By M. L. Wells, Master Gardener Volunteer Cornell Cooperative Extension Allegany County
Many properties in country areas (some in the cities, too) have gardens around the house, three to six feet wide garden approximately. Some of them have little gardens in the middle of the lawn, or a good-sized vegetable garden, but most of them are surrounded by lawn on some, or all sides.
There are several ways to keep the lawn out of the garden, here is my solution. I did this over time as the total length for me is about 200 feet by 6 inches wide. Here is what I did: 1) I dug a trench at the boundary of the lawn and garden, 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide. 2) I removed the sod to the compost heap. 3) Fill the trench with sand–for mine it took about 2 cubic yards. 4) Now the grass will continue to creep in, but it will be easy to keep at bay. Twice a year–March and September, I take a sharp shovel and slice down at outer edge of sand trench. Then with a spading fork lift and flip upside down in the morning. By late in the day shake out sand and remove sod to the compost heap. I do 20 feet a day–some of you can do 40 or even 60 feet! 5) OR, make trench 9 inches wide and do once a year in September. The ground is drier and the work will be easier.
My experience with edging, vertical or horizontal, is that it never works in the long haul and then getting the grass out is a pain. I believe in hard work to start and easy thereafter.
P.S. Also, when weeds self-sow into your edging they are easy to pull out.