Spring has passed, and summer is well established by now. So may be the grass and weeds around your customers’ flower beds, patios, pool decks, trees and shrubs. These are ideal, and the most common, locations to install concrete landscape edging, according to the technicians at Border Magic. Other good places are along the sides of driveways and sidewalks. In the backyard, homeowners also turn tight and hard-to-mow areas along fence lines or fenced corners into landscape beds, so the technicians suggest any landscaped area is a good place for edging to retain landscape materials while also reducing maintenance.
Mark Crosswell with TYGAR Manufacturing in Ball Ground, Ga., says landscape edging works well around flower beds, landscape islands, tree rings and bordering entrances or porticos. “However, with such a wide variety of styles and shapes, curbing is now used in other hardscapes, such as lining driveways and patios, creating new walkways and non-walkways with a different patterned border for a 40-inch-wide path,” he says. Crosswell says other good places to install landscape edging are rain drains, for erosion control, small retaining walls, curb stops, playgrounds, golf course cart paths and around residential artificial greens.
How effective is concrete edging for keeping out grass and weeds? “Proper installation calls for concrete landscape edging to be placed below the root line of the sod,” says Les Sander, a national franchise representative for Border Magic. “This, coupled with an average 6 to 9 inches in width for most landscape edging sizes, helps to greatly reduce grass from creeping into landscaped areas and flower beds.”
Crosswell adds that properly installed curbing works well for keeping out weeds and grass from flower beds, and it also keeps bedding materials in the flower beds. “During the ground prep, the curbing installer we use is a sod cutter to remove a small lane of grass and clear the ground for the curbing,” he says. He notes that this is essential, because once the curbing is installed, grass and weed roots will not be able to penetrate or grow under the curb. “The clean border also makes edging much easier,” he says.
Traditionally, Crosswell says the height for decorative edging has been 4 inches with a 6-inch-wide by 4-inch-high angle mold or mower’s edge mold. “Both of these molds are still very popular, however, we’re finding that homeowners these days often want a bolder, larger curb shape, such as an 8-by-5 angle or 6-by-5 super angle,” he says. “Certain curb machines have the ability to run these larger molds, which is a major advantage for contractors who want to offer more variety.”
From his experience, Sander says the best height for landscape edging depends on how a homeowner wants the landscape edging to perform. If they want to minimize trimming, then Sander recommends a flatter edging style, so the mower deck will go over the edging. If the concern is about retaining mulch and stone, then a slanted style is the best choice.
When it comes to sidewalks and driveways, he says landscapers are wise to keep the edging flush with these surfaces in order to minimize trimming and avoid tripping hazards.
Concrete landscape edging keeps weeds and grass from overtaking flower beds.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BORDER MAGIC.
Weather conditions can put landscape edging at a disadvantage. “Proper drainage plays a key role in your flower beds surviving severe weather or excessive rainfall,” Sander says. “Properly installed landscape edging retains your landscape materials, which means it will also hold back water if you don’t have sufficient drainage in your landscape areas.” He advises landscapers to talk to their clients about keeping gutters and downspouts free of debris, attaching flexible drainage tile to downspouts, and burying the tiles so water runoff is redirected out into the yard, preferably where a grade can take it away from the home. For islands and flower beds away from the house, he suggests installing a drain inside the lowest part of the flower bed area and tile under the landscape edging and into a place in the yard where runoff can flow away from the home.
Crosswell notes that concrete landscape curbing performs well in regions with severe climates, because it is made to withstand changes in the weather. He adds, “We can also install drains in the curbing to assist with runoff and stop erosion, and our contractors can also install rain drains with curbing that matches and integrates with the edging.”
Lighting enhances the aesthetic value of most any landscape curbing project.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TYGAR MANUFACTURING
Keeping out grass and weeds are obvious benefits of concrete landscape edging. Primarily though, Sander says the benefits are keeping landscape materials, such as mulch, rock or soil, in place.
With the variety of styles and colors available, contractors can create concrete landscape edging that will complement any home or business.
Crosswell says, “Landscape curbing is completely customized to match the contours of the landscape, the architecture of the home and the taste of the homeowner.”
Sander says landscape edging should do more than simply create or mark the boundary between the lawn and flower beds, it should also minimize trimming.
“Many landscapers tend to forget this by creating tight, hard-to-mow spots, or what we call ‘mower traps,’ in various places throughout the landscape design,” Sander says. “Mower traps can be avoided while still offering smooth, free-flowing landscape design.”
An important part of the landscape curbing process is its design, “both in terms of achieving the customer’s goals and enhancing the existing landscape to the fullest,” Crosswell says.
Keep in mind, too, Sander says, that landscapers must complete sod removal or material excavation at the correct depth to match the type of concrete edging style and size they are installing.
“For a quality installation, it is important to gently follow the contours of the land,” he says. “It is equally important to place the freshly extruded concrete curbing up against the existing sod line to help maintain its position and keep it from being pushed out or away from any landscaping mulch, rock or soil.”
Sander adds that when landscapers run the extruded concrete landscape edging, they must maintain compaction during the process. They also must utilize quality concrete strengthening, he says, and add mixtures and sealers so they assure the curbing will last for many years to come.
In this economic environment, a customer may want to spend less on landscape edging. What should landscapers do to meet their customers’ expectations while still maintaining quality? Sander says companies offer many different landscape edging products and advertise those products as do-it-yourself (DIY) quality. While many products are, he advises landscapers to do their homework before buying and quoting prices of these so-called DIY-quality products to customers.
“In many cases, the homeowner would be surprised in how little they are actually paying for the landscaper to provide professional installation of quality landscaping products,” Sander says.
Crosswell says, “Once home-owners see the advantages of landscape curbing, they will typically always choose it over other edgings,” he says. “The initial cost of curbing might be higher, but the long-term benefits from reduced maintenance and effort will greatly offset the investment.”
He adds, “Though the economy has been difficult and rates have fallen in some areas, we have found that home improvement projects are still a high priority, especially when a product can totally change the appearance of the entire landscape.”
Based in Danville, Va., Rocky Womack has been writing for more than 25 years and is a contributing writer for numerous national and international publications.