As is often the case in Britain, a lawn plays a fundamental part of the design and structure of our garden. The various shapes of lawn we have have developed over the years are designed to keep their maintenance to a minimum. For example we plan to extend the stone step across the lawn to make it much easier to mow along the edge of the yew hedge.However, there is no such thing as a maintenance free lawn. Through the year our lawns are cut (approximately once a week taking two hours to cut) and in addition scarified, aerated, fed and edged.As well as providing open spaces in a garden, lawns also provide a way of leading the eye into the garden. This is improved if the lawn edges are sharp and tidy.Our soil is a sandy loam which means that the edges of lawns were always disintegrating and crumbling away. Over the years some edges had moved up a foot from their original line. Last year we decided it was time to invest in metal edges. Metal edging is not cheap to do and our garden required 250 metres of edging. There are contractors that will provide bespoke edging usually using 4 millimeter thick steel plus a lot of on site welding. Curves again create extra difficulties. In my experience they are also very expensive.
We decided to do it ourselves and used a product called EverEdge They have a range of products which would be suitable for small lawns as well as larger lawns. The product we used was ProEdge which is 2.5mm thick and comes in 2.5m lengths. I feel that the longer length is a real asset as it makes getting smooth curves easier and straight lines straighter.The product arrives in packs of five lengths. Each length is designed to interlock to form a continuous edge. I have ended up using a variety of tools to install the edging. The ideal edge to the lawn will need to be defined and where this is not adjacent to the existing lawn I use wooden stakes as a guide. In theory EverEdge can be hammered into position using a mallet. However, any stone will make it impossible to hammer it home. I have found it best to use a spade and work along the edge down to the depth of the edging before the EverEdge is inserted. Any stones will be located and can be removed before inserting the EverEdge. (There is one such stone near the small hand fork) Once this is done EverEdge can be easily fitted. It is possible to bend EverEdge to form an an angle by hand although there will be a small radius on the corner. Unless you already have a perfect lawn there will be considerable work after fitting the EverEdge. This involves sorting out dips in the lawn and back filling gaps where the original lawn did not run true to the line. We have a number of walls adjacent to the lawn. We have always left a gap so that we could mow up to the walls. With the metal edge in place we have put down a weed membrane and gravel to give a very tidy finish. This photograph also demonstrates that with a little bit of persuasion 2.5m lengths of EverEdge can be made to give a continuous edge that changes level and and the same time goes round a corner!
Overall, once installed the metal edge has made the whole process of lawn edge maintenance much easier.
The one job in the garden that we have contacted out is feeding, moss killing, weed killing scarification and solid-tine aeration. We currently use a company called LawnMaster.
The solid-tine aeration leaves small holes across the whole lawn.
Basically there are four treatments a year with the fertilizers designed for each season and moss and weed killing where required.
So lawns are not a way of avoiding maintenance but they can be a great asset to the overall garden.