Summer is here and even if it isn’t your favorite season, it’s fantastic to finally be able to spend more time outdoors.
If you’re lucky to have a large enough space for them, flower beds make beautiful features in any garden, especially when they’re edged in nicely!
To turn that into reality, you’d need to learn how to plan and mark out new flower beds, as well as how to edge a flower bed with a power edger.
A power edger, as it sounds, is far more powerful than a string trimmer when it comes to edging jobs.
How to Edge a Flower Bed With a Power Edger
Sharp and solid edges on your flower beds can offer your garden a professionally manicured look and feel.
Contrary to what most believe, you don’t need to be a professional to achieve this look!
With the right tools, planning, and some hard work, you can edge your own flower beds to perfection.
There are several ways in which you can achieve great lawn edges, including doing it manually with a shovel, a trimmer and edger combination, or with a power edger.
Let’s take a look at how to edge a flower bed with a power edger and see if the power tool is worth the investment.
Using a Power Edger on Your Flower Bed
Although using a power edger can be very fun and straightforward, if you don’t know how to do it properly, you can produce disappointing, if not devastating, results.
As a tool, a power edger is much more powerful than a string trimmer, so if you’ve never used one before, our step-by-step guide is here to help.
If you already have an established flower bed in place, then you can skip to Step 3.
Step 1: Design
Firstly, you’ll need to establish a design for your flower bed and work out the line you want your edge to follow.
Flower beds look more natural and interesting if you include subtle curves that reflect the shape of the plants that are growing there.
If you have flower beds on both sides of your garden, perhaps you could make the flower bed edges symmetrical or parallel to each other.
If your plants and shrubs aren’t fully mature yet, be sure to plan your edges for growth.
Step 2: Mark Out
Next up, you want to mark out the area you’ll be edging. If it is a large area, you may need to use a measuring tape and some stakes to help guide you.
For straight lines, tie a string between the stakes; for curvy lines, lay down some rope or hose and adjust until you’re happy with the size and contours.
After doing that, you can spray on your design with marking or landscaping paint. This can be bought from most hardware stores and gardening centers.
The marking paint will be cut off your lawn or wear off the ground over time, but be careful of other surfaces.
Step 3: Familiarize Yourself With the Tool
Be sure to get a feel for your power edger before switching it on.
Get comfortable with the weight of pushing it along, as well as work out where the important buttons are and where the trigger is.
The manufacturer’s instructions will help you get to know your power tool even better and will most likely include advice on how to get the best results from it.
Step 4: Power Up
Once you feel ready, double-check that the blade is disengaged on the power edger before powering it up.
As soon as you know it’s safe to start, power up your edger according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Step 5: Line Up and Engage the Blade
Once you have the motor running, line up the power edger’s blade with where you want to make your first cut.
When you’re already in position, you can engage the power blade safely.
Step 6: Start Edging
Now you’re up and running and can slowly move forward, pushing the power edger with the blade lined up with the line that you’ve marked out.
Ensure you move along the edge slowly, not forcing the edger to move faster than it wants to or is able to.
If the machine starts to move more slowly or makes a loud noise, pull it back before pushing it forward again.
The blade has likely come across some tough roots and may need several passes to get through them cleanly.
If the edge was not already established, you might have to sweep through more than once to achieve that professional, clean look.
In the case of new edging, move along your marked line with the blade at a shallower depth of around three inches.
Then, slowly increase the depth with each pass until you achieve the desired depth. Indeed, that professional edge requires patience, as well as skills!
Also, remember that your edger blade may need cleaning from time to time as it will gather grass while rotating.
Step 7: Clean Up
After you’ve finished edging your flower bed, you can take the soil and grass that has been cut away and spread it around your flower bed to help fertilize the soil.
If you don’t want any grass clippings visible in your flower bed, you could also add this garden waste to your compost bin or pile.
Make sure to clean up your power edger according to the manufacturer’s instructions after every use.
On Power Edgers and Your Safety
Like any power tool, some basic safety precautions should be taken to use a power edger effectively and safely.
Firstly, as with most garden power tools that could potentially produce or kick up debris, protecting your eyes is of the utmost importance.
Safety goggles or glasses should be worn at all times when operating a power edger.
Protect your ears to avoid irreversible hearing loss, and protect those around you by being aware of your surroundings at all times.
Wear a long sleeve shirt and pants to protect your limbs from harmful flying debris, and wear suitable footwear that offers similar protection for your feet.
Finally, always use a secure power source and have your power tools regularly serviced according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Best Lawn Edging Tips from the Pros
Here are our top tips to help you achieve a perfectly manicured lawn with a power edger.
1. Removing Extra Grass
If you have areas of lawn to remove to create a flower bed from scratch, you can use your power edger to cut the grass area into strips.
Cut straight lines through the grass, around 12 inches apart, and then just roll them up like you would a carpet.
In some places, you may need to dig a shovel underneath the grass to sever some of the tougher roots.
Once your grass is rolled up in strips, you can sell, donate, or compost it.
2. Edger Maintenance
Power edgers, like other power tools, need regular inspection and maintenance to keep them in good working condition and to ensure their lasting durability.
Check the blades or cutting lines after every use to see if they need to be sharpened or replaced.
If your edger is gas-powered, you should check the oil before every use and have an oil change according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Depending on the manufacturer and model, it may be recommended that you take your power edger to an authorized dealer for servicing from time to time.
If you received a warranty with your purchase, then the validity of your warranty may even depend on this being completed, so be sure to check!
3. Edging Depth
The majority of people edge flower beds to a depth of six inches.
If you’re not sure what depth to go to when edging your flower bed, five inches should be the shallowest depth you should consider.
The reason five inches is the benchmark is that you’ll need to remove the top five inches of soil to remove grassroots.
Otherwise, you’ll have grass growing right back all over your fresh flower beds and choking out your plants and flowers.
By keeping the grass on the lawn and out of your flower beds, you’ll save a lot of time on garden maintenance in the future.
Once you’ve finished edging your flower bed and all your plants are planted, it is recommended that you add mulch.
Not only will this help to keep the weeds down, but it will also add a rich, dark color to the bed that contrasts nicely with your green lawn.
Mulch also holds moisture well and helps moderate the soil temperature. This means that your plants will need less watering, and they’ll be more healthy.
If you use organic mulch, it will also add precious nutrients to the soil throughout the year as it breaks down.
Edging a flower bed with a power edger couldn’t be easier, really, especially if you compare it to the traditional way of edging with a shovel!
A power edger does most of the hard work for you and can save you hours of digging.
However, if you only have a small garden, it may not be worth the investment.
On the other hand, if you have large areas to manicure each year, then a power edger could be your new best friend.