How to Edge a Flower Bed or Garden in 5 Easy Steps

Because no one wants to spend their Saturday pulling out grass

Elisa Greenberg
Written by Elisa Greenberg
Updated July 7, 2022
Lush summer garden with edging
Photo: Martin Wahlborg / E+ / Getty Images
Difficulty

Simple

Saturday skill builder.

Time to complete

6 hours

Cost

$100–$150

If you already own the tools, this DIY is a no-brainer.

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What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Garden hose
  • Spade
  • Half-moon edger or electric edger (or both)
  • String trimmer
  • Shovel
  • Hand shears
  • Rubber mallet
  • Hand garden trowel
  • Hand garden cultivator
  • Garden rake
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Gloves

SUPPLIES

  • Pine-bark mulch
  • Marking spray paint
  • Edging materials (metal, plastic, brick, concrete, or stones)
  • Organic compost
  • Gypsum

We all love planting lush, vibrant flowers and greenery in our gardens. You can make your landscaping extra special by edging your flower beds. Edging creates a clean and stylish barrier between your flower beds and the rest of the lawn, preventing grass and soil spillover. So grab those garden shears and get ready to beautify your yard!

Prepping to Edge a Flower Bed

Before digging into the ground, you should have your lawn’s soil texture tested with ribbon testing. Many gardens in the southern part of the United States have heavy and compacted clay soil, making it difficult to edge gardens and keep lawns healthy. 

Soil testing costs between $35 to $75 for an at-home ribbon test, and you can amend your clay soil by adding organic compost or gypsum.

Plan and Shape Your Garden Edge

To create an elegant garden edge, you’ll want to plan your layout and decide which materials you want to use for your flower bed edging border—plastic, stones, brick, concrete, and metal are the most common.

Grab a garden hose or spray paint and mark the lines of your edge. You can draw a straight line or add curves for a more luxurious effect.

  1. Cut Your Flower Bed Shape

    Using a half-moon edger, face your flower bed and cut the outline of your marked shape by stepping on the tool with one or both feet and pushing your turf upward.

    Depending on your soil's hardness, you may need to face the opposite way and use your edger to loosen the turf from a 45-degree angle.

    You can also cut your shape with an electric, circular-bladed edge cutter. This tool helps to cut clean lines along your border. However, an electric edger only cuts 1 1/2 inches deep, so you’ll have to dig down further with a half-moon edger or spade to finish the process.

  2. Pull Out Your Turf

    Once you’ve cut out your shape, use your hands or a shovel to dig out the loose turf at a 90-degree angle. It will come out in chunks, so you can easily toss it in your wheelbarrow. 

    Next, you’ll want to trench your edge to make room for your border material.

  3. Plant Your Greenery

    Grab your garden rake and add 2 to 3 inches of fresh pine bark mulch to your flower beds. Spread and smooth the mulch with your rake. Pine bark mulch prevents weed growth and nourishes the soil.

    Next, you’ll want to plant your flowers and shrubs a few inches away from your border. This breathing space will help with tending to your lawn and garden by allowing easier pruning and mowing. 

    Lastly, give your newly planted greenery a fresh drink!

  4. Finish the Edge Around Your Flower Bed

    Now comes the fun part—selecting your border material. A well-defined border helps to separate grass from your flower bed. There are several border edging methods to choose from:

    Trench Edging 

    Grab a small shovel or garden trowel and dig out a shallow trench along the edging line. You’ll want to take the soil and mound it upward as you dig to create a downslope. This slope will help with drainage and create a polished look.

    Metal Edging

    A metal or aluminum edge goes right inside your edging border. Metal borders come in a long, lightweight, and firm strip. Aluminum also provides a rust-free separation between flower beds and your lawn.

    Plastic Edging

    Plastic is the least expensive option for edging materials. It’s nearly indistinguishable between your grass and garden, as it comes in a long, stiff, clear strip. And, it’s easy to find and install from most home improvement retailers.

    Brick Edging

    Line the edge of your trench with stone dust, line up your bricks in and above the trench and mound them into place with a rubber mallet. Seal the bricks by adding water to the sand to create a heavy locking paste.

    Concrete Edging

    Fill your trench with a paver base and place your concrete pavers along the border. Add polymeric sand to the paver linings, hose them down with water, clear off the pavers, and set them into place.

    Stone Edging

    Stones are a natural material that creates a beautiful raised border along your flower beds. For this option, you’ll want to add a mound of fresh soil, stack your stones above your flower bed and secure them in place with an adhesive paste.

  5. Maintain Your Edge

    Now that you’ve created a beautiful edge around your flower bed, you’ll want to ensure that it continues to look immaculate. 

    You can maintain your garden edge with the following tasks: 

    • Trim your edges horizontally or vertically with garden shears or an electric yard trimmer after each mow.

    • Carefully mow around your edges by following the straight or curved path.

    • Clean up your flower beds after each mowing and when weeds start to grow.

DIY Edging a Flower Bed vs. Hiring a Pro

For DIY-enthusiasts who don’t mind putting their hands in the dirt, you can expect to spend $40 to $100 on supplies for this project. 

However, hiring a local landscaper is a great idea if you don’t have the tools or a green thumb. You can expect to spend $40 to $80 per hour

In addition, if you want to ensure that your flower beds look great and function well, you can hire a landscape designer for $50 to $150 per hour. A landscape designer will put your mind at ease by creating a design plan that works best for your yard.

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