Friday 19 January 2018

Edging gives your lawn shape

By Andrew Collyer - Practical Gardening

Andrew Collyer.
Andrew Collyer.
Laburnum x watereri 'Vossii'

Cut back early flowering shrubs [Forsythia and Ribes etc]

Laburnum x watereri 'Vossii' [poisonous seeds, beautiful flowers]

No doubt by now your lawn is looking its pristine best again. Lush fine sward, a bowling green no less.

Well if your lawn suffered the same horrors of last year's wet winter as mine did, things may well not be back to that quality just yet. But here's a trick to make your lawn appear better than it is. Firstly keep any visitor inside so close inspection is not possible, moss can do a great grass impression from a distance at this time of year. Secondly get your edges looking sharp.

Lawn edges can be many things. A patio or paths edge, a brick or granite set mowing strip or just a classic grass edged border. What ever form of edging a lawn area has, perhaps a mixture of all those mentioned, keeping them clear, clean and sharp can elevate any lawn into the relems of respectability.

There are two main tools needed for lawn edging. A half moon edging iron and a pair of lawn edging shears. Strimmers can be used but if its quality you are after the old fashioned handtools are the best. A half moon edging iron is like a small curved spade with a straight blade. This is used for cutting new or reshaping existing grass edges adjacent to plant borders. It actually cuts into the grass and soil just behind the straggly grass edge creating a new sharp line. The straight blade allows you to create these clean lines, straight or sweeping, in a way that a regular spade will not. It is also very useful for running along a hard edge such as a patio stone where the grass is encroaching over it. It is used like a spade with the foot forcing it into the ground. Edging shears are like regular shears but are at the end of long pair of handles. The cutting blades are at right angles to these handles and are used in a scissor motion to cut. Edging shears allow you trim unruly and errant grass growth without bending, although it is necessary to get down to do a final clean up of the cut spoil.

If your grass has become a shapeless blob with no definition you could do a lot worse this year than to take this in hand and reclaim and redifine your lawn. Your first decision is shape, straight lines or curved. Staright lines can, and I stress can, look more contemporary and minimalist but circles can also give you a mordern look. If you want sweeping borders use long curves and not to many. A wavy in and out edge does nothing for your garden and ends up looking messy and complicated and actually makes your garden look smaller.

Once shape is decided how you edge is the next decision. A grass edge is the traditional look where a lawn meets planting border, the border being a few inches lower than the lawn where they meet. This is probably the hardest to keep. Over time a grass edge can wander and become misshapen if not managed regularly. You can get steel edges that control and contain your edges and they effectively become invisible once set at lawn level. They are however quite expensive. There are plastic alternatives but these tend to be quite weak and are only suitable for the smallest of lawn.

On straight edges or wide sweeping curves long treated timber boards 100mm x 20mm placed vertically into the soil and fixed to pegs with the 20mm showing at lawn level can work well. These long boards will actually bend quite considerably particularly if you insert some vertical cuts with a saw about an inch apart and for half the baords width [ 10mm] for a foot or two where you want a strong curve. These also effectively disappear visually once installed.

To make a more decorative statement a brick or stone mowing strip can be constructed. A mowing strip is a hard edge that is set just below your grass level that the mower wheel runs along. This stops your plants wandering onto your lawn and your lawn wandering into your borders. If installing a hard edge such as this that is set on cement be sure that the cement support is well covered with soil so you don't get dead dry grass along the edging during dry spells in the summer. Regular mowing over a mowing strip creates little additional works as the mower tends to pick up the straggling grass edges as it goes.

Wexford People

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