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Edging Techniques for Landscape Design: A Guide for Beginners

You’ve planted your favourite blooms and painted the fence, yet something feels off. Is it perhaps the undefined boundaries in your garden that need an upgrade? Edging is the secret ingredient that provides a refined finish to your landscape masterpiece. Dive into this comprehensive guide on edging techniques for landscape design intended for beginners. Prepare yourself to add that extra polish and professionalism to your garden to make it stand out from every angle. Even the neighbours will want to copy your gardening skills after reading this!

Understanding Landscape Edging

Landscape edging is a crucial aspect of creating well-designed outdoor spaces. It serves both functional and aesthetic purposes, enhancing the overall appeal and organisation of your landscaping. By creating distinct lines and boundaries, landscape edging helps define different areas within your outdoor space, such as flower beds, pathways, and lawn areas. It transitions between hardscapes (like sidewalks and driveways) and softscapes (like plants and grass).

Aesthetically, landscape edging adds depth, texture, and visual interest to your outdoor design. It can accentuate specific plants or features by clearly separating the elements. For example, using brick or stone edging around a flower bed can create a charming border that highlights the beauty of the flowers. Edging can also help create clean, precise lines between ground cover materials like mulch or gravel.

Functionally, landscape edging offers several benefits. It helps keep mulch in place within garden beds while preventing it from spilling into other areas. As a barrier for grass and weeds, edging helps maintain a neat and well-maintained appearance for your lawn. It also provides containment for pathways made with loose materials like gravel or sand, preventing them from spreading into adjacent areas.

Imagine having a beautifully landscaped front yard with neatly defined flower beds lined with elegant metal or plastic edging. The edges not only enhance the visual appeal of the flower beds but also ensure that mulch stays in place, preventing it from being washed away during heavy rainfall. Additionally, the demarcated boundaries created by the edging prevent grass from encroaching onto the flowers, making maintenance easier and more efficient.

By understanding the purpose and benefits of landscape edging, you can make informed decisions when selecting materials and techniques that suit your specific needs.

Now that we have a basic understanding of landscape edging let’s explore the concept of edging for aesthetics versus function.

Edging for Aesthetics vs. Function

When considering landscape edging options, it’s important to determine whether you prioritise aesthetics or functionality. Both aspects are essential and can coexist in your design; however, understanding the primary focus of your edging choices will help guide your decision-making process.

If aesthetics are your main concern, you may opt for materials like decorative stone, brick, or pavers. These choices can add elegance and style to your outdoor space, creating visually stunning borders for flower beds or paths. Metal edging options such as aluminium or steel can also provide a modern, sleek appearance that complements contemporary designs.

READ: Transform Your Outdoor Space with Creative Edging Ideas

On the other hand, if functionality is your primary consideration, you might lean towards options like plastic or concrete edging. Plastic edging products are cost-effective and easy to instal, creating a reliable barrier against grass and weeds while defining clear boundaries. Concrete pavers used as edging can offer durability and weather resistance, ensuring long-lasting functionality in demanding outdoor environments.

Let’s say you have a backyard with children who love playing on the lawn. Functionality becomes crucial in this scenario. You might choose plastic or concrete edging that effectively contains the grass and allows easy maintenance. This way, you create a safe play area while still maintaining an appealing look with the defined boundaries created by the edging material.

Ultimately, finding a balance between aesthetics and function is key when selecting landscape edging options. Consider the overall design vision for your outdoor space and how different materials can enhance its visual appeal and practicality.

Essential Materials for Landscape Edging

birds eye view perfectly manicured lawn

When it comes to landscape edging, there are several materials to choose from, each offering unique advantages and considerations. Let’s explore some of the key materials commonly used in landscape edging:

1. Aluminium Edging: Aluminium edging is a popular choice due to its lightweight nature and resistance to rust. It provides a clean and sleek look to the landscape design while being relatively easy to instal. Additionally, aluminium edging allows flexibility in creating curved lines and contours in the garden.

2. Steel Edging: Steel edging, like corten steel edging, offers durability and strength, making it an ideal option for landscapes that require high-traffic areas or need to withstand heavy loads. Although steel edging can be more expensive than other options, it provides a long-lasting solution that can resist warping or bending over time. It also develops an attractive rust patina that adds character to the landscape. Here’s an in-depth look into using Corten Steel Edging.

3. Plastic Edging: Plastic edging is another commonly used material due to its affordability and easy installation. It is available in various colours and styles, allowing for customization based on personal preferences. However, plastic edging may not maintain a straight line or separation between rocks and grass as effectively as other materials. Regular maintenance might be required to keep the plastic edging intact and in good condition.

4. Concrete Pavers: Using hardscape pavers as edging brings texture into the design while creating a practical mowing strip that eliminates the need for constant trimming along the border. Concrete pavers can be arranged in different patterns, adding visual interest to the landscape while effectively containing mulch and soil within designated areas.

Now that we have explored some critical materials for landscape edging let’s take a closer look at the specifics of plastic edging and consider its pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Plastic Edging

Plastic edging is a popular choice for landscape projects due to its affordability and ease of installation. However, it’s important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages before deciding.


Plastic edging offers several benefits that make it an attractive option for many homeowners and landscapers:

  1. Affordability: Plastic edging is generally more budget-friendly than other materials like aluminium or steel, making it accessible to a wider range of budgets.
  2. Ease of Installation: Installing plastic edging is relatively simple and can be done by beginners without professional landscape edging assistance. It typically involves digging a shallow trench, inserting the edging, and securing it.
  3. Customization Options: Plastic edging is available in various colours and styles, allowing customization to suit different design preferences. This versatility makes it easy to find a plastic edging option that complements the overall look of the landscape.

Imagine you are working on a project with vibrant flower beds and want a subtle border that doesn’t detract attention from the blooms. Plastic edging can be found in neutral colours like black or brown, seamlessly blending into the surroundings while maintaining defined edges.


While plastic edging has its merits, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  1. Durability: Plastic edging may be less durable than other materials like aluminium or steel. It can be susceptible to cracking or breaking under heavy pressure or harsh weather conditions.
  2. Limited Structural Support: Plastic edging might not provide sturdy structural support for retaining soil or containing larger rocks/gravel within the landscape due to its flexibility.
  3. Maintenance: Over time, plastic edging can fade or become brittle when exposed to sunlight and other environmental factors. Regular maintenance may be required to ensure its longevity and appearance.

Think of plastic edging like a lightweight jacket – great for mild weather but unsuitable for heavier storms, where a sturdier material like a raincoat would be more appropriate.

So, when considering plastic edging, it’s essential to weigh its advantages against its limitations and consider the specific requirements of your landscape project.

Benefits of Metal Edging

Metal edging offers numerous advantages when it comes to landscape design. It provides a clean, crisp, and professional look to any outdoor space, enhancing its overall aesthetic appeal. Here are some key benefits of using metal edging:

Imagine a beautifully manicured garden with neatly defined borders. The metal edging can make this vision a reality by creating distinct lines between different elements in your landscape design, such as separating flower beds from the lawn or pathways from gravel areas. This helps create an organised and cohesive look.

1. Durability: One notable advantage of metal edging is its durability. Metal edging is built to last unlike other materials like plastic that may crack or deteriorate over time. It can withstand harsh weather conditions, including intense heat, heavy rain, and freezing temperatures.

2. Versatility: Metal edging is available in various shapes, sizes, and finishes, allowing for versatile design possibilities. Whether you prefer a sleek and modern look with smooth curves or a more rustic style with hammered or decorative detailing, metal edging offers flexibility to match your desired aesthetic.

3. Easy Installation: Installing metal edging is relatively straightforward, making it an ideal choice for beginners. It usually involves preparing the area, inserting the edging into the ground or securing it with stakes, and backfilling with soil or gravel.

4. Low Maintenance: Metal edging requires minimal maintenance effort once installed. Unlike wooden edging, which may need regular staining or sealing to protect against rotting or insects, metal edging typically only needs occasional cleaning to maintain its appearance.

5. Longevity: Metal edging products are designed to withstand the test of time without losing their structural integrity or aesthetics. This longevity makes them a cost-effective option in the long run since you won’t have to worry about replacing or repairing them frequently.

Like a sturdy brick wall, metal edging provides a solid foundation for your landscape design, giving it stability and longevity.

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of metal edging let’s dive into a step-by-step guide on how to install it in your landscape.

Step-by-Step Edging Installation Guide

Installing metal edging in your landscape can be a rewarding DIY project. It adds structure and defines the areas within your outdoor space. Follow these steps for a successful edging installation:

  1. Plan and Measure: Plan where you want to install the metal edging. Measure the length of the desired border area length to determine how much edging material you need.
  2. Prepare the Area: Clear any debris or vegetation from where you plan to install the edging. Use a shovel or garden spade to create a shallow trench along the perimeter, ensuring it is deep enough to accommodate the edging height.
  3. Insert Edging: Place the metal edging into the trench, ensuring it sits securely against the ground. Use a rubber mallet to tap it into place for a snug fit gently.
  4. Connect Sections (if applicable): If your landscape requires multiple sections of metal edging, connect them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve overlapping or using connectors provided with the product.
  5. Secure Edging: Once in position, ensure that the edging is straight and level by using a carpenter’s level or string line as a guide. Secure it in place by driving stakes through pre-drilled holes in the edging and into the ground.
  6. Backfill and Finish: Carefully backfill soil or gravel around the installed metal edging, pressing it firmly against the sides for stability. Smooth out any uneven areas and ensure the edging is securely placed.

For a sleek, professional look, consider utilising hardscape pavers as edging alongside the metal edging. This combination adds texture and creates a mowing strip that eliminates the need for trimming.

With the metal edging securely installed, you have a defined and visually appealing landscape. However, it’s essential to be aware of common mistakes during the edging installation process to avoid potential pitfalls.

Planning on starting a garden edging project soon? Check out our available garden rings and garden stakes today!

Common Mistakes in Edging Installation

Edging installation, though seemingly straightforward, can be tricky for beginners. It’s easy to fall into common pitfalls without proper knowledge and planning. By understanding these mistakes, you can avoid them and ensure a successful edging installation that enhances your landscape design.

One common mistake is inadequate preparation before digging the trench for the edging. It’s crucial to clearly mark the desired pathway or boundary, ensuring straight lines and smooth curves. Failing to do so may result in uneven edges or unsightly gaps.

Another mistake is not considering the depth of the trench. The trench should typically be deep enough to hold the edging firmly in place while leaving enough room for root growth of nearby plants. The edging may not provide adequate support or stability if the trench is too shallow.

A third mistake is failing to secure and stabilise the edging material properly. This can lead to shifting or movement over time, ruining the clean lines and causing potential damage to surrounding plants or hardscape elements. Ensure to install stakes or anchors at regular intervals along the length of the edging to prevent this issue.

Furthermore, neglecting maintenance is another common mistake. Over time, soil erosion or adjacent vegetation may undermine the integrity of the edging. Regular inspection and occasional adjustments can help maintain its functionality and appearance.

Lastly, overlooking the compatibility between different materials used within the landscape design can create an inconsistent and unappealing aesthetic. Ensure that your chosen edging material complements elements such as walkways, flower beds, or hardscape features in colour, texture, and style.

By being aware of these common mistakes and actively avoiding them through careful planning, precise execution, and regular maintenance, you can achieve a professional-looking landscape with well-defined edges that enhance its overall beauty.

Thematic Edging Designs for Inspiration

perfectly manicured lawn

Once you have a solid foundation of knowledge about edging installation and how to avoid common mistakes, it’s time to explore thematic edging designs for inspiration. Thematic designs can add charm and personality to your landscape, creating unique focal points that impress visitors and reflect your style. Let’s explore a few examples below:

  1. Natural and Organic: Embrace the beauty of nature by incorporating raw materials like stones, pebbles, or logs as edging. This design creates a harmonious blend between your outdoor space and the surrounding environment, giving it a rustic and earthy feel.
  2. Modern and Minimalist: If you prefer clean lines and a sleek aesthetic, consider using straight-edged metal or concrete as edging. This design complements contemporary and landscape architecture, giving your space a modern and sophisticated look.
  3. Whimsical and Playful: Add a touch of whimsy to your landscape with edging materials such as colourful tiles, recycled bottles, or decorative bricks. This design allows you to unleash your creativity while making a bold statement in your outdoor space.
  4. Eco-friendly and Sustainable: Opt for eco-friendly materials like recycled plastic or reclaimed wood as edging to promote sustainable practises in your landscape design. This design showcases your commitment to the environment while adding a unique element to your outdoor space.

Remember, these thematic designs are meant to inspire you but should also align with your landscape’s overall style and vision. Feel free to mix and match elements from different themes or create your unique combination that reflects your taste.

Whether you’re looking for a natural ambience, a modern edge, or a whimsical touch, these thematic edging designs can serve as a starting point for transforming your landscape into something truly remarkable. Here is The Ultimate Guide to Lawn Edging: Get a Perfectly Manicured Lawn in No Time.

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