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Metal edging is the little black dress of a garden: elegant, strong yet understated, tailored and timeless. Above: Metal edging is strong enough to stay rigid for installations where clean straight lines and geometric designs are desired.
Above: In Brooklyn, garden designer Julie Farris uses metal edging and river rocks to border the raised beds on her rooftop gardne.
Metal edging typically comes in long strips (from 8 to 10 feet) that have overlapping connections. Above: Installed low to the soil, metal edging can be mown over, eliminating the painstaking process of edging a lawn. More expensive than benderboard or plastic edging products, metal edging is still an economical option. TrenchThe basics: Trench edging consists of making a fairly shallow trench between the grass area and your landscape bed, creating a barrier for grass to grow over. SteelThe basics: Steel edging is a very common landscape option, but depending upon your choice of color, it can make very different statements.
ConcreteThe basics: Concrete edging is kind of like a refined curb to define your garden beds.

WoodThe basics: Using wood to edge a bed instantly adds a casual, organic and rustic feel to the garden. StoneThe basics: Mortared stone creates a very organic and rustic appearance, but depending upon the type of stone you use, it can also look very clean and sophisticated.
A long-time design secret of professional landscapers, metal has edged its way into the amateur home garden to offer a clean-cut and practical solution to keep plants and materials in place. Foras Studio used metal edging around planting beds and pathways in a geometric Brooklyn garden.
Untreated, it starts out silver in color and develops a desirable rust patina that blends in well with any garden.
I'm a landscape designer and freelance garden writer living in hot and humid Austin, Texas. It gives your landscape a very clean, finished look and works well in formal, contemporary or traditional gardens.
Many types of wood can be used, from treated posts to landscape timbers, and there is also a wide variety in quality of materials. Yes, it corrodes, but at such a slow rate that even in its thin form it takes something like 40 years to rust through.

Some metal edgings come with built-in anchors or slots for inserting metal stakes, which makes installation even easier.
Here's a rundown of some of the more popular edging materials, from less expensive to costlier. The unpainted steel will develop a rusty patina over time, as will a heavier-duty steel such as Cor-Ten. It's durable (lasting 12 years or more) and fairly easy to install, perfect for a homeowner's DIY project. Maintenance: Perform periodic inspections to make sure that the mortar used in your rock edging is not cracked or falling apart. This rusty color is aesthetic only, but it's important to remember that all steel edging, after a period of years, can begin to rust and decay on the edges. Some surface cracks are to be expected as the ground shifts, but major cracks that create crevices mean the edging is either old or in disrepair.

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