Over the past two years, we have explored a few landscape edging options and have become proponents of the approach that “less is more!” First, we tried an easy-to-install, no-dig plastic edging. In general, we were pleased with the look, but over time this edging had a tendency to float where it wasn’t staked down and still allowed grass and weeds to creep underneath it. Second, we tried a limestone border using rock from a nearby construction site. We placed a temporary border next to the plastic edging last summer with plans of permanently installing this spring, but in the short time we had it we decided it wasn’t quite the look we were hoping for. So, on to round three with what we think is our best solution yet.
Tossing our first two attempts out the window, we really wanted to find a low-maintenance, low-cost solution that provided a clean look to our landscaping foundation. (And yes, we still need to plant some plants!) So, we turned to a simple, trenched border. It met all of our requirements: appearance, maintenance, ease-of-install, and cost.
1. Appearance: the edges can be cut to give a sharp edge to your landscaping, and the resulting ledge contains the mulch as well as any physical border that we’ve used.
2. Maintenance: the trenched border allows easier mowing, reducing the need for the constant trimming and weeding it took to maintain a clean look around our previous borders. You should be able to run the mower wheel along the inside of the trench, keeping the edge nice and tidy.
3. Ease-of-install: it is probably a little more work than the no-dig edging, but still fairly low on the effort scale, and you don’t have to hassle with getting the plastic edging to bend to the right shape for your border. The section that we did only took 2 hours. (And that included time digging up worms with Mya, bubble blowing, and snack breaks.)
Perhaps it was just the desperate need for some upkeep, but after our trial run with the rock border we really felt like a simple, clean edge would be a better look for our home. Taking away the rocks made the whole area seem less cluttered, so we were pleased with the change. Now we’re hoping our yews grow faster and start filling in our front landscaping.
Now this is where things were really calling for help! Our best excuse for how bad this looks is the marshy ground that keeps us from spending too much time on this side of the house (which we will tackle in a few weeks, hopefully with the same success we had on another area last fall). You’ll also notice that our attempt to save some transplanted trees last year failed miserably. I pulled one out a month or so ago and will likely put the other out of its misery soon. Anxious to purchase some new trees to replace them.
We’ve never had much luck keeping mulch in place around our downspouts. Once the water started the job, it seemed the wind would finish off the rest from the surrounding area. We needed to find a better way to get the water away from the house, so we put those rocks to use and designed a better channel to minimize erosion.
Here’s a closer look at the downspouts. We still need to add some sand between the rocks to keep water from washing out around them, but with some good rains already in the books the outcome is much improved.
Along with switching up our edging, we decided to cut out a lot of the landscape fabric that we had in place. It wasn’t really doing anything to keep the weeds away and ended up being more annoying than anything. A nice thick layer of mulch should do the job just as well. When you’ve got all hands on deck, you can make some amazing improvements in a short amount of time.
Mya was a trooper and had a good time digging with her new gardening tools and finding worms (i.e. her “frens” for the first 30 minutes, after which she decided they were slimy and “I don’t like them”).
And what good is a day of working in the yard without a tractor ride? Mya’s been itching to get out for a drive all winter, so she was excited to finally cruise around the yard.
We are excited to get our landscape back to a point that doesn’t make us cringe when we look at it. Now, we need to find some plants to spruce things up even more. Do you have any favorite foundation plants that you think would look good for our home?