How to Edge a Garden: Best Tips for Perfect Edges

Weed Eater Tips & Tricks

how to edge a garden
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Well-defined lines can make a huge difference both in and outside of your house.

In line with this, we believe that getting clean, crisp edges around your lawn is a great way to level up your curb appeal.

Plus, making sure things are well-edged also keeps your yard and flower beds from accidentally becoming unruly and then needing hours of cleanup.

Not everyone knows how to edge a garden, however, and it can seem like a hassle if you aren’t doing it in an efficient way.

Thankfully, there are a number of different techniques and tools that can be used to edge a garden. One of those techniques is sure to help you get things in order with ease.

How to Edge a Garden

Let’s run through a step-by-step guide to garden edging alongside some tips from experts!

Step 1: Create the Edge

If your garden beds do not yet have a crisp, defined edge, you will need to create this first.

This typically only needs to be done once a year at most, so don’t stress if this step takes a bit longer than you hoped it would.

Cutting the edge will make a huge difference, so take the time to do this step.

There are a few different tools that you will need to make this happen, but most people will have some variety of the required tools at home:

  • Spade, half-moon edger, or edging saw
  • Garden hose or string
  • Sharpened garden shears

Mark Out The Edge

If you already have an edge that you only need to redefine, you can use that edge as a guideline.

If you have never had a clear edge before, you will want to use something like a string or a garden house to mark out where you want to put the edge.

Where you want the edge depends on how much garden bed you want.

If you want to widen your garden beds, use a string to mark out farther than the existing area, and then make that your new edge.

Cut The Edge

The next step is to actually cut the edge! This can be done manually using a shovel, spade, or half-moon edger.

Each of these tools can be pushed down into the ground to cut the line where you want to remove the yard and set up your new garden edge.

While these tools are probably already part of your arsenal, they aren’t always the best choices to use.

This is because they cannot smoothly cut a curve, and they are more difficult to do detail work with.

Some people choose to invest in and use a tool such as an edge hog, which is a type of blade that has wheels. It can be easily wheeled along the edge, and it will cut a deep line into the soil.

Because of how smoothly it works, this type of edge hog is ideal when you plan to cut very intricate designs.

It is also used when you don’t have the power to cut the edge line with a manual tool.

If you have a lot of beds to cut, this is the recommended method because it will save you a lot of energy and time.

Step 2: Remove The Grass

Now that you’ve cut the line where your garden bed will end, it’s time to remove the grass.

When learning how to edge, some people think that they should be removing the grass as they go.

On the other hand, most people find that it is easier to cut the line first and then go back to remove the actual turf.

This is because the cut when you are planning out your edge is not actually deep enough, so you will need to do more work to remove the grass.

Start By Deepening The Cut

You now have the line where you want your edge to be. Take a shovel and use it to make the cut even deeper.

The exact depth will depend on what you want to do with your garden, but most will cut down to four to six inches. The edge should be cut at a 90-degree angle.

Remove The Turf

Once you’ve made the edge cut, you will want to remove the actual turf from inside of the bed. The cut should loosen the turf, but you may need to make additional cuts to remove it easily.

The goal is to remove all of the turf that is on the inside of your garden bed and leave the edge clean and free from grass.

Step 3: Clean Up The Edge

To ensure that you do not get any grass that grows into the bed, you want to take some time to clean up the edge. This is best done with hand shears that are well-sharpened.

Using the shears, place them vertically along the edge wall, and then cut all grass that is not following the 90-degree angle as it should be.

Holding the shears vertically rather than horizontally will ensure that you do not accidentally cut into the edge wall and destroy the right angle, so be careful about your hand positioning.

how to edge a garden

Step 4: Mulch It

Technically, this step is optional and would depend on what you are going to be doing with your garden bed.

Still, it is highly recommended that you put down two to three inches of mulch on the garden bed area once you have things planted.

Mulching your garden bed does wonders in helping plants stay hydrated and suppressing weeds from overgrowing.

Additionally, the color of the mulch can add greatly to the overall curb appeal of your garden.

When mulching, it is usually best to put mulch all the way to the edge of the turf so that there is a gentle slope from the bottom to the top of the garden bed.

There are, of course, a variety of ways that you could accomplish each of these steps, depending on your tools.

Bonus Tips

Now that you know the basics of garden bed edging, it’s also important that you get some expert bonus tips and advice to ensure that you have as much success as possible!

Tip #1: Clean up Throughout the Season

The best way to keep your edges clean for months and years to come is to regularly clean them up through the season.

Doing this prevents you from having to follow all of the steps above again. Instead, you can just do step three.

By using a pair of hand shears every few weeks to trim up the edge wall of the garden edging, you’ll keep things well-groomed and looking fresh.

Tip #2: Make A Better Slope

If you aren’t satisfied with the type of slope that you have between your garden bed and yard or the slope is completely non-existent, you can easily create one using a garden trowel.

Doing this is very simple. Just take the garden trowel, and use it to create a trench along the cut edge wall.

Any soil that you remove should be mounded up towards your flower bed. Just like that, and you’ll have a nicer slope!

Having a trench and slope is actually very important to keep your garden neat, orderly, and well-maintained.

The trench will ensure that any water drains out properly, and all soil is washed away to a neat spot.

What’s more, the look of the trench actually adds a nice depth dynamic to the overall look of your garden beds!

Tip #3: Choose Curves Over Corners

In most cases, it is better to design your garden edges with curves rather than corners.

Not only do curves look more natural, but they are also much easier to cut when you are mowing your lawn with a traditional lawnmower.

If you want to edge your garden with a very detailed or intricate design, keep in mind that you might have to get out a few specialty tools to clean it up when cutting grass.

Some might be okay with that, but others would rather keep things more simple.

Tip #4: Leave Space

Leave a few inches of breathing room between the garden edge cut and the plants inside of your garden.

By doing this, you will be able to cut the lawn more easily without the risk of accidentally cutting or damaging your plants.

If you don’t like the look of a breathing room, you can surely plant things right up to the edge line.

However, keep in mind that you will need to use a weed eater or a handheld tool to cut this edge without ruining the plants.

Conclusion: Edging Is Easy!

Edges keep gardens looking clean, and they also help make maintaining your lawn easier than ever. Once you learn how to edge a garden, you will actually see that it is quite simple.

The most challenging thing about edging a garden is the time and energy that it takes. Thankfully, this isn’t a task that needs to be repeated weekly or monthly so long as it is done well!

Take the time to learn from today’s step-by-step guide on how to carefully edge your garden, and put the required time into doing your garden right.

After the edge is established, you can settle into a comfortable and easy routine of edging upkeep that doesn’t require as much work, and your garden will look fantastic!

About the Author

Steve has been gardening for over 20 years now. He enjoys sharing his experiences with others.

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