Edging for Garden Beds

Take time to properly edge your garden beds. Your reward will be a polished, well cared for landscape appearance. Edging visually separates the lawn from the bed. It also creates a physical barrier, preventing grass from invading your flowers. There are several techniques for edging. Here are just a few:
·         Cut edge – Only a flat shovel, a rake and some elbow grease are required. Cut the sod 4 inches deep around the perimeter of your flower bed. Use a garden rake to form a gentle trench sloping into the bed side of the cut. Beds edged in this manner can be easily changed. You will need to recut the edge in spring and late summer each year.
·         Wood – Position 3”x4” pressure-treated landscape timbers into the soft soil at the edge of the bed. Add soil or mulch to create a shallow raised bed. This method works best for straight edges on level sites. The timbers may frost heave, but can be easily re-positioned in the spring. 
·         Brick or paving blocks – Dig a trench 8” wide and 4” deep around the perimeter of the bed. Pour 2” of landscape sand into the trench and lay the bricks on top, wide edge up. The top of the bricks should be level with the lawn. Work sand into the cracks between the bricks. The surface of the bricks will act as a “mowing strip." Run the wheel of your mower on top of the edging and you won’t need to make a second pass with your trimmer.
·         Stones, tiles, shells and other found items – Crank up the creativity, but keep the contents of your beds simple so they don’t compete with the edging for attention.
·         Prefabricated plastic, aluminum or steel edging - You will find many edging materials of various heights available at your local garden center. Edging should be a minimum of 4” deep. 8” is better in order to keep turf grass out of the bed. Pre-fab edging is often installed flush with the ground so that it is virtually invisible, or it can be installed with 2” of edging exposed to create a guardrail for the mower. Consult the manufacturer or garden center expert for installation advice.
Whichever method of edging you choose, keep in mind a few design elements. Using the same edging material throughout your landscape will create unity. Or, you may choose to deliberately use a different edging in each area of the landscape to signal transitions from one bed to the next. Match the material to the style and mood of the garden. Wood creates a casual feeling whereas brick is more formal.

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