I recently started working for a design/build firm in Southern Arizona. The company does fairly standard landscapes (although the best quality in the region), but I am hoping to help them branch out in to more creative and modern design if the right clients arise. My boss has told me on several occasions that he does not like using steel edging and will always try to talk a customer out of it. He says that it is dangerous and doesn't want to deal with someone cutting their foot on it.
Well, I recently acquired a design job in which the customers want a more modern feel. I love the clean look of steel edging and want to use it to border the turf area. (I interned for Christy Ten Eyck for a while and LOVE the way she uses it in the landscape). I'm trying to figure out how to approach the situation. What I am wondering from you all more experienced is:
A) Does it really pose a danger?
B) Are there any clean looking alternatives?
C) If those of you who are experienced using steel edging recommend it, any ideas on how to approach my boss?
Thanks so much for your help!
Very pretty! Thanks for sharing! Anyone else have some pictures of borders from their own projects? I would love to see...
Right now, I have something very similar called out in the plan, actually. I think it will look nice for the type of project it is. Thanks for sharing the picture so I can get a better idea of what it will look like!
Steel does provide those nice clean sharp curves on a budget like nothing else can. I think it has a place in certain applications, and we have used it many times.
Most manufacturers have more options than you may realize. There are a variety of gauges Some offer longer stakes. Some make it wider (6" vs. 4"). All of which will give it more stability in the ground.
Always buy about 10% more stakes than the math tells you to. Always get the 16' lengths vs. the 8 or 10' lengths-- the little extra money for the freight will be saved in installation and it will look cleaner
Weight, and thus freight, is a big issue with this product so look close to home. Make sure your crews take something to file the edges after they cut--a saw or grinder will leave some nasty sharp edges.
Thanks! All great advice to consider. I really appreciate it!
Steel and Aluminium make great edges and as far as injury is concerned any person can trip on anything really ( and as a kid I was always told to lift my feet)...I don't think anything provides a sharp edge like steel or alloy can..I found the alloy was harder to keep in a straighter line and needed a lot of fixings, in fact soo much that we designed our own edging and got it made by and alloy extrusion company with extra thickness and in the sizes that needed the minimum number of joins. If your design "needs" a clean edge and your client is keen on the idea surely your boss should be happy that the client gets what it wants??
I'm in Tucson. We use steel edge on grass all the time. More for definition, than keeping the grass from migrating. It also helps keep the rock from jumping back into the grass a bit. I use 1/8" x 6" strap (also have used 2" square and angle for rectangular designs) set in a 4" trench, rebar stakes every few feet. I tack weld the stakes and all seams.
I usually lay out the shape with paint, dig the trench, rough measure the length, cut/weld the edger pieces into long strips (really hard to weld them in place and have them match up flat) and then maneuver them into place using the stakes. Stake welds happen when it is all in and set to elevation. Then backfill.
It's tedious, but once your crew does it once or twice it flows pretty well. Getting curves to not have flat spots or bad tangents is the hardest part to teach a labor guy. It's pretty much flat too, up + down curves are not happening. But down here it's usually not a problem.
We also use mortared paver/brick edges a lot when the steel isn't going to work.
Oh- also. Steel strap has a slightly rounded/finished edge, so it's not sharp. The cuts and welds are sharp, but a grinder makes short work of that. Most steel supply companies should stock this standard in 4", 6" up to 12" widths. It comes in 20' lengths.
I use it all the time for many things. If the stakes are on the grass side for the most part and set down 2" or so and the top elevation of the edge is right at or just slightly above thatch layer on the grass, the trip hazard is very low.
There is risk with every material.