Once you have put in the work to attain that picture-perfect lawn, with the perfect landscape elements such as shrub or garden beds, there is just one thing left to do… landscape edging.
Landscape edging provides a distinctive border between your landscaping and your lawn, also upgrading your property’s value and style.
There are numerous options to choose from in the world of landscape edging, with options in size, material, shape, color, and design. Landscape edging trends – specific products or designs that are popular for a certain time – will also come and go with time.
One specific landscape edging trend that is popular now, is metal landscape edging. Metal landscape edging stands out in many ways as an attractive, durable and hardy landscape edging selection.
Metal landscape edging itself comes in different varieties—with choices in metal material, installation method, style and more. And while metal landscape edging may not be your cheapest landscape edging option, it will do a fantastic, long-term job.
Metal landscape edging is the preferred choice of edging material by many professional landscapers.
Likely, this is because metal in general, is sturdy, elegant, and timeless. Metal edging also offers a very clean-cut and practical resolution to keep plants and materials in place, while keeping grass and weeds out. In general, every one of your choices for landscape edging will have pros AND cons. However, the pros of metal landscape edging should outweigh the cons when looked at side by side. Furthermore, while each metal landscape edging choice is not the same in terms of quality, all serve the same purpose—guardian of the flower bed.
How Metal Landscape Edging Options Differ
Stake driven edging:
Each stake driven landscape edging kit will be slightly different. However, for a general kit there will be stakes in the kit that is purchased. There will also most likely be a few spare stakes in the case that one or two need to be replaced at some point. These types of kits work best if there is a small trench dug in which to lay the edging.
Once the metal edging is placed in the trench, place the stakes on the inside of the edging (closest to the flower bed or landscape element that is being edged) and tap them into the stake pockets just enough to hold the stakes in place.
Then you’ll need to make certain adjustments to specifically accommodate your flower bed. For corners and curves, you can either bend the metal just enough to fit the curve or make a one inch slit at the bottom of the edging to weaken it enough to bend into the correct angle for a corner. To cut the edging, score a line using a hacksaw then bend the edging back and forth to break it apart.
Once the edging is adjusted to properly line the border of the flower bed, grab a hammer and tap all the stakes into the ground so they are flush with the stop of the edging. A vinyl trim cap can be used to protect anyone from injuring themselves by stepping on it. This edging is sure to stay neatly in place for years to come.
Edging that stays above the ground can come in many different materials, but one specific material is metal. The above-ground metal edging comes in L-shaped pieces, with the smaller portion of the L having small pre-drilled holes in them to drive stakes through to secure the edging to the ground.
This type of metal landscape edging is not very intrusive, having only the stake driven into the ground while the rest of the piece sits on top of the ground. You could dig a small trench if you prefer, but it is not generally necessary. The pieces are light in weight and easy to install. Although, above ground landscape edging may not be the best option for keeping grass roots and weeds from invading your flower bed. Yet, it does do a good job of keeping much mulch and soil in place, preventing it from washing away and moving due to weather.
Rolls of Metal for Edging:
The most basic form of metal edging comes in rolls of about 20 feet. This method does not require stakes. Rolls of metal do, on the other hand, require a small trench. The small trench allows you to place the metal deep enough into the ground, preventing grass roots from spreading under your garden bed. It also allows you to get the metal deep enough that the material is stabilized and isn’t easily knocked over or moved out of place.
This type of metal landscape edging is also lightweight—easy to work with—and installs very quickly. To install, you simply need to dig a small trench, about 4 inches deep and wide enough for the material, along the border of your garden bed. Then, place the edging in the trench, grabbing a hammer and tapping it into the ground about an inch. Once all the edging is in place, you’ll need to go back and fill in the remaining space with the dirt that once filled the trench. You may also need to pack the filler dirt with your foot or a packing tool to ensure that the edging will not move.
Doesn’t Metal Rust?
Some metal landscape edging can rust due to the weather it experiences being outside 24/7. However, there are products that can be applied to the metal to prevent it from rusting, such as baked-on enamel, metal varnish, or protective paint. Furthermore, there are some metals – used in some metal landscape edging such as our EdgeRight product – that is made of marine-grade metal that resists corrosion and only oxidizes in a “good way.”
Getting enamel baked onto your metal strips can be quite expensive, as well as inconvenient. Protective varnishes and paints can be purchased at your local Lowes or Home Depot but will require some time to paint the product on and allow it to dry before the edging can be installed.
If you have already installed your metal edging, you can still apply a thick layer of the protective product. You just will not be able to cover the entire strip since about half of it is going to already be underground.
Again, there are some metal products like our EdgeRight landscape edging, that are made from a metal that weathers well naturally. At first, it appears as a clean slate. Over time, however, a thin layer of oxidization forms over the edging strips. This layer of “rust” serves as the protective coating to prevent damage and deterioration of the “inner” metal. This creates a beautiful patina look and allows your metal edging to last for years. If you’re not familiar with the patina look, it is a graduated colorization/bronzing that gives a modern, natural, rustic look to your edging. It can go well with traditional cottage gardens as well as more formal settings.
Positives of Metal Landscape Edging
Metal landscape edging provides the perfect, ideal edge because of its strength, durability, and flexibility.
It provides a subtle accent to your overall landscape theme with minimal intrusion. Metal also will not rot away, unlike other options such as wood. Furthermore, metal does not become brittle in cold weather, can withstand inclement weather, resists ground movement and is not susceptible to damage from trimmers and weed eaters during maintenance.
Another huge positive of metal landscape edging is that it is fairly easy to install and does not require a grand amount of time to do so. Additionally, if the edging does happen to lift up at all, it can easily be hammered back down. This edging also makes it easier to reshape your flower bed shape with its ease to be pulled up and reshaped to fit the new bed shape.
Negatives of Metal Landscape Edging
As stated above, there are not many negatives to this landscape edging material. The biggest downfall to metal edging is that it can be costlier than the low budget edging options. Many metal edging products generally run for roughly $3.25 per foot. You can see the cost of our EdgeRight metal landscape edging HERE.
Also, if you’re against the look of the natural layer of protective rust that will begin to form on metal landscape edging – the patina look – then that would also be considered a negative of metal edging for you. Basically, if you’re looking for a more ornamental edging material, this may not be the right choice for you due to its slim appearance.
Purchasing Metal Landscape Edging
Consider your various options of metal edging, whether you’re considering stake-driven, above-ground, or rolls of metal edging, and do some research on what retailer has the best prices.
Most metal edging options can be purchased at your local hardware or home improvement store, such as Lowes or Home Depot. You can also order your materials online using Amazon or a specific company’s website.
When you’re using a specific company’s website, such as Edgeright.com, you are purchasing a proprietary product. The website can give you details on the material and possibly include an installation guide to make your edging journey that much easier.
Aluminum edging can be a high-quality product or a low-quality product, it’s mostly about the grade of material.
Low-quality aluminum edging is known the be flimsy. To prevent purchasing a flimsy material, choose a heavier grade material that is 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Aluminum doesn’t rust like steel edging, but due to the softness, it can lose shape or bend easier.
The quality and durability of aluminum edging has come a long way, but the biggest downfall is improper installation. Aluminum edging is not meant to be ornamental or attractive; it is meant to separate flower beds and other landscape elements from the lawn.
To ensure that the aluminum edging is performing at its highest potential, bury almost the entire strip, leaving about half an inch above the ground. If it is left any higher, it will be damaged by mowers. Most aluminum edging products also do require stakes to be driven into the ground to further stabilize the aluminum. It is not susceptible to a lot of damage, besides damages from mowers if not installed properly. It can withstand damage from – or stand its ground – against trimmers, weed eaters, and foot traffic. Aluminum is not very expensive—definitely less expensive than most other metal edging options. Aluminum is a long-term edging solution and is very easy to work with and install, due to its light weight and pliability.