Outdoor Living

Edge out the Competition – and Define your Yard

Text by Pat Gerbrandt

With warmer weather bound to lure yard and garden enthusiasts outdoors before long, it’s time to plan for projects that just couldn’t be done during snow season. While it’s probably safe to say that all of us want to have attractive yards, it’s also no secret that not everyone wants to spend every outdoor moment working to ‘keep the colour within the lines.’

Tending to flower beds and other plantings, and keeping up with lawn maintenance is time consuming enough. There are options that can help to curb expending unnecessary energy. Concrete curbing is an attractive and practical way of edging driveways, lawns and flowerbeds. With an edging like this, these areas are neatly defined. Gravel from driveways is contained, and the mulch used in flowerbeds or around shrubbery is also kept where it is meant to be so it won’t compete with your lawn. And, to eliminate the use of a trimmer, there’s the option of mower edge curbing which has a lower lip to allow the mower deck to ride right over it without damage.

Jake Reimer of Bijan Curbing and Landscaping suggests that there are no limits to the product choices. “We can provide whatever shape the flowerbed is. It’s precise – we can do sharp curves, slight curves.” The reason production of these curbs is precise, is so that the exact design of existing or future yard features can be followed. Most people prefer free-form curves or even curved shapes, but straight sections can be produced just as easily. The installer can help you to choose the most attractive options for your yard.

Concrete curbing is not boring. Even though the special extruding machine can form parking-lot curbs, it also produces a wide variety of other styles and you aren’t limited to basic white concrete for the curbing on your yard.

It comes in a wide variety of profiles, textures and colours to allow for creativity and individuality. And, the colour is not going to fade or chip away because it is not an exterior coating; the concrete itself is coloured.

As an added touch, a wide range of brick-look patterns can be imprinted upon the product. There’s variety in style too, with six different profiles available, from regular to high profile or sloped borders, lane dividers or car parks, as well as the mower edge.

Consideration of our climactic conditions has also been factored in. The expansion joints, which are placed approximately every three feet, allow the concrete to expand and contract with variations in temperature, yet do not interfere with the contours of the flowerbed or driveway edgings.

Satisfied owners attest to the durability of these forms. Reimer knows of customers who have had their curbing for 10 years, with no evidence of deterioration. “We have special additives we put into the concrete to minimize chipping and cracking,” Reimer assures. However, one should remember that these products are not meant to be driven over. If the homeowner wants to have access to an area adjacent to a curbed part of the yard, for the purpose of storing a recreational vehicle or if snow machines use the area in the winter, care should be taken to allow adequate clearance to prevent damage to the curbs.

Areas prone to flooding or where soil conditions do not allow for good drainage after heavy rain are not ideal for concrete, as extended soaking weakens it.

Developing a new yard or planting area is easy, but even existing features can be curbed with relatively little preparation. A ten-inch strip of sod is removed, just wide enough for the curb to be poured in the channel that is created. Most jobs of average size can be done in one day. Depending on weather conditions, the concrete usually cures in 12-24 hours and it reaches full strength in approximately 28 days.

Unlike plastic edging, which can work itself out of the soil, or individually placed bricks that can be nudged out of line by mowers, people or pets, concrete curbing stays in place. Whether you choose curbing to define a driveway or parking area, to outline plantings or flowerbeds or to retain soil, you can be sure that the options available will enhance your yard and simplify landscaping chores too. That’s definitely a good edge.

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