Landscape edging is one of those details that is small but can make a world of difference. When you create borders around your plant beds (or your mulched tree rings), it can go a long way in giving your property a professional and appealing look at your Northern Virginia home.
Of course, that’s assuming it’s done properly. Poorly installed edging or edging created using cheap materials can do more harm than good. You’d be better off not edging at all than having an edging job gone wrong completed.
To help you make wise choices and ensure you end up with a finished product that enhances your landscape (rather than detracts from it), we’ve rounded up some landscape edging ideas to consider.
What are the Benefits of Landscape Edging?
Before we get into some landscape edging ideas that might work for your property, let’s talk about why you should consider it in the first place. The main reason that people like edging is for aesthetic appeal. Creating a clean, crisp edge in a plant bed is a finishing touch that adds a lot of curb appeal. It makes a nice delineation between your lawn and your landscaped beds.
But that has some functional benefit, as well. Edging helps prevent mulch from washing out into your lawn and assists in keeping it in your plant beds or your tree rings, where you want it.
Creating an edge also helps provide a barrier that prevents weeds in the lawn from making it into your landscaped areas (and vice versa).
What are Some of the Best Landscape Edging Ideas?
There are essentially two ways to create landscape edging. You can create a natural edge by cutting it in with an edging shovel. When done well, natural edging looks crisp and clean, but it does need to be maintained over time. As time goes on, that edge will need to be re-cut in order to get that pristine look restored.
Although it does require some upkeep, natural edging is what most of our clients want. It is a professional finishing touch to mulching that really takes the whole look of the landscape beds to a new level.
The other option for edging is to create those borders using a material such as landscape edging stone or other edging specific materials. Some people prefer the look of having a very clearly defined border using an edging material. Other times, an edging material might make a better choice because of erosion. If you have even a slight slope to your bed areas, the mulch might be washing out.
Of course, if you have a significant slope and a more serious erosion issue, then you might actually need a retaining wall, which is a whole other topic.
In terms of choosing the edging material that works best, there are some pros and cons to consider. Let’s look at some of the edging material choices.
Plastic edging, like the kind sold at big box stores, has a DIY feel to it. The idea is to install the plastic strips into the ground to hold the edge but it’s not uncommon for this cheap material to lift up out of the ground and stick out.
We’ve also heard a lot of stories about it getting mangled by mowers. Most of the time this type of edging ends up detracting from the plant beds rather than being a nice addition.
Steel edging takes the same concept of the plastic edging strips but with a much sturdier material. Steel edging that is powder-coated is not going to rust. It’s also not going to pop up out of the ground easily. It’s a good way to define beds and stay where it’s meant to be.
This is not really a DIY type of project as this edging can be big and heavy and a little bit intimidating to homeowners. But that’s something that we can install if homeowners like the idea of an edging material that stays put.
A step up from steel edging is to create an edge using edging stone (what we often hear people call “cobblestone”). When installed properly, this option can look great. It can be an architectural accent that adds a lot to your property. But this type of edging can go awry when homeowners take it on as a DIY project or hire an inexperienced landscaper.
Like a retaining wall, edging stone needs proper footing in order to stand the test of time. You don’t want the edging to look uneven, start to sink, or even worse, fall over. If you’re going to go with a more expensive material choice, you want to make sure it’s installed properly so it’s a one-time project that has the professional look you were trying to accomplish.
Another very attractive option is dry-stacked stone. It’s the most expensive option but gives an old-world charm that is perfect for some homes in the Alexandria, Arlington, or Springfield, VA area.
Making Your Wise Choice in Landscape Edging
Like any landscape project, when making an edging choice you should recognize it’s a combination of personal preferences, expectations, and of course, budget. In terms of the latter, keep in mind that it might actually make the most financial sense to opt for a more expensive material but only needing to have edging completed once (as opposed to choosing a cheap material that continuously needs to be fixed).
As you think about edging and budget, also keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need your entire property edged. It might make sense to choose edging stone for an architectural highlight in a prominent part of your front yard. This could go a long way in enhancing curb appeal. But perhaps other plant beds or tree rings around your property can simply have a natural edge cut in when mulching.
The bottom line is when having edging completed at your property, you want to make sure that it’s achieving both the functional and the aesthetic purposes that you had in mind. Success ultimately comes down to choosing a company who takes the time to complete edging the right way.
At Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape, we recommend either a natural edge, steel edging, or edge stone and no matter which you choose, you can count on us to complete the job in a way that meets all of your wants and needs. That should leave you with the peace of mind that it was worth your investment.
Are you looking for mulching and edging that will give your Alexandria or Arlington, VA home a professional look? If so, request your quote, get your customized plan, and relax as you get the royal treatment.