How to Install Lawn Edgings

Edgings help give your lawn a very finished and manicured look. They help prevent grass from migrating onto any sidewalks, gravel, or mulched areas along the edges of your lawn. They also help keep ground covers like ivy from migrating onto your lawn. Finally, they help provide clean, clear edges for your mower or trimmer to keep the grass cut neat and trim.

Edgings can be made of wood, brick, concrete, or plastic. All are good, and all need to be installed in different ways. They should be installed after preparing the soil but before putting in permanent irrigation.

  • Wood: The best woods to use for edgings are redwood and cedar because they don’t rot. Pressure-treated lumber is most rot-resistant. You can also paint wood preservative onto untreated wood.

    Basically, you build a little underground fence with lumber. Measure the distances you want to edge with wood. Buy enough 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 lumber to cover that distance. Also, buy enough 12-inch-long wooden stakes at a width of 1 x 2, 2 x 2 or 1 x 3 to set stakes four feet apart. For example, if you want to build an edging 12 feet long, you need four stakes — one for each end and two at four-foot intervals.

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    Dig a trench deep enough for the top edge of the wood to rest at ground level. Place the lengths in the trench and pound the stakes in at the correct distances, leaving the stakes slightly higher than the lengths of wood. Be sure to drive the stakes in on the outside of the lawn area so that the board length faces to the lawn. Nail the boards to the stakes. Saw off the top edge of the stakes at a 45-degree angle so that the stake is slightly below the top of the board.

    Refill the trench and cover the stakes with soil. Tamp, or compress, it all down and move on to your next chore. If you want to create curves with your wooden edging, you have to use pliable bender board at the curves. Drive the stakes in at the appropriate lengths just as you did with the regular boards. Soak the bender boards in water and gently bend them to conform to the stakes and the curve. Nail them to the stakes, cut the stakes off at a 45-degree angle, and cover with soil as before.

  • Brick: A brick edging is fairly easy. Dig a trench slightly wider and as long as the edging you need to install. Place the bricks in the trench so that they are at or slightly above ground level. Arrange the bricks on end (on their edges) or stagger them in a sawtooth effect. Use a carpenter’s bubble level to make sure that they’re properly aligned and level. Replace the dirt and tamp it all in. Good firm tamping helps keep these bricks in place.

  • Concrete: This is probably the most difficult edging to install. First, dig a trench wider and deeper than you want the concrete edging to be. Next, build a temporary form to hold the wet concrete out of ordinary 2 x 4 lumber and wooden stakes. Line the bottom of the trench with gravel and rake it smooth. Make the concrete according to package instructions and pour it into the trench. Level the wet concrete and smooth it out with a screed and a trowel. Allow the concrete to cure or harden for three days. Remove the wooden forms and fill the remaining trench with soil.

  • Plastic: Hard, durable, plastic edging may just be the easiest edging to install. Even though it is hard, plastic is still pliable, so you can bend it to form curved edging with very little trouble. You also can cut it with a saw to make sharper corners or just to cut it to the proper length. Many plastic edgings are beveled on the soil bound edge, so you can simply pound the edges into your lawn using a wooden mallet.

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