garden bed is longer than one roll of plastic landscape edging, then this is the step where you will use your connectors. Slide the connector onto the end of each connecting roll, firmly pushing the connector down onto each end of edging to ensure that is it attached and sturdy. These connector pieces are most commonly made 8 inches long, long enough to get a good grip of enough material so that the rolls of edging will not separate. Superior connectors typically have additional hardware to provide a more secure connection.
  8. It is now time for the excess dirt to be used. Place your edging where it best fits and has decent posture, then start shoveling the excess dirt into the remaining space of the trench. You should leave about a half an inch of plastic edging uncovered at the top to be sure it is still visible. Pack the newly shoveled soil with your foot or packing tool to guarantee stability of the edging.
  9. If stakes come in your plastic landscape edging kit, be sure to use them to provide extra stability to your garden bed edging. The stakes should be placed about every 5 feet or so, placing them at an angle to penetrate the edging after driving through the surrounding dirt.

Now, if you are a Grass Barrier customer, installation is going to be a little simpler. Get your easy Grass Barrier landscape edging installation instructions HERE.

Plastic Edging to Keep Weeds Out?
Proper installation of plastic edging is necessary to keep grass roots and weeds out.

It also helps to have a thick layer of mulch over top of your garden bed soil to discourage weeds from popping through the surface and sprouting up. You can even use an herbicide to inhibit weed growth in your garden bed but be sure not to let the herbicide come in contact with your ornamental plants. Herbicide can be deadly to your ornamental plants, as well as to the weeds.

By simultaneously following the landscape edging installation tips above – and the specific installation guide of the plastic landscape edging you purchase, you are doing everything you can to guarantee weeds will not be invading your garden space.

Embedding the plastic edging 3 to 6 inches into the ground prevents grass roots and weeds from traveling underneath your edging and making its way into the garden bed. Some plastic edging can stand above ground about 6 inches while others are more discreet, only standing above ground about half an inch. The taller material not only keeps the mulch and soil of the garden bed contained, it also blocks out any spare clippings of grass or weeds. If you do happen to have or get a weed or two growing in your garden, pull the weed out, being sure that you get the root system as well. Dispose of the weeds you pull out because if they are left near the garden bed, they can replant themselves and start growing again.