Just because the warm weather is fading doesn’t mean we have to put away our gardening tools just yet. There’s still something you can do now to make sure your landscaping looks great this winter and next spring: install landscape edging!
If you’re cleaning out your summer flower and garden beds to plant pansies or winter veggies, it’s the perfect time to install landscape edging around the perimeter of your beds. Recycled-plastic landscape edging, which you can find at most home improvement or gardening store, is a great choice. I do, however, recommend you get the commercial grade since it is thicker and more durable. There is edging available that is 100 percent recycled post-consumer plastics (like milk jugs), and this edging is tough enough to stand up to Mother Nature and yard maintenance for years to come.
Why use landscape edging? Installing edging along walkways and driveways is the perfect way to prevent grass and weeds from encroaching across these areas. Edging around your flower or garden beds is an excellent way to give definition and distinction. It also aids in keeping your mulch in place and slows down water runoff, so your plants can get the water they need.
Installing recycled-plastic edging is a great DIY project that requires minimal tools to put in place. First you want to trench the area; you will be placing the edging no less than 6 inches deep. This will give your edging firm footing in the soil and will also allow you to cut through most of the roots that might try to grow inside your edged area. You can use a hoe or a tiller to create your trench. Next, place the edging in the trench, making sure that only the upper third of the edging is showing. You don’t want this to be too high. Edging sits low to the ground, so you could mow over it if needed. That’s why you dig about a 6-inch trench. Also, make sure you place the edging with the V-groove facing away from the lawn.
If your beds or edged areas are longer than the full length of the edging, you will need to get connector pieces to join the two edging sections together. Since connector pieces are generally 8 to 10 inches long, I recommend that you split the difference for each side of the edging when sliding them into the connector section—say, 4 to 5 inches on each side—so they join right in the middle of the connector.
At the same time you purchase your edging, pick up some stakes. Frost heaving will shoot that edging up and out of the trench if you don’t stake it down. As you stake down the sides of the edging, make sure the stakes are going into the sides of the trenched hole, not into the bottom of the trench. This will secure the edging better. You can space your stakes about 5 feet apart along the length of the edging.
As you stake, you can start backfilling the trench. With one hand, hold open the V-groove, and, with the other, backfill the dirt, ensuring it gets into the v-groove. This also will help hold the edging in place as the dirt compacts. You will have to compress the dirt as you go by stepping along the trench with your foot. Backfill with dirt as you compress it until you reach the top of the edging. Give it one final stomp to make sure it is compacted and shaped correctly to your bed or hard surfaces. You will also need to backfill the outer side of the edging as well.
Once your edging is in place, grab your garden hose and water the entire length of the edging. Water will help settle the loose soil. After moderate watering, if you still have low soil spots along the edging, use any excess soil to fill it in. Water again to compact the soil. If the edging is where you want it and at the desired height, and the soil is nicely compacted around it, you can call this project DONE!
Recycled-plastic landscape edging is a wonderful addition to your landscaping. The payoff for installing it will come back year after year. So now that the days are cooling off, install it now so there’s one less thing to do in the spring to get your plants off to a great start!