Home Tip Tuesday: How to Edge Garden Beds

Edging helps prevent weeds and grass from invading beds.

Edging around garden beds looks nice, but it also serves an important purpose. The right edging clearly defines the line where a flower bed ends and the lawn or hardscaping begins. When maintained properly, edging prevents weeds and grass from rooting around flowers and competing with them for resources. You can create attractive and functional edging in three easy steps.



Step 1
Define the shape of the flower bed. Even if you're edging an existing bed, this step is still valuable. Older beds can also benefit from a little reshaping now and then. Use a hose or a rope as a guide to sketch out the line of the edge. Place the rope where you think the edge should be and stand back to get a better look, adjust as needed. Take exact measurements if precise sizing is important. Once you're satisfied with the placement, use a spade to make marks in the soil along the length of the rope. These marks don't need to be deep, just enough to trace the shape so you can remove the rope.

Dig a clean, continuous channel that's about five-inches wide and deep.


Step 2 
Use a tile shovel to dig the edge. A tile shovel has a long, narrow head that makes is easier to dig deep, straight scoops of soil. Remove the dirt from the line as you dig. The goal is to dig a clean, continuous channel that's about five-inches wide and deep around the entire flowerbed. Step back and take a look at your work every few minutes to make certain you're maintaining the correct shape. Clean out all the loose dirt from the trench and pull any grass or weeds that still remain. 

Step 3
Fill the channel with bark, stones or mulch to prevent grass from creeping over and into the garden bed. Alternately, you can fill the trench with a variety of decorate materials. Bricks, concrete pavers, large river stones and flexible plastic edging are some of the more traditional options. For a more unique look, consider lining the edge with upside-down wine bottles, old China plates, lengths of steel or copper pipe positioned vertically or chunks of driftwood. Place an inch or two of sand or gravel into the trench to dry fit the decorative materials. The heavy sand or gravel will hold the materials in place while you adjust them. Tamp the items firmly into place. Once properly positioned, continue filling the trench with sand or gravel to hold everything securely and tamp again.

Edging a single garden bed can easily be completed in a day. It's a simple job that will keep your landscaping looking neat without a lot of maintenance. 

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