Exterior Curb Appeal

How To: Install Landscape Edging to Boost Your Curb Appeal

With today’s crop of attractive and DIY-friendly landscape edging, adding a decorative border to your landscape or separating beds and paths has never been easier.
Colourful Zinnia flowers at the garden.Beautiful Floral Background

Photo: istockphoto.com

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The Best Way to Install Landscape Edging

An easy, impactful way to refresh a tired planting bed or path is to install new landscape edging. These decorative borders come in a range of prices and a wide variety of styles: DIYers can choose from materials such as metal, plastic, wood, wood composite, natural stone, and pavers. With an assortment of edging materials on the market, plenty of options can match the function and style to suit your landscape.

Landscape edging can help visually define your planting beds and keep grass and mulch in their respective places. Using it as a border for beds or grassy areas provides a clean visual line and makes it easier to trim grass and plants. With edging, you can add curves or straight lines for focal points and to complement plant design. Plus, installing landscape edging is an easy DIY project, requiring minimal materials and skill.

Tools & Materials

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STEP 1: Choose an edging material that is both practical and complements the landscape.

Landscape edging serves both practical and decorative functions. Before prepping an area, it helps to know what edging material and design will work best for your project. If you need help deciding, check out these landscape border ideas.

You also can tap into your ingenuity and create or repurpose materials to border or edge a landscape element. Here are tips on making concrete garden edging. Got lots of bottles, fence posts, or bricks lying around? They might work as edging; learn more here. Before prepping the space, be sure to measure how far your materials can stretch and how much space you need to install your DIY landscape edging.

Related: How To: Make Concrete Garden Edging

STEP 2: Prepare the area before installing landscape edging. 

Mark out the perimeter of the area where you want your landscape edging to go, using a garden hose—it’s flexible and easy to adjust while you’re visualizing the edge of your planting bed or path. Once you’re happy with the layout, trace along the edge of the hose with spray paint. Or mark your border and then build forms to pour the entire length of concrete edging, curves and all.

Before making your “permanent” mark with spray paint, decide which side of the edge you are marking so that when you go to install the edging materials, you line up the correct side. This avoids miscalculations and accidentally infringing on a garden bed or path because 3 inches of edging material now sits on the wrong side of the mark!

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Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 3: Dig a trench, and fill the bottom with sand.

The best way to install landscape edging varies based on the material, use, and location in the landscape. For example, if you use edging to form a path, think about how high the edging should be to hold your path filler (such as gravel or pavers) without creating a tripping hazard.

For most edging materials, dig a trench about 4 to 6 inches wide and 3 to 4 inches deep along your spray-painted line, or a few inches deeper and wider than your material. It is important to dig down enough for the bottom of the edging to sit slightly below the ground for a more natural look and a solid set. For edging to stop grass from spreading into beds, dig your trench to just below the grass root line.

When using pavers, bricks, and similar materials, fill the bottom of the trench with a 1-inch bed of sand, and pack it smooth and level. Remove as much gravel or other debris as possible to help keep a level edge and save time during install.

Related: Edge Your Beds: 12 Easy Ideas for Landscape Borders

STEP 4: Set edging in place.

Place your edgers snugly next to one another in the trench. Make sure you start at the most visible end or corner of the space, so that if a final edger piece needs to be cut to fit, it will sit in the least noticeable area of your yard. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for cutting the edging if necessary. Most pavers and bricks can be separated into smaller chunks with a small chisel.

Tap the edgers evenly into place carefully with a hammer or rubber mallet. It helps to pull out a small level and check each section of edging as you go. Level pavers and bricks from front to back and side to side; then quickly check each new paver’s level with the piece next to it.

Gently push some sand or soil from the trench (scrape it with a hand trowel and use the handle side to push dirt against or under the edging) to raise the low edge. Or hammer a high spot down. Keeping the edging fairly level as you go can help avoid a reinstallation.

installing plastic lawn edging in the garden
Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 5: Finish the job, and admire your tidy garden beds.

Some edging material might need sand or other light dirt to fill the cracks between pieces. Gently brush the sand into the cracks with an old paintbrush or soft hand broom. Fill the empty spaces in the trench with soil or some other stabilizing material like mulch or gravel.

Now stand back and admire your work! Installing decorative stone, cement, or paver edging around your planting beds will not only keep your grass and mulch in place, but it’ll give your beds a standout, tidy look. This little bit of sweat equity rewards you with instant curb appeal.

Related: The Best Lawn Edgers for Yard Care

FAQs About Installing Landscape Edging

Installing landscape edging is an easy DIY project that can add plenty of appeal and order to a landscape. Still have questions? See below for more information.

Q. How do you lay landscape edging blocks?

The best way to install landscape edging bricks, blocks, and pavers is to follow the steps above. Some pavers have a longer front and shorter back. This might require turning every other block over to match the side edges, so be sure to get two-sided pavers that are the same on the top and bottom. Interlocking pavers have a lip on the bottom to help hold stacked pieces in place; unless you plan to make an edge of more than one row, avoid interlocking blocks.

Q. Is landscape edging necessary?

In some cases, yes. If you want to keep grass from spreading into a flower bed, use a trench deeper than the grass roots or edging to separate the landscape elements. If you add a gravel or crushed rock path, edging keeps the rocks from mingling with nearby soil or mulch. In short, separating elements with edging gives your landscape a more orderly, professional look, can add a design element, and might even boost a home’s value.

Q. How do you dig a trench for landscape edging?

Depending on the length you need to edge and the type of ground, you can use a hand trowel, hoe, or shovel to dig your trench. While digging, follow the spray paint line consistently. If you start out digging from the line back toward the garden bed, for example, and later switch to digging equally on both sides of the line, you might throw off your landscape edging placement.

woman install plastic lawn edging around the tree in garden
Photo: istockphoto.com

Final Thoughts

Once you understand the ins and outs of installing landscape edging, it is not difficult to tackle this project in a single weekend. With the right tools, a little prep, and just the right edging material, DIYers can add order and design elements to their yards with simple borders and edging.