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Flower Beds and Your Yard
by Janet Grischy
Yard edging comes in so many varieties that you can choose edgings to match the style of your home, garden or even a particular type of flower. You might decide to edge a bright bed of pansies with a scalloped edging or complement an English garden with quaint flagstone edging to add old-fashioned romance. Either way, yard edgings help you keep your garden in order and can add a subtle accent that makes your garden a reflection of your personality.
Installing flower bed borders
When you install flower borders beside your lawn, you need to use a deep edging to keep the grass roots out of the flower bed. Grass in a flower bed takes time to root out. It detracts from your display and steals water and nutrition from your flowers.
A flexible edging of metal or plastic will let you put in a nearly invisible barrier that gives you an easy-to-maintain edge without distracting from your flowers or lawn. Some people dig a trench to conceal their edging, and that does work, although it takes time.
To install edging the easy way, first measure the line you want your edging to follow. Buy that amount of edging. Then, prepare the soil for your plantings because it can be a mess to prepare afterward. Place the edging and pound in slowly, so the top is a 1/2 inch above the soil. When it is all in place, push soil up to the edging and fill any holes. Water slowly, and again push soil up to the edging—the water will cause the soil to settle. Now place your plants or bright annuals, and you’ll get a clean transition from lawn to bordering flower beds.
Edging for mulch
If you plan to use a substantial layer of mulch in a bed, though, you’ll want a higher edging to contain it. One way is with raised beds. They give you control over soil conditions, and you can add mulch on top to save watering and weeding. This works well for many vegetables and for perennials.
If you want a bed the same level as your lawn or path or only slightly higher, you need an edging just a few inches high, perhaps with an earthy look that blends with your mulch. Messy mulch is an eyesore, so best to keep it in bounds.
Flower beds add new life and color to your garden throughout the year. They take work, but can provide an ever-changing show that will make you glad you became a gardener.