Landscape edging can keep crawling grasses contained, add aesthetic value, and separate different types of rocks and soil media from each other. But once it has been positioned and planted around, replacing and repairing it can be tricky. To avoid having to sort out the edging restoration dilemma every 3 to 4 years, choose superior material like steel landscaping edging.
Unlike wooden and plastic edging, which is easy to work with but doesn’t hold up long-term, metal landscape edging lasts for decades but takes more care to cut, bend, and install. The risk of injury is greater with these types of landscaping materials, but using the right tools and techniques to cut it can help keep you safe.
As always, identify utility lines before doing any kind of digging (call 811) to have official utility workers mark the lines to prevent power, water, or gas line damage.
What is the Best Way to Cut Metal Edging?
The best way to cut metal edging is with any tool or method that allows you to safely and effectively split the metal and position it where you need it. There are many tools that can do the job, each with its own caveats. Generally, a reciprocating saw, angle grinder, or hacksaw are the go-to tools depending on what you have access to and the confidence to use safely.
But those aren’t all the options for cutting metal landscape edging check out the list below to find out what works best for you.
An angle grinder with a metal disk can easily cut through a piece of edging. Holding the metal garden edging with vice grips can give you more control and allow for straighter cuts. There are no guides or guards for a perfect edge of steel edging with an angle grinder, so accurate cuts take precise control.
Fewer burrs are left to be filed down when using grinders, and scoring can be done easily for better bends and angles.
Reciprocating saws are much easier to control than angle grinders and can be used to trim metal edging that’s already in the ground. A metal strip is easy to adjust with a Sawzall and can add contoured shapes and 90-degree corners. Use a metal cutting blade and file off the rougher edges where needed.
A good metal cutter if power tools are not an option or not something you are comfortable with. While metal shears will cut through steel and other strong materials, it can be difficult to use metal shears, and it’s hard to cut anything longer than the blade’s length. Wear cut-resistant gloves when using metal shears and file sharp edges that will be exposed.
You can use a finer-toothed metal blade on a hacksaw to work through 4-inch material, but for a large-size material, you may want to use a jigsaw with a bi-metal blade. It is easy to maintain blade security when using these tools as the blades are thin and well-leveraged, making injury less likely. Clean up burrs with a metal file after cutting.
Mechanical Chop Saw
If you will be cutting many pieces of edging, you can use a mechanical chop saw to pre-cut them all. this can save time but is only useful if you have the exact measurements, including overlays. A chop saw will make quick clean cuts with few burrs or rough edges. Use a blade made for cutting metal and wear proper eye protection.
Score and Bend
You can use any of the blades mentioned before to do scoring and bending. This can make nice angles or let you cut metal without using cutting tools exclusively. For straight breaks, cut a line 1-inch into the metal top and bottom and then bend it back and forth until it snaps. A similar technique can be used to make 90-degree bends and help with joints and overlaps.
How to Work with Steel Edging Safely
The first thing to do before cutting any metal is to wear safety gear. Safety glasses, and cut resistant-gloves, long sleeves, and closed-toe shoes to avoid injury. Once you have the proper gear, make sure to choose the correct tools for the job. Check over all parts of the power tools to make sure all fixtures are tightened, and blades are in good condition. Work out a reliable power supply and clear your workspace of any obstacles or obstructions.
When it comes time to make the cut, measure twice and cut once to avoid wasting material or having to do more work to finish the job. After cutting, remove burrs and cover or round sharp edges to avoid cuts or accidents. Place stakes anywhere there are overlaps and fasten them with metal screws.
Always insert stakes deep enough to not come undone, and so they are flush with the top of the edging to avoid tripping/snagging by passersby and lawn equipment.
Steel Edging Tools
Using the correct tools, as well as protective gear, can make tasks like edging with metal much easier and safer. Each tool can complete a task needed for a clean, aesthetic look without any exposed jagged or sharp edges. Most tools have one or more equipment substitutes that can still accomplish the task so check out the chart below for more info on steel-edging lawn tools.
|Tape Measure||Measure the edging to cut||Lay out along garden edging, then cut to size|
|Hack Saw||Cuts through metal||Metal sheers or mechanical chop saw|
|Hammer||Pounding stakes||Rock or another blunt object|
|Long Handle Pliers||Remove stakes from steel edging||Crescent wrench or channel lock pliers|
|Half-Moon Edger||Dig the trench||Sharp-shooter spade|
|Drill and Screws||To attach stakes to edging||Self-drilling metal screws|
Uses for Landscaping Steel in Lawns and Gardens?
Landscaping steel is a budget-friendly and subtle way to separate different areas of lawn and garden materials. It is easy to use, and the results are usually stunning when done correctly. Most steel edging is sold in 8-ft pieces, so for longer beds overlaying is needed.
Use an average of an 8-inch overlay, and when calculating pieces needed, divide the number of feet of edging required by 7.33 on a standard 8 ft piece of steel edging to account for overlap.
Placing edging 1 inch above soil level will create an effective divide that can still be mown over safely. Bury 4-in material at least 2 inches down to prevent creeping grasses from entering flowerbeds or landscaping areas. If more height is desired above ground level, use larger material, so it still has a firm base under the soil.
Metal edging will not rot, split, chip, or crack. Steel can be repainted to restore old metal, which is much easier and cheaper than replacing wood or plastic landscaping materials every few years. Steel defines edges better and holds back more force than wooden or plastic edging, and it can be bent and shaped up to a rounded 90-degree angle. The right cuts with the right tools make steel landscape edging a great yard addition.