Metal Landscape Edging FAQs: The ultimate question and answer guide
Metal Landscape Edging FAQs: The ultimate question and answer guide
Many of our customers frequently ask us the same questions about aluminium and steel landscape edging, so we have created this page where we answer them for you. Browse through the categories and questions, and if your question isn’t answered, contact us with your question. We will answer it for you and may add it to this page.
Why is AluExcel better than traditional concrete edging?
AluExcel offers a more durable, more attractive landscape edging alternative to traditional concrete edging. Its untreated surface is highly weather-resistant and won’t crack if exposed to frost. It is much harder for aluminium to become stained or discoloured and with its high corrosion resistance, it maintains its attractive appearance for many years.
AluExcel can also be easily cut and formed into seamlessly flowing curves. This means it is a much more versatile landscaping design product than concrete.
Traditional concrete requires a cement sub-base and haunching to keep it level and in place, which increases the time and cost of installation. The special spikes used to secure AluExcel are quick and easy to use, and backfilling with hard or soft landscaping materials can be started as soon as the edging is in place.
Another advantage of AluExcel when used to edge soft landscaping is that it doesn’t contain the acids found in concrete that cause unsightly grass dieback if the concrete is too close to a lawn.
When is aluminium edging better than steel edging?
Aluminium and steel edging are both extremely durable and weather-resistant landscaping products, but they both have distinct advantages.
Mill finish aluminium is extremely resistant to corrosion. This means it maintains its as-new appearance for many years and won’t potentially cause rust staining of surrounding materials such as concrete and stone. It is also better than steel for use in coastal environments where the air is likely to have a higher salt content or seawater spray could be a potential problem.
Aluminium is lighter to carry and install and easier to cut and form to shape than steel.
Is aluminium maintenance-free?
It’s more accurate to say that aluminium is low-maintenance, as it is more resistant to corrosion than steel. To keep it in good condition and protect the surface from unsightly pitting, you may only need to regularly scrub it with a mild soap solution, rinse it off and let it dry.
If oxidation occurs, you will see a powdery white layer on the surface. Alkaline cleaning products will only make the oxidation worse, so avoid anything containing ammonia or trisodium phosphate. A simple answer is to wash it with a 50:50 mix of white vinegar and water, then rinse it down with plain water.
Aluminium landscaping products may also be coated with a clear lacquer or powder coated, either to change the colour or add a further layer of protection. If so, it’s a good idea to periodically check the surface for any chips or cracks. Repairing these will prevent the damage from spreading further.
Is aluminium toxic?
Yes, aluminium does contain toxins, but these normally present no danger to humans, animals or the environment. However, if you are growing fruit or vegetables in a planter or raised bed, it would be safer to use a steel planter or edging product, as the toxins can leach into the soil and may contaminate the produce.
Steel Edging FAQs
Why is Bison steel kerbing a cheaper alternative to concrete?
While the cost per linear metre of Bison steel kerbing may be greater than that of concrete, other factors make it the cheaper alternative.
Weight and thickness: Although stronger, Bison steel kerbing is thinner and lighter than concrete kerbing. This makes it cheaper to store and transport as it requires less space and more can be carried within a vehicle’s load capacity.
Installation: Its lighter weight also means that Bison steel kerbing is easier and faster to install by one person. Added to that, Bison steel kerbing doesn’t require a concrete sub-base and in many instances doesn’t need concrete haunching. This reduces the installation time and materials costs.
Strength and durability: Unlike concrete, Bison steel kerbing isn’t easily damaged during storage, transport and installation; it doesn’t crack or crumble and if it is accidentally bent or dented it can be easily straightened. Bison steel kerbing is also more durable after installation. It won’t crack with frost damage and can withstand hard knocks better than concrete. Again, if it gets damaged it can often be easily straightened. If a section of Bison kerbing does need to be replaced it can be done relatively easily and quickly.
When is steel edging better than aluminium edging?
Steel and aluminium edging are both extremely durable and weather-resistant landscaping products, but they both have distinct advantages.
Steel is stronger than aluminium, so is better for use in areas where there might be heavy garden machinery or vehicles. Its strength also makes it more suitable for when the edging is being used as a structural retainer for raised borders.
Steel edging is also more versatile in terms of colour choice. Depending on what steel edging range you choose, it can be supplied in untreated, galvanised and Corten weathering steel or powder coated to a RAL colour of your choosing.
What’s the difference between untreated steel and Corten steel?
Untreated steel and Corten weathering steel both develop an attractive orange-brown patina over time. the difference between them is that the alloys used to make Corten steel accelerate this process.
The patina has both attractive and practical benefits. Corten steel has become a very popular choice among architects and landscapers, due to its quickly developing patina that works well with a more organic and natural design concept, working well both in traditional and contemporary environments.
How do I prevent Corten steel from staining surrounding stone or concrete?
One disadvantage of Corten steel is that the weathering process discolours any water runoff. If this spreads onto light-coloured or porous surfaces it can stain them. There are, however, ways to reduce this risk.
Pre-weathering the steel before installation will ensure most of the oxidation has occurred before the steel comes into contact with other materials. This process can be accelerated by applying chemicals to the surface of the steel.
Creating a gravel border between the steel and surrounding surfaces will also allow water to drain away rather than spread to the surfaces.
How much maintenance does steel edging need?
While steel is more prone to corrosion than aluminium, landscaping products made from high-grade steel require little maintenance.
As we have already seen, the oxidation layer of Corten steel will, under normal circumstances, be sufficient protection for the underlying steel.
Powder-coated steel is also highly resistant to corrosion. As a further precaution against corrosion, avoid damaging the powder coating while installing the product. If any damage should occur that exposes the bare metal, immediately repair the damage with an automotive touch-up paint (if you buy any of our standard or bespoke paint colour finishes, we can give you the RAL colour reference of the powder coating for an exact match).
Choosing Landscape Edging FAQs
Why is edging needed for hard and soft landscaping?
Most hard landscaping surfaces that are walked or driven on need some form of edging. This serves various functions, from the practical to the aesthetic:
To protect against edge damage
To provide a level guide for screeding resin-bound and wet-pour surfaces
To prevent sideways movement of paving laid on tamped sand
To create a step up or down between surfaces of a different height
To contain loose aggregates such as gravel and chippings from spreading into surrounding areas
To create a clear demarcation between contrasting types or colours of hard landscaping.
What is the best edging material for paving?
Most paving is laid on tamped sand, sometimes with ‘dot and dab’ concrete to hold it more firmly in place. Without a stable edge, the pavers will eventually become dislodged due to foot or vehicle traffic and ground movement. This will lead to other problems:
Gaps opening between the pavers will encourage weeds, grass and moss to grow.
As the pavers loosen the surface will become unstable and create trip hazards
If the paved area is adjacent to soft landscaping (lawns or planted beds) the edge will start to break away
Pin kerbing or pavers, set on a solid concrete base and haunched, will create a solid edge that can either blend with or complement the rest of the paving.
However, this method may require several site visits to lay the foundation, then lay and haunch the edging, and time between for the base and haunching to cure before the paving can be laid.
If aluminium or steel edging is used, the paving can be laid as soon as the edging is installed. Both products feature a narrow profile that makes them inconspicuous against paving and soft landscaping, and neither has the problem of grass die-back caused by concrete.
We recommend Borderline steel edging for domestic paths and drives. Depending on the application, AluExcel aluminium edging and Urban or Fort steel edging are recommended for commercial, industrial and public environments. Bison steel kerbing is an excellent alternative to concrete kerbing for service roads, car parks and pavements.
What is the best edging for resin-bound aggregates?
Resin-bound paths and driveways are increasing in popularity due to their neat appearance, low maintenance requirements and a porous surface that reduces rainwater run-off.
As with all wet-laid surfaces, resin-bound aggregates need a level, stable edge to act as a levelling guide during screeding and to hold the resin in place while curing. It also needs to be permanent so the edge of the surface doesn’t deteriorate over time.
The use of contrasting colours to create borders and patterns also requires an edge that is visually unobtrusive and doesn’t detract from the design.
For these reasons, aluminium is the perfect edging for resin-bound surfaces. It is dimensionally stable, strong and won’t deteriorate over time. Its exceptionally narrow profile means it forms a discreet line between contrasting areas that becomes almost invisible as the aluminium weathers and loses its new brightness.
ResinEdge aluminium edging has been specifically developed for this purpose.
What is the best edging for loose aggregates?
While gravel is the most widely used loose aggregate for paths and driveways, granite, marble and other stone are gaining in popularity as decorative finishes.
Loose aggregates are relatively inexpensive and easy to lay, but choosing the right edging product will help to ensure your path or driveway will still look good in years to come.
One problem with loose aggregates is that they always remain loose. Heavy rainfall, ground movement and vehicle or foot traffic will cause the gravel or chippings to shift, pressing against the edging and spreading onto surrounding areas.
A strong, stable edging product will help to prevent some of this from becoming a problem. Where space allows, this could be a row of decorative pavers or paving slabs which would provide a reasonably wide barrier between the path or driveway and the soft landscaping. Any stray gravel or chippings can then be easily swept back into place.
But if space isn’t available or if this isn’t the look you are trying to achieve, aluminium or steel edging are excellent choices. They are easy to install and can be backfilled immediately. To act as a further deterrent to straying gravel you can set them a couple of inches higher than the surface and make a feature of the exposed face. If you don’t want the look of untreated aluminium or steel you can choose from galvanised steel, Corten weathering steel, and powder-coated aluminium or steel matched to any standard RAL colour reference.
We recommend Borderline steel edging for domestic paths and drives. Depending on the application, AluExcel aluminium edging, and Urban or Fort steel edging are recommended for commercial, industrial and public environments.
What is the best edging for lawns and borders?
Timber is an inexpensive edging material that can be quickly laid. It is, however, a very short-term edging solution, as water retained by earth or mulch will cause it to quickly deteriorate. Timber shouldn’t be used to edge loose aggregates, as when the timber rots away the aggregate will lose its support and spill over into surrounding areas.
Plastic edging is also popular among amateur gardeners as doesn’t rot and being lightweight, is easy to lay. It offers little strength or stability but is fine for edging lawns and planted beds. It is however easily damaged by lawnmowers and will become brittle with age and exposure to sunlight.
For long-term cost savings, low maintenance and good looks, aluminium and steel lawn and border edging win every time.
For domestic gardens, we would recommend AllEdge flexible aluminium edging. Its natural mill finish lends a pleasing appearance to traditional and contemporary garden design and is extremely resistant to corrosion.
For heavier-duty applications, we would recommend either AluExcel aluminium or Urban steel edging.
AluExcel aluminium edging is supplied as standard in mill finish aluminium or to order in stainless steel-effect and anodic bronze finishes. It also comes in eight different heights, ranging from 25mm to 150mm.
Urban steel edging is made in two thicknesses – 3mm and 6mm – and stands at 150mm high. A bespoke product, it can be ordered in untreated, galvanised and Corten weathering steel or powder coated to a RAL colour of your choice.
What’s the best edging for green roofs and roof terraces?
Particularly in urban areas where green space is at a premium, many property owners and developers are turning to green roofs and roof terraces for their environmental and social benefits.
RoofEdge is a product specifically developed for this application and is easy to install without perforating the watertight roof layer. Supplied in galvanised steel as standard and in Corten weathering steel or powder coated to order, RoofEdge maintains neat edges around the soft and hard landscaping areas of green roofs with vertical slots providing efficient through-drainage.
Can I use landscape edging to create a raised border?
Yes, many of our edging products are manufactured in a range of heights that allow the edging to rise above the level of a path or lawn and create a raised border. For a really dramatic effect, we recommend using our Apex aluminium planter edge which at a total height of 225mm will give the effect of a more expensive bespoke planter. Manufactured in mill finish aluminium from stock, it can also be ordered in a warmer anodic bronze-effect finish.
Specifying & Ordering Landscape Edging FAQs
Which Kinley metal edging is aluminium and which is steel?
Some customers get confused by which of our products are steel and which are aluminium. Surprisingly (considering its name) this often happens with AluExcel, with customers wrongly assuming it’s steel.
Our steel edging products are
Bison heavy-duty kerbing
Borderline edging for domestic gardens, paths and drives
Fort edging for hard landscaping
RoofEdge for green roofs and roof terraces
Urban heavy-duty edging for hard landscaping
Our aluminium landscape edging products are
AllEdge domestic lawn edging
AluExcel edging for hard landscaping
Apex planter edge for raised planter-like beds
ResinEdge for resin-bound paths and drives
How much does metal landscape edging cost compared with other landscape edging?
Looking purely at the cost per linear metre, metal landscape edging is more expensive even than concrete, with the cheapest option being timber.
However, to reach a true cost comparison we need to take into account other factors – installation time and materials, maintenance and repairs, and product life.
Timber is not only the cheapest material but probably the fastest to install as it is easily cut with a hand or power saw and only needs basic fixings such as nails or screws to secure it in place. The biggest disadvantage of timber edging is that as it is in constant contact with the ground it quickly deteriorates, losing its strength and becoming unattractive. During the average lifetime of metal edging, timber edging will need to be replaced several times over. In the long term, the cost savings made on the initial installation will be more than absorbed by the cost of labour and materials for repeated replacement.
While concrete edging is cheaper than metal, we need to factor in the cost of installation time and materials. A cement foundation needs to be dug and laid, then allowed to cure before concrete edging can be laid. The concrete edging will also need to be set on a bed of mortar and haunched, and this must be left to cure and harden before hard landscaping materials are laid.
What thickness is metal landscape edging?
The thickness of metal landscape edging is calculated according to the product’s recommended use and the pressures it will need to withstand. Kinley edging products are manufactured in the following thicknesses:
AllEdge - 5mm
AluExcel - 0-8.5mm (top fold)
Apex - 6mm (12mm top fold)
Bison - 7mm (top fold)
Borderline - 2-5mm
Fort - 7mm (top fold)
ResinEdge - 5mm (top fold)
RoofEdge - 6mm (top fold)
Urban - 3-6mm (top fold)
How long are your lead times for delivery of landscape edging?
We carry good stocks of standard products for immediate despatch. Even when bespoke products are required, our in-house design and manufacturing facilities ensure that lead times are kept to a minimum.
Our lead times on standard products are as follows:
Some steel edging products are also available in Corten weathering steel. These have a delivery lead time of 4-6 weeks.
Please contact us for lead times on bespoke edging products.
Metal Landscape Edging Installation FAQs
How fast is AluExcel installation compared with concrete edging?
All Kinley metal edging is faster to install than concrete edging. This is because
it is lighter and easier to carry and lay, so can often be laid by a single person
it doesn’t require the same solid base as concrete edging and can be laid on compacted earth
it doesn’t need to be laid on a bed of wet cement
in many instances, it doesn’t need concrete haunching
once in place, it is immediately ready for hard landscaping and backfilling
These factors substantially reduce the total costs of time, labour and materials.
What is the tightest curve that metal edging can be formed to?
The tightest curve you can form metal landscape edging to varies between the products, as follows:
AllEdge - 1 metre
AluExcel - 5 metres
Apex - cannot be curved. Pre-formed 90 degree corners available
Bison - 2 metres
Borderline - 1/1.5 metres
Fort 2-3 metres
ResinEdge - 1 metre
Urban 3mm - 3 metres
Urban 6mm - 5 metres
Can you form metal landscape edging into corners?
Yes, you can score and bend metal landscape edging on-site to form corners. We also offer 90-degree preformed corners to order for Fort and AluExcel edging.
Can landscape edging be installed on a Type 3 sub-base?
No, we wouldn’t recommend installing metal landscape edging on a Type 3 sub-base due to the size of the stones the sub-base is likely to contain. We would recommend a Type 1 base.
Other Landscape Edging FAQs
How does using Bison kerbing reduce carbon compared with concrete kerbing?
Mindful of the urgent need to reduce global carbon emissions, we commissioned an independent scientific study into the comparative carbon footprint of our Bison steel kerbing and the traditional concrete equivalent in kerb height and length.
For the embodied carbon of the raw materials and the carbon emissions associated with their transport to the manufacturing location, Bison steel kerbing showed an average carbon reduction of 34.3% compared with concrete kerbing.
The distribution of the finished products showed the carbon emissions for Bison steel kerbing were on average 970% less than that of concrete kerbing.
As Bison steel kerbing can be recycled at the end of its life, whereas concrete can only be converted into aggregate or sent to landfill, on disposal Bison showed an average carbon emissions reduction of 1050% compared with concrete kerbing.
The overall ‘cradle-to-grave’ emissions of Bison steel kerbing showed a reduction of 21% compared with concrete kerbing.