Installing a solid barrier that demarcates the border between your flowerbeds and other parts of your garden, is never a bad idea. Not only does the edging make the garden more orderly and more beautiful, but it also prevents grass and weeds from spreading from your lawn into your flowerbeds and swamping your beautiful, delicate flowers in an untidy mass of green.
However, edging comes in many different forms and can be made from many different materials, some of which are more suitable for flowerbed edging than others. If you are having your garden landscaped and wish to have edging installed around your flowerbeds, you should familiarise yourself with the materials you can choose from, and the various pros and cons of each.
Concrete edging can be made from individual concrete bricks or slabs, or poured in liquid form to create a continuous, unbroken barrier around your flowerbed. Whichever option you choose, the finished article has all the durability and longevity you would expect from any concrete structure. If you choose the brick/slab option, you will have a wide variety of colours and shades of concrete to choose from.
However, while concrete brick or slab edging is reasonably inexpensive, it will be more expensive if you have them mortared together to prevent errant plants spreading through the gaps. Poured concrete edging will be a significant investment. The sheer weight of concrete may also cause your edging to sink over time if the soil in your area is soft, causing it to crack.
Brick edging provides a similar level of durability as concrete edging but tends to be somewhat lighter and less liable to sinking. Although classic red house bricks are a popular choice for edging projects, many other designs and colours of bricks are available. Bricks also tend to be cheaper to purchase than decorative concrete, especially if you choose the environmentally friendly option and opt for reclaimed bricks.
Unfortunately, brick edging will still be too heavy to avoid sinking in particularly soft, moist soils, and while bricks are cheaper to buy, having them professionally installed by a landscape bricklayer will ramp up the cost.
Natural stone edging
Natural stone edging is made from pieces of whole, unprocessed stone such as slate or granite, and will give your flowerbeds an unassuming, natural look that requires very little maintenance. As you can imagine, these stones can stand up to all manner of foul weather without crumbling, and they can be installed relatively quickly and easily.
However, the irregular nature of natural stones means that some gaps will invariably remain in your edging, and particularly aggressive grasses and weeds may spread through these gaps into your flowerbed. Natural stone edging can also be cripplingly expensive
An ideal choice for flowerbeds situated in modern, contemporary-style gardens, steel edging is extremely durable and has a slim, unobtrusive silhouette. Splayed 'feet' fitted to the base of the steel will prevent it from sinking or shifting, and the edging can be easily installed around all but the most irregularly-shaped flowerbeds in a matter of hours.
Steel edging is almost always coated with a durable outer coating designed to prevent rust. However, this coating is not invulnerable, and when it fails the edging will either have to be re-coated or allowed to rust. Steel can also be an expensive option and must be installed professionally for the best results.
Plastic is generally the cheapest option when it comes to edging materials, and can be very useful if you have a particularly large flower bed that needs edging. While lower-grade plastic edging can degrade quickly, well-made edging can be much more durable and will require very little maintenance. Its light weight will also prevent it from sinking or shifting.
Plastic edging is rarely seen in modern gardens, however, as the stigma of plastic looking 'cheap' is difficult to escape. If you are installing edging for purely functional rather than aesthetic value, masking it with thick greenery such as shrubs will make it less of an eyesore.
For more information, contact your local landscaping supplies shop.