6 Types of Edging System for Artificial Grass
An important aspect of any artificial grass installation is to put in a suitable edging system.
An edging system serves two main purposes.
The first is to act as a restraint for the aggregates used in the groundworks.
For a typical fake grass installation, you’ll need to excavate your existing lawn and install a sub-base consisting of a minimum of 50mm of MOT Type 1.
On top of the sub-base, a laying course of granite limestone dust is then levelled and compressed.
In order for the installation to be successful, you’ll need to ensure that the aggregates you put underneath your artificial grass are retained on every side to prevent any subsidence of the sub-base or laying course.
This is achieved by installing a suitable edge restraint.
The second reason to install an edging system is to provide you with an anchoring point for the perimeter of your artificial turf.
It will need to be secured at the edges to prevent it from being lifted.
Your artificial grass can be secured in a variety of ways and it really depends on the type of edging that you have chosen to install as to which method would be best.
When it comes to choosing your edging, you have lots of options.
In this article we’re going to be looking at the different options in detail to help you decide which edging system would be best for your application and budget.
You’ll see that there is no one-size-fits-all and there are pros and cons to every type of edging, as described below.
1. Pressure-Treated Timber Edging
Timber is probably the most commonly used edging system when installing artificial grass.
One of the main reasons for this is that it’s just about the most cost-effective form of edging we’ll be looking at in this article.
You’ll also find that it’s quick and easy to install, as it can be cut to the length required with minimal fuss.
The best way to secure it to the ground is to drive timber stakes into the earth and then fix the edging to them with a decking screw.
Timber edging provides a perfect surface to secure the perimeter, which is best done with galvanised nails spaced at around 100mm apart.
You can even tuck the edges of your artificial turf around the timber, to create a stronger edge.
The size of timber you use depends upon how deep your sub-base and laying course will be, and what’s available in your local area. If you are installing 50mm sub-base and a 25mm laying course, then your best option would be to use 75mm x 50mm (3” x 2”) timber.
If your aggregates will be a little deeper, for instance for a heavy use area that may require your sub-base to be 75mm deep with a 25mm laying course, then in this instance, use a 100mm x 50mm (4” x 2”) timber.
Of course, the most important thing to remember when buying timber edging is to ensure that it has been pressure-treated to ensure its longevity, as it’s going to be sitting in the ground and therefore exposed to moisture.
This is the main downside to using timber. Unfortunately, it will eventually rot.
How quickly this happens depends on various factors, including the quality of the timber and how much moisture it is exposed to.
However, in most instances, a 10-year lifespan is to be expected.
If the timber does rot, it would be a reasonably straightforward process to replace it with new timber edging as and when required.
2. Composite Plastic Edging
Composite plastic lumber has many of the same benefits as standard timber.
Again, it’s quick and easy to install, and is secured into position using stakes driven into the earth, which are also made from composite plastic.
The major advantage that plastic edging has over timber edging is that it won’t rot. Most plastic timber will last a lifetime and the majority of manufacturers offer 25-year guarantees against rotting. Of course, always check with your chosen supplier for specific details on this.
You may also need to obtain specialist fixings when securing the perimeter of your artificial lawn, and again, your chosen supplier will be able to advise you on this.
The downside to plastic edging, however, is the cost. It’s normally around 3-4 times the price of treated timber.
You can purchase plastic edging for your artificial lawn here.
3. Pressure-Treated Sleepers
Our next type of edging is sleepers.
Sleepers can provide a suitable edge restraint for the sub-base material, as well as providing an anchoring point for the perimeter of the fake turf.
You can secure the perimeter by fixing decking screws or galvanised nails into the sleepers at a 45-degree angle.
Sleepers can be secured in the ground by either laying them on a bed of concrete or fixing them to posts.
Not only do sleepers provide a fantastic edge restraint for artificial grass, they also add an interesting feature to any garden.
Sleepers are ideal for creating raised beds; they can be stacked on top of one another to create a variety of heights and planted with attractive plants and shrubs to complement your lawn.
The vast majority of sleepers are, of course, pressure treated to protect them against the elements, but it’s important to remember to treat the ends of the sleepers, should any cut edges be exposed.
You’ll be able to find end grain preservative at your local DIY store.
4. Steel Edging
The main advantage of steel edging over timber edging is the increased lifespan.
Steel edging systems are also quick and easy to install and can be shaped to form curves, as necessary.
The downside to steel edging, however, is the cost. Steel edging is normally somewhere around the same price as composite plastic, making it far more expensive than using timber.
Some types of steel edging come complete with tabs that you can add dabs of Aquabond adhesive to, enabling you to easily fix the grass to them.
However, in practice this can sometimes be a little messy and, of course, you only get one chance at securing the perimeter; once the glue has gone off, it can be difficult to adjust your lawn if you haven’t removed any wrinkles or creases in the fake grass prior to fixing.
An alternative method of securing the edges when using steel edging is to use galvanised U-pins, which can be placed around the perimeter of your lawn, preventing the edges from being lifted. This is generally the preferred method when using metal edging systems.
You can purchase steel edging for your artificial lawn here.
It is also possible to use the edges of your paving to retain your sub-base material.
This can be either a block or brick-paved edging, or you can use the edge of an existing patio.
As long as it will retain the sub-base material, it can be used effectively as an edge restraint for your artificial lawn.
The main downside to using this form of edging is that you cannot secure the perimeter of your artificial grass directly to the edging itself.
Your best option is to use galvanized U-pins to secure the edges of your artificial lawn.
Another potential alternative is to apply artificial grass adhesive to the paved edging and bond the grass to it, although this may not result in the most aesthetically pleasing of finishes.
6. Concrete Gravel Boards
If you intend to run your artificial lawn up to a garden fence, it is possible to use existing concrete gravel boards to retain the aggregates.
The obvious problem with doing this is that it will make it more difficult to replace your fence, should you need to do this at some point in the future, as there will be a certain amount of making good to do to your artificial lawn.
However, if you have recently installed a fence with concrete posts and gravel boards, or you are replacing them whilst installing your artificial lawn, using the fence to retain your sub-base is a viable option, as your new fence should last at least 10 years.
To secure the perimeter of your lawn, use galvanized U-pins.
Choosing the best edging system for your artificial grass is not always a straightforward task.
In an ideal world, and if budget wasn’t a concern, then we would highly recommend using composite plastic edging.
It is quick and easy to install, and should last a lifetime.
The next best alternative would be treated timber edging, as you’ll find that your installation will become much more cost-effective. As mentioned above, you can expect a 10-year lifespan from treated timber which is, of course, a long time and generally long enough for most installations.
Sleepers and steel edging are also viable alternatives, if a little more expensive than timber edging. Sleepers serve a dual purpose in that as well as acting as edge restraints, they will also create an interesting feature within your garden and can be used to create raised beds.
We generally only recommend using paving as your edge restraint for decorative and ornamental lawns that will receive little foot traffic. That’s because the edges are not secured as well as with some of the other forms of edging listed here. This type of edging should certainly be avoided if you have dogs, as they may be able to lift the edges of your artificial turf.
Using concrete gravel boards is an option if you have a reasonably new garden fence but, like the paving, it may be possible to lift the edges of your artificial turf. It will also make replacing your fence further down the line a little trickier.
If you have any further questions regarding edge restraints for artificial grass, then please leave them in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for reading!