When Jack asked me to write about edging, the first thing I thought of was the question: “Does lawn edging serve a practical purpose or is it strictly for vanities sake?”
Honestly, it’s always struck me a a little bit of overkill when it comes to lawn care. More of a “want” than a “need”.
Now, don’t get me wrong here; frivolity’s fine. Heck, sometimes when I’m organizing my sock drawer by texture and thread count, I’ll start with the black tube socks instead of the white ones! See? I like fun.
But I’m a pretty practical guy. Plus, I’m ridiculously lazy…and fat.
So before I commit to a task, I like to know that there’s an actual ‘need’ for it.
I have a need… a need for need.
So I researched this one kids. I really did.
I read a lot of information about edging, how to do it…how to do it better. I looked at landscaping sources, equipment, services, merchants sales pitches and homeowner opinions. And the videos? Dear God, the videos!
OH! And whatever you do, do not Google “The purpose of edging”. There is some weird stuff out there folks. Weird and scary stuff. Stuff you can’t un-see. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So, is there a purpose to edging? Well, it turns out there “can be”. And when it was all said and done, what I found pretty much boiled down to two reasons: property maintenance and aesthetics.
When it comes to property resale, curb appeal is a huge part of it. Commercial locations compete not only in sales and production, but in branding and nothing says “this is a good place to dump your cash” than a nice, clean, attractive image. There’s a reason why you don’t buy a hamburger out of the back of some guy’s Mercury. It just don’t look right.
And of course for places like parks and golf courses, unkempt grounds can actually interfere with the purpose of the location. So yes, in a free enterprise system, aesthetics can actually have an effect on the bottom line.
And I suppose one could always argue the complications of encroaching growth and the effect that it has on structural integrity. Root systems unsettling your sidewalk or patio. Seems like a long term issue, then there’s run off and soil erosion. Cross contamination between plant species, beavers, zombies, the tally-ban. We can go on but…
For the home owner…unless you live in a restricted covenant community where you’re fined for painting your mailbox, edging is probably going to be a matter of preference.
PRETTY IS AS PRETTY DOES
Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with nice looking property. We at Lawnmowerpros.com count on the idea that lawns should look nice.
And I’ll admit; a nicely manicured lawn appeals to my inherent need for order: a place for everything and everything in its place. That’s why I number M&M’s before I eat em. Otherwise…well, who knows what happens once you go down that rabbit hole!
So, when you break out the edger you get clean lines, less chaos. Kind of turns your lawn into a coloring book. Just keep it inside the lines and everything will be all right.
Plus it clearly says “Look at this freaking lawn, Man! JUST LOOK AT IT!! Look at how neat and clean and well maintained it is. The guy who maintains this patch of dirt is probably one swell guy. Really has his stuff together. “
Insecurity. Ain’t it something?
And it’s not just me. We find it in nature as well. Look at the bowerbird! Those things build homes that are stylish, impressive and well constructed. Like Donald Trump, except the Bowerbird doesn’t hate Mexicans and they’re not stark raving insane.
Of course, keeping the lawn from swallowing up your sidewalk can keep the city off your back. I have a friend that found that out the hard way.
Plus, when done right and in the right place, edging can help to reduce soil erosion and can assist with channeling water run off.
Landscapers say it makes lawn care easier. Maintaining neutral space (that’s space nothing grows) between garden areas, flower beds, etc; can reduce the amount of work to maintain them.
Another way that edging can help is to reduce spillage from mulched areas. Less debris, less hazard when it comes time to whip out the old trimmer.
It can help to prevent weeds from spreading. Heck, it can help to keep anything from spreading if you stick a metal barrier in front of it.
This is where I first heard the phrase “Air space” in a lawn care context. Turns out plants can’t grow in the air. So, you lay down a nice edge around the flower bed,. with the surface of the bed about an inch to two lower than the lawn, and no more encroaching growth.
So, the question here is really “Is edging necessary?”
There are benefits, sure. But you’ll have to decide that for yourself.
For me… meh.
Next time, we’ll talk about where to edge and how to pull it off.