What is Garden Edging?

Barbara Bean-Mellinger

Garden edging is any type of edge, division, or material used to separate a garden from another part of the landscape. It is useful in creating a pleasing landscape and, on a practical level, for keeping weeds, grasses, plants and mulch from spreading into other areas. Garden edging takes many forms, including brick, stone, metal, plastic, cement and more, and is limited only by manufacturers’ and gardeners’ imaginations.

Like walkways, garden edging can be made from recycled rubber, a sturdy, flexible material.
Like walkways, garden edging can be made from recycled rubber, a sturdy, flexible material.

The simplest method of garden edging is merely to use a shovel tip or similar tool to scrape a narrow trough around the edge of a garden or bed. This gives a finished look, and defines where one area ends and another begins. Since there is no real physical barrier in place, the edge must be maintained frequently. If not touched up routinely, weeds, mulch, or other materials may take over the edging trough.

Edging can cut down on weeding and maintenance.
Edging can cut down on weeding and maintenance.

Other, more efficient and longer lasting types of garden edging are products manufactured specifically for that purpose. They are made from a wide variety of materials and are available in a wide range of prices. Rubber, hose-like edging and plastic, fence-type edging are two of the least expensive, yet still durable, types of edging. They are also reasonably easy for the do-it-yourself gardener to install.

Brick pavers and stones, while more expensive and more intricate to install, can add beauty to a garden. They can also be assembled in any number of patterns. As natural materials used in building, pavers and stones are likely to last longer than rubber or plastic, particularly if they are professionally installed.

Garden edging made of wood generally falls between plastic and stone. It is sturdier and longer-lasting than plastic or rubber. Yet wood is prone to weathering and cracking more quickly than brick or stone.

Deciding which type of garden edging to use is largely a personal preference. The choice depends upon the desired finished look and durability as well as the available budget for the project. A good idea is to search the Internet, books, and magazines for ideas. Keeping an eye out for actual edging in use in lawns and gardens nearby can help determine likes and dislikes. Finally, it is only a matter of shopping local and online garden centers, home centers and nurseries for guidance, pricing and installation.

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