Garden Thoughts for November
Edging: The Lazy Gardeners Friend
It may seem like a contradiction, but sometimes a little
extra work now can save or eliminate a lot of work later on.
Edging is one of those tasks.
Theres something magical about a perfectly neat interface
between lawn and garden bed. Even though the lawn may be less
than perfect, and the garden bed a big mess of weeds,
if the edging is neat and tidy, the overall garden looks wonderfully
There are several schools of thought concerning edges. Advocates
of the weed trimmer prefer a raised edge against the lawn. These
people happily surround every garden bed with raised concrete
curbs and landscaping ties, then weed whack against the curbs.
Due to the
nature of these building materials, the gardens tend to be laid
out in squared shapes. Can you tell this isnt my preferred
style? Im always amazed by how many yards you see like
this around town.
The other main category of edging has the barrier set slightly
below the level of the lawn. A typical example of this is where
grass abuts a concrete driveway, and its by far the easiest
to manage. The lawnmower just mows over the edge with two wheels
on the paving. A couple of
times a year, (or more if you like) a half-moon edging tool can
be used to trim back the grass.
In my dream garden, I would have a brick or paving stone border
between all garden and lawn areas. It would be slightly lower
than the lawn, as described above, so mowing and edging would
be a breeze. In some areas I would widen the edge to 3 or 4 feet
to make a path that the plants could overhang, though in most
areas Id leave it a 8 inches to keep it unobtrusive.
The garden layout could be as curvy as I wished, as much for
ease of mowing as for visual reason. Ah, if only...
In reality, I have very few bricked edges, because brick or stone
is way to rich for my budget. In a few areas Ive used concrete
paving slabs as an edge, and this has worked well, but its
not cheap either. If using concrete pavers, avoid the grey and
also the brick coloured ones,
which are a bright cherry red. The pavers called tan
are actually brick coloured. Go figure.
Hardware stores have a variety of plastic edging for use around
lawns, but I wouldnt recommend it. If you set it above
ground, to weed-eat against, it will get run over by the mower,
covered in grass clippings, and generally look like hell. If
you set it discretely below the lawn level, the grass will grow
merrily over it within a few weeks. If you insist on the plastic
edging (as many people do), please, at least buy the black rather
than the bright
The last style of edging, and the most economical, is the hill
and valley method. The edge of the lawn is cleanly sliced off
(with the half moon edger again), and the soil is 3-4 inches
lower on the garden bed side, sloping back up into the bed. If
the top of the bed is at the same
level as the lawn, then the valley will only be about 4-6 inches.
Choose plants to grow along this edge with care.
Things like Hostas and ornamental grasses will drape over the
lawn, but you should still be able to mow under them. A trim
with long handled edging shears once every month or two will
keep this edge looking neat. When you weed your garden bed (once
or twice a year, in my case), you can slide your trowel along
the original cut edge, and remove any encroaching grass, or buttercups,
or clover, etc. Its not maintenance free, but then no garden
looking at it is totally free from work. The idea is to make
it as easy as possible, freeing
yourself up to enjoy life just a little more.