Calgary Herald

There’s more than one way to give your lawn a winning edge


Even with the move to xeriscapin­g and yard smart gardening, the lawn still plays an important role in the design and enjoyment of our gardens.

When using lawns as paths and islands within the landscape, the transition between the lawn and the garden bed becomes an important design element in itself.

During my open garden, I received almost as many questions about the edging as I did on the garden itself. Meadow Edge The meadow edge is the easiest and most casual. Likely the earliest form of edging, the lawn is simply a mowed area within the meadow. The edges of the lawn are left untouched and merge with the surroundin­g meadow.

This approach is most suitable for cottages where there is room for a meadow buffer between the lawn and any shrubs and trees.

This approach is not ideal with perennial, annual and vegetable beds. In a meadow setting, these are best incorporat­ed as island beds, using either soft or hardscape edges.

Anyone who has struggled with removing grass from their treasured perennials can attest that a bit of maintenanc­e goes a long way to avoiding grief. Soft Edge I prefer this technique. It creates a formal feel and allows flexibilit­y to reshape the lawn as the garden evolves.

Use a traditiona­l half-moon edger. A straight edge or a garden hose can be used as a guide.

By ‘walking’ the edger, cut in a rocking pattern working from the previous cut. This will create a smooth edge.

Use a spade to remove the trimmed lawn and soil. Create a trench of at least four inches.

Deeper edges will readily dry out in Calgary.

Safety must also be considered when using deep edges. Deep edges should not be used on boulevards, near walkways or areas where they are likely to pose a hazard.

During gardening season, a crisp edge on a lawn can be maintained by making two passes with a lawn trimmer. The first pass is made horizontal to the lawn and a second pass is made vertical to trim any overhangin­g grass.

Soft edging is part of ongoing garden maintenanc­e. I rotate through my yard, doing one bed or area at a time to keep the task manageable. A two-year rotation keeps the edges looking sharp.

For those who like the idea of a soft edge but prefer not to have a trench, a level surface can be created simply by filling the trench with mulch.

Another considerat­ion is erosion. Monitor trenches that run down slopes. If erosion is expected or observed, add a barrier to the trench, such as a soil berm or a rock barrier, to direct the runoff back into the garden beds. Hardscape Edge The idea is to create a physical barrier to contain the lawn. The most common hardscape edges are concrete sidewalks or drive- ways. Almost any material can be used for a hardscape edge, from wood and bricks to European metal edges that are now becoming available.

A hardscape edge provides a more permanent boundary for the lawn and beds.

A hardscape edge will reduce maintenanc­e but not eliminate it. Thatch and soil will build up over time at the hardscape edge, allowing the lawn to creep over the top. Grass can also grow through any open joints in the edging.

This can be addressed with occasional clean up using a halfmoon edger.

The depth and width of the hardscape edge is an important considerat­ion. Edging that is too shallow or narrow will allow the lawn to spread below the barrier into beds.

Hardscape edging may also require occasional reposition­ing.

 ?? Calgary Herald/Files ?? A weedwacker is a handy tool for giving the edges of your lawn the look you want.
Calgary Herald/Files A weedwacker is a handy tool for giving the edges of your lawn the look you want.

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