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How to Make Steel Landscape Edging Look Better

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017

Separate different garden areas or keep your grass lawn in check with landscape edging. Cheap, inferior-quality edging is often made from plastic that degrades over time. For a truly durable edging material, choose steel. Unfortunately, steel may be durable but its shiny metal appearance can detract from your backyard's ambiance. Treat the steel edging with various techniques to disguise its appearance and keep its shine from being overpowering.

Paint the steel landscape edging with a color that matches your home or garden structures, or a discreet black or brown to blend in with the ground. Lay the edging out flat on newspapers or a surface that you don't mind painting or staining. Coat both sides with an oil-based metal paint with built-in rust inhibitors. Use a brush for a smooth finish or a spray can-type paint for a matte look.

Allow the paint to dry and apply a second coat. After the second coat has dried, use the steel edging as you normally would.

Create a mottled patina as an alternative to painting. This retains some of the steel edging's metallic appearance but in a more muted fashion. Take the steel landscape edging to a blacksmith, who will heat the edging in her furnace and then allow the metal to cool to a mottled black-and-silver patina.

Disguise the landscape edging if you don't want to take the time to paint it and don't want to pay money to have it treated by a blacksmith. Add decorative fencing, such as a white picket fence, in front of the edging to hide it. Alternatively, plant flowers or increase the height of your grass or ground cover to help cover up the steel edging.


Things You Will Need

  • Oil-based metal paint with rust inhibitors
  • Paint brush
  • Newspaper (optional)
  • Decorative garden fencing (optional)


  • An example of simply hiding the steel edging can be found in garden beds surrounded by steel edging. Increase the height of your garden bed so that it reaches the top of the edging, thus hiding the edging when viewed from within the garden bed. On the outside, add a decorate fence or allow your grass to grow slightly higher against the edging. It will now be mostly hidden no matter where you view it from.


  • Never paint steel with a paint that doesn't have rust inhibiting chemicals mixed into it. The wrong paint can trap moisture against the metal and cause rust, quickly eroding the steel.

About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.