Which Edging and Why?

The purpose of this guide is to demonstrate the advantages of using an edging product in your garden and to help you in making the correct decision as to which edging product to choose.

Why Edge Your Lawn?

Why Edge Your LawnDomestically, this can be accounted to the fact that gardening is now the most practical hobby, which has been fuelled by the increasing number of gardening make-over shows on TV such as the BBC's Ground Force and Garden Invaders.

In addition to this there has been an increasing trend to spend more time in the garden and to use it as a place for socialising and relaxing.

Society as a whole works longer more unsocial hours than ever before meaning we have less time to spend on maintaining our gardens. Therefore, there has been an increasing tendency to purchase products with time/labour saving benefits and a general shift towards either low or zero maintenance gardens and associated products (e.g. lawn edging) associated with achieving these aims.

Falling house prices has led to people renovating and investing in their properties and often a nice garden sells a house, a garden often gives the first impression of the rest of the house and everyone knows that nothing depicts a well tended garden than crisp clean edges. Commercial landscaping has been fuelled by government regeneration projects, many of which are at least partially grant/lottery funded and by the increasing demand by the British public for pleasant parks, gardens and recreational areas for relaxation and enjoyment of the natural open air.

Councils are increasingly tightening budgets for their parks and gardens so groundscare professionals are constantly on the look out for products and methods which help to keep costs low. The inclusion and instalation of permanent landscape edgings can significantly reduce maintenance costs, whilst improving the look of the park.

What is Edging?

An edging is any material that is used to create a boundary between two areas of a garden whether it be two areas of lawn, an area of lawn to gravel, lawn to border, or lawn to pathway, etc. The aim is to provide a neat finish that clearly marks the boundary between different areas of your garden, whilst reducing garden maintenance.

The Arguments

Which Garden Edging

Aesthetic Arguments for Edging

Above ground edging is usually decorative and can be stone, wood or metal. Below the ground, or flush edging, is usually made of rubber, plastic or metal and is often used to maintain a neat edge along a drive or pathway

Edging Can:

  • Show off your flowers and shrubs
  • Give you a permanent professional finish
  • Add to the design of your garden
  • Compliment and contrast surrounding buildings and the remainder of your landscape
  • Adapt to straight or curved areas with equal ease

Practical arguments for edging

Advances in tooling, e.g. strimmers, means that trimming the edge of a lawn is no longer backbreaking work, however this is work that can be easily avoided by using a “maintenance-free” edging product such as Rite-Edge. Such products enable the lawnmower to do the work for you and as Jeremy Powers, a writer for national home and how-to publications pointed out:

“Meticulous gardeners may spend nearly as much time with a trimmer as they do with a mower,” - Jeremy Powers

So it is definitely worth giving some serious consideration.

Edging Can:

  • Help contain the mulch that you put around your flowers
  • Help protect the base of young trees and garden ornaments, etc. from strimmers/mowers
  • Save trimming and weeding time
  • Give you a cleaner mowing and strimming line
  • Provide a root barrier to prevent invasive lawn grasses from entering flowerbeds
  • Add value to your landscape without necessarily spending a lot of money

The Options and the Cost

Metal Edging

Metal Edging

Various types of metal edging exist. These include aluminium, steel and iron. Metal edges can create a variety of looks from traditional to modern and the price can vary massively.

Aluminium edging is increasingly specified in the designs of landscape architects and garden designers, as it is light, strong and extremely flexible. It is maintenance free and lasts forever. Iron and steel both rust meaning they will need replacing at some stage and could become dangerous in areas where children may be playing. They are also very heavy materials making delivery and installation more tricky/expensive.

Wood Edging

Wood Edging

This is a traditional method used to give a natural finish, yet today decorative “fence” or log roll versions are available. Railway sleepers are also popular for larger areas.

Wooden edgings are a safe and relatively low cost option, yet it will need replacing every few years as with time they rot and are easily damaged by lawnmowers, vehicles, people and animals.

Natural Edging

Living and Natural

An alternative edging method is to use living plants although these may get damaged by the mower. The cheapest option is not to use an edge, but to cut a v-shape into the sod with a spade. This may be ok for a small garden, but it takes significant maintenance and is difficult to get a professional look.

Plastic Edging

Plastic Edging

A wide variety of cheap plastic edgings exist that are most commonly used for light applications in small domestic gardens.

Certain plastic edgings are mower-resistant, yet with time they work themselves out of the ground and get damaged when mowing. With time plastic becomes brittle due to prolonged UV exposure and sharp, cracked plastic can be particularly dangerous in areas where children may be playing and it will need replacing more often than metal and concrete edgings.

Plastic Edging

Stone, Brick or Concrete

These edging types often give a more formal appearance but they can be expensive. Installation can be tricky, especially when sharp curves are required. Weathering can also be a problem. Brick and stone can ruin a mower blade and as Jeremy Powers explains:

“If your edging material won’t allow you to run the mower over it, choose a product with a shape that minimises trimming. Any edging with little nooks and crannies, such as odd shaped stones, will make the trimming job much more time consuming."

Lawn Edging Comparison Chart

(Scoring: 0 = Poor 5 = Best)

Edging MaterialCostEase of InstallationSafetyLife ExpectancyAppearanceShape/Curve FormingDurabilityTotal
Wood 3 4 4 1 3 2 2 19
Plastic 4 5 2 1 1 5 1 19
Steel 2 3 2 4 3 4 4 22
Aluminium 3 4 4 5 5 5 4 30
Stone / Brick 0 2 3 4 4 3 5 21
Living Plants 0 0 5 3 3 0 1 12
Natural 0 0 5 0 1 0 0 6

Why Aluminum?

The evidence above suggests that the best all round material for lawn edging is aluminum.

Manufactured in aircraft grade aluminum, Rite-Edge never rusts, rots or needs repainting making it ideal for coastal/marine environments.

Rite-Edge comes in long lengths (2.44m), has a telescopic design and is easily cut and shaped making installation straightforward.

Rite-Edge is available in four colours to match or contrast with your existing landscape and suits lawns, borders, flowerbeds and pathways.

So why not put edging your lawn to bed with Rite Edge Installation. Once you have decided on and purchased your chosen lawn edging the next step is installation - Rite-Edge is supplied with full installation instructions

If you would like to see Rite-Edge aluminum lawn edging in action please view our case study pages and galleries or use the contact page to request a sample.

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