Facebook Twitter

Edging lawns right the first time makes life easier

SHARE Edging lawns right the first time makes life easier

Life, it seems, is one long chore of trimming the edges of our lawns and gardens.

In the old days, one used a hand-held edger to trim the rampant growth. It was hard work.

Later came the power edger, and it was still hard work.

Of course, many of us got smart and put in edging that divided lawn from garden, to prevent weeds and other noxious plants from invading the lawn, or going in the other direction to invade the garden.

The edging worked great for a while, but eventually it worked itself out of the ground or allowed those traveling plants to go over or under it.

There are many types of edging on the market today.

An early type was corrugated metal that came in a roll.

Unroll it and tap it into the ground with a mallet.

This worked for a while, but sometimes it would buckle as you hammered it into the ground, then it rusted, and very often it worked itself out of the ground.

Then came plastic edging, rolled and flexible like the metal stuff, but it had to be buried in the ground; it could not be driven with a mallet. It too tended to work itself out of the ground.

All of this proves that bricks, concrete blocks, patio blocks and other masonry products are the best way to go. And that includes ceramic and terra cotta edging.

All masonry products must be buried in the ground, so a trench must be dug, the edging inserted and backfilled.

Such masonry products will last forever, will generally stay in the ground so your mower doesn't self-destruct on them, and are deep enough to keep plants from tunneling under them into places they are not welcome.

And, most masonry items can be set so they are a bit above the ground, forming a real border.

The best of the masonry items are bricks. Be sure to use a hard brick such as a paver. Common bricks and antique bricks, especially the salmon-colored ones, will not last very long.

The best of the bricks are soldier bricks. That's not a type, but how they are put in the ground, like soldiers: vertical and at attention. Eight inches long, they will stay put for years.

Of course, using bricks on their long ends takes a lot of bricks to go just a few feet, but it is the best way. If you want to use bricks horizontally, like a sleeping soldier, that is OK, too, but it is best to back them up with small stones. This combination is decorative and makes a nice border/barrier.

Another way to use brick is at an angle, with a bit of the long-lying brick sticking out of the ground, with its neighbor leaning on it a little lower, like a falling line of dominoes. It is like a row of drunken soldiers, all at a slant.

Patio blocks also make good edging and provide plenty of depth (8 inches) to keep plants from sneaking under.

With the advent of pressure-treated wood, resistant to decay for many years, wood edging is gaining in popularity.

It can be a straight board in the ground, or a series of connected boards that can be flexed along an wavy border.

And the plastics people never give up. Easy Gardener Inc. of Waco, Texas, makes a lot of plastic edging, and one of its best sellers is Emerald Edge, a green plastic barrier that comes in sections 4 feet long and 5 inches high.

It is driven with a mallet so that it is flush with the ground and virtually invisible. It is designed to stay put.

It is flexible so it can be curled around trees and curved along borders. Each section can be connected to its neighbor.

Another popular edging from Easy Gardener is its TerraCotta Tiles, a set of four 9-inch-long polypropylene sections. Each section looks like a row of five fat clay bricklets butted together. The four sections, which can be connected to each other, make an edging 3 feet long.

The sections also can be set along a curved line.

Plastic edging, and a lot more, are sold at garden supply, hardware and chain stores. Or, call 800-EASY INC.