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Metal vs Plastic Lawn Edging

Landscaped gardens look beautiful, and the reason they look so stunning is that they are perfectly trimmed and neat. All properly landscaped gardens will have edging to separate flowerbeds and planted areas from the rest of the space. Edging provides that clean-cut, clearly defined look that is synonymous with manicured gardens, but there’s more to it than that. 

Whilst edging is secondary to the flowers, shrubbery and plant life within its confines, it plays an important role and therefore the type of edging that is chosen needs to be carefully thought out. Not only does it need to match the aesthetic of the space, but it also needs to be practical for the environment it’s going into. 

Plastic and metal lawn edging are the most popular types of garden borders, but how do you choose between them? If you’ve recently had a beautiful artificial lawn laid by our team, or if you’re due to get yours installed and are beginning to think about the finer details such as edging, we’ve put together this guide to help you determine whether you need plastic or metal. 

Plastic Edging

There are several reasons why a person might choose plastic garden edging, although typically we stick to metal edging only. Its main draws are that it is: 

  • The most affordable option
  • Straightforward to install
  • Not destructive or invasive to the existing surface
  • Available in many different colours and ornamental designs

Whilst these are appealing benefits, there are some drawbacks to plastic border edging. Here are some of the main things you need to be aware of before investing:

  • Not as strong as other types of edging
  • May need to be replaced more frequently
  • Isn’t as suitable for hard ground
  • Can become brittle in the sun depending on UV stability

For those on a budget or with soft ground in shaded areas, plastic edging can be a great option, but it’s not suitable for everyone. In some instances, metal garden edging is the best solution. 

Metal Edging

Where plastic edging isn’t suitable, you might be considering metal garden border edging. Some of the benefits you get with metal edging include:

  • Very durable and resistant to most adverse weather conditions
  • Easy to install
  • Creates a clear, deep barrier between lawn areas
  • Lots of metals, styles and designs to choose from

For all its benefits, metal grass edging does have a handful of cons that you will need to be aware of. They include:

  • One of the most expensive types of edging to buy
  • Can rust which looks unsightly
  • Powder-coated metals can flake
  • Can be painful to fall on which can make it not the best option for younger children

Despite its drawbacks, metal edging is the perfect solution for most types of gardens because it’s hard-wearing and long-lasting, making it a viable long-term solution. For most people who have spent time, effort and money into landscaping their gardens, they’ll likely want the fruits of their labour to last well into the future. 

How to Install Edging

There are numerous ways you can install garden edging depending on the product being used. There will be minor differences between installing plastic and metal edging, but the following overview will provide you with a general idea.

  1. Measure the section you want to install edging on. If it’s a curved section, it’s easier to use rope and then measure the length of the rope afterwards. Make sure to take into account that some products overlap, so check the instructions for each product to make sure you don’t end with short on edgings.
  2. If you’re using plastic edging, it’s a good idea to unroll it the day before you intend to install the edging. This will eliminate any curls or curves in the plastic.
  3. Dig a trench for the edging. The trench will need to be slightly wider than the edging is and deep enough that the edging sits flush with the ground (unless you have ornamental edging which will protrude the ground).
  4. Insert the edging into the trench. You might need to cut holes within the edging to account for large roots. Once inserted, connect the edging and make it level.
  5. Fill in the gaps in the trench ensuring the soil is compacted. You can further fasten the edgings with concrete or another aggregate if it needs to be more durable.
  6. Insert stakes every 1.5m to ensure the edging doesn’t migrate over time as the soil moves.

If you want a flat finish, make sure the edging is completely flush with the lawn so that your lawnmower won’t get stuck on it in the case of a real lawn. We actually use a metal edging system which has spikes built into each individual edging sheet to allow it to sink into the ground without additional stakes.

Artificial Lawn Edging

Natural lawn or fake grass edging is a fantastic way to finish off your garden and give it a perfectly manicured look.

Installing edging on artificial grass is a slightly different process because the lawn will need to be cut and joined. Our team can install edging at the same as your artificial lawn for the most professional and tidy finish. Read our complete guide to artificial grass edging to find out more about the process, or contact us.

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