If you’re trying to improve the look of your garden, start at the edge.

Not a bloom in sight, but the edges are looking nice.

The back yard looks pretty grim at this time of year. The lawn looks terrible. Everything seems to be either gray or brown. Still, I love looking down at it all from the second-floor window. Why? The fresh-cut edges on all the beds are so crisp.

Some might say that I’m a little bit obsessive about bed edges. I enjoy cutting the thin strips of sod once the frost has left the ground. The smooth curves add a little grace when the landscape is monochromatic and bedraggled. Of course I could put in some permanent edging; I’ve done that in the front yard. But, I’d miss the chore and all the fussing. Besides, there’s not much else to do this early on.

In my work as a landscaper, I always pay special attention to the edge zone. Whether it’s cut sod, plastic edging, brick or stone, a clean edge makes almost any garden look better. Just neaten it up, get the weeds out and the whole garden is transformed.

As you look at your garden’s edges, here are some things to consider:

  • Cutting the edge with a flat-bladed shovel is pretty easy, once you develop a technique. However, you’ll probably have to cut the edge two or three times a season if you want to keep it neat.
  • Plastic edging or rubber mulch is more permanent. You can leave it in all year, although you might have to reposition it in the spring. The same is true for metal edging, which is expensive, but you only need to put it in once.
  • Stones or bricks are fairly permanent, too. However, I find that they tend to sink a bit after a few years. Not a problem: Just pull them up and reposition them for a fresh look. It makes a big difference.
  • When selecting something to edge a bed that’s near the path of a snowplow or snowblower, choose something that can sustain the damage. The bed along our front walk is lined with tumbled concrete pavers, which can usually withstand a ding from the plow blade.

David Grist, Online Content Coordinator, Gardener’s Supply
Pound-In Edging 5.5-in Edge Border Edging material for straight or curved installations
Pound-In Edging 4.5-in. Edge Border Easy Curve Edging