Edging is a practical and attractive way of finishing a lawn and there are many ways of doing this, ranging from cheap and cheerful to professional products designed to last for decades.
The choice of edging also depends on the effect you want to achieve. If you want a visible, decorative edge several products work well, either new or picked up from a reclaim yard.
Ornate terracotta edging can look spectacular in a traditional, formal setting while bricks can add a more rustic style to a country garden.
Stone slabs will give a wider edge that may work better in a larger garden.
Steel edging can provide a more uniform look and is available in galvanised steel, untreated steel (which develops an attractive and protective patina over time that works well both with an industrial or a natural look) or powder-coated steel.
Aluminium edging will give a very contemporary look to a garden and is excellent at resisting corrosion.
Concrete pin kerbing is sometimes used to edge lawns, but we wouldn’t recommend it as both the concrete kerbing and the cement used to haunch it for stability contain acids that can leach out into the surrounding soil, causing unsightly grass die-back along its perimeter.
Lawn edging can also be used as invisible support to the lawn sub-base.
Timber (preferably pressure-treated) is a traditional material used for this. It is inexpensive and easy to cut and install, but it has a relatively short useful life, particularly if used in frequently damp soil.
Some DIY stores and garden centres sell plastic lawn edging. This is more resistant to water than timber and won’t rot, but will become brittle with age, sunlight and at low temperatures. It is also more prone to damage from garden machinery.
Steel and aluminium edging – as mentioned above – can also be sunk flush with the lawn surface to provide strong, long-lasting support. Like plastic edging – although of much better quality and durability – metal lawn edging can be easily shaped to create the curves, corners and intricate profiles that give a garden a unique character and visual flow.
Why real grass needs edging
It isn’t essential to install edging for a real grass lawn, but doing so will reap dividends in the long term
Better looking lawns
A lawn with a clearly defined edge will always look more attractive, whether or not this is a visible edging product.
A visible edge will create an obvious break between the grass and planted borders or other garden features, often adding a complementary or contrasting element to the overall design.
Flush-fitted invisible edging will also give an impression of neatness and order as it prevents a blurring of the lines. Without edging the lawn sub-base will often erode, causing the lawn to sink into borders and grass will more easily spread beyond the lawn.
Lawn edging can also be useful when laying a new lawn or re-laying an old one, creating a uniform level for the sub-base across the site.
Lawn edging can also significantly reduce the amount of time spent maintaining a garden.
It can act as a barrier to grass spreading to borders.
It can maintain the lawn edge at a distance from walls, trees and other garden features to make grasscutting easier and faster
If the edge is flush fitted, lawnmowers can cut right up to the edge and prevent having to return with a strimmer or edging shears.
By supporting the perimeter of the sub-base, edging will also protect it against soil movement, particularly if the lawn is on a slope or has a high step down to an adjacent area.
Why synthetic grass needs edging too
Artificial grass will also benefit from the use of an edging product for all the above reasons, and more.
Unlike a real lawn, if the sub-base beneath an artificial lawn sinks it can’t simply be brought back to the right level with lawn dressing. The artificial grass must be peeled back, the sub-base levelled off and the grass fixed back into place again.
If the sub-base of an artificial lawn erodes it also loosens the nails, staples or spiked used to secure it in place and repair – which can be costly – must be carried out.
Wear and tear prevention
Lawn edging will also protect an artificial lawn from wearing prematurely around the edges due to movement or erosion of the sub-base creating patches of loose lawn matting.
Wind-lift and animals
If a lawn is in an area exposed to wind, lawn edging will help to prevent the edges of the lawn from lifting in strong gusts.
If animals – particularly the kind that like to dig around, such as dogs – are given access to an artificial lawn, edging will help hold the grass down and bar access to the sub-base from the side.
Where can I buy lawn edging?
Kinley is one of the UK’s leading designers and manufacturers of steel and aluminium landscape edging products, with a wide range that caters for everyone from the DIY garden enthusiast to professional gardeners and commercial landscaping contractors.
With a wide variety of standard and custom finishes available, Kinley has an edging for any landscaping project including RoofEdge, their perforated edging developed particularly for roof gardens to allow drainage.