There’s nothing like the feeling when you are sitting out in a lawn chair on a summer’s eve gazing over your garden. It brings a sigh of satisfaction to know all your hard work is soon to pay off. Then, you notice the garden edging is crooked, pieces are missing, or broken. The last thing you want is a disheveled look. Besides that, lawn edging helps prevent weeds from sneaking across from your lawn into the garden. It’s time to replace the garden edging, but where do you start?
How to Prepare the Trench for Garden Edging
- Walk through and inspect all the edging. Decide if you want to replace all of it, or just damaged sections.
- Pull out the old edging material to allow room for installing new edging.
- Use a garden hose to outline the edging line. This allows you to create smooth, flowing lines with the edging. Make sure to allow more space where there are curves. This helps relieve strain on the edging that will be placed in the curves.
- After you have the garden hose exactly where you want the edging to be placed, use landscaping spray paint to mark the course.
- Use an edger to dig the trench. Make it about 6-inches deep all along the line.
- Remove all the dirt and grass to form the trench.
- Use pre- and post-emergent herbicides to ensure the trench is free from any vegetation. This also helps prevent weed seeds from germinating. This simple treatment will keep weeds out of the edging area so it will look neater.
- Add a layer of mulch to the garden, flower, or plant beds. This needs to be between two and three inches deep and leads right up to the edge of the trench.
Once you have the trench prepared, you are ready to start installing your new edging.
How to Install Brick, Stone, or Paver Edging
There are different types of materials used for landscape edging. It’s important for you to get the aesthetic effect you are looking for. So, the directions for installing edging are a bit different based on the type of edging material you are using. After choosing high quality edging, follow the appropriate steps for installing it.
Let’s start with paver, stone, and brick edging.
- Fill the prepared trench with two to three inches of crushed rock or gravel. It needs to be packed firmly. The gravel creates a sturdy base that drains easily. This step prevents edging materials from sinking. If you are only replacing certain areas of your edging, just add gravel to those areas and don’t disturb other edging material. You only need gravel in the areas you are replacing.
- Spread sand over the gravel. It only needs to be one inch deep. Make sure it is level. Sand creates a soft bed for the edging and helps keep it from shifting.
- Lay your edging pieces side-by-side in the prepared trench.
- Use clean soil to bury about half of the pavers. Then pack the soil firmly using a tamper or your foot. This secures them so they cannot move around.
But what if you are installing plastic or polyvinyl edging?
- If you are using plastic edging material, lay the pieces in the sun to warm and soften them. This makes them pliable and easy to bend. If it is not softened, it’s not only difficult to bend, but it will try to shift and push the soil until it returns to its natural, straight shape. That’ll mess up your edging and your attitude!
- Place the plastic edging in the prepared trench. Push it against the edge of the turf to help hold the edging upright.
- Bend the edging carefully to fit in any curves in your design. Try bending it before placing it in the trench. This makes it a bit easier to install.
- Use metal stakes to anchor the plastic edging. Drive them into the soil about four feet apart. Where two pieces of edging connect, it needs stakes on both sides of the edging to keep the pieces from separating. Stakes need to be between six and 10 inches long. Don’t try to cut corners by skipping this step. Without the stakes, the pieces of edging will separate or heave, especially if you live in a region that is frost-prone or an area that has soft, wet soil.
- To connect two pieces of plastic edging, use a razor knife to cut the edging. You need a two- to three-inch section from the top of the edging ball. Then, slightly overlap the two pieces and use a 1-inch galvanized screw to connect and secure the pieces.
- Once the edging is in place, start filling the trench with clean topsoil. One side of the edging is pressing against the edge of the lawn. So, you will only need to put soil on the other side of the edging. Pack the soil tightly to prevent the edging from shifting as the soil settles.
- Add mulch on the garden or flower beds side of the edging. If needed, place new sod on the lawn side.
When you are reinstalling or replacing garden edging, you want it to look tidy and neat. Following these steps will help ensure your edging looks great for the long haul. Skipping steps may leave you disappointed. But if you follow these step-by-step instructions, you’ll find the job a lot easier to do and you’re going to love the outcome.