Create amazingly beautiful flower beds in your yard this spring with one easy tip. Here’s how to edge a flower bed quickly and easily so you can have your own professional-looking gardens to enjoy.
(Update: I can’t believe how different our backyard looks now compared to how it looked back in these photos. You can see for yourself how much the garden has filled-in over the years by following me on Instagram and watching my stories.)
Crisp, Clean Look
Chris has always been the one to make our gardens look all neat and tidy. I didn’t really even realize that there was a certain technique to it. I just thought he was really patient with a shovel or something. Actually, I didn’t really know what he did. I always thought that to make a garden, all you did was remove the grass, stick some plants in it and mulch it. Then somehow it magically turned into something like looked like a garden and not just some flowers planted in the middle of the grass.
We’ve been working slowly on the back yard over the last few years and we thought it might be good to map out a big flower/shrub garden across the whole back middle section of the house where the giant wheelchair ramp used to be before we tore it down.
Get Your Hands a Little Dirty
We started hacking up the parts where there was grass growing, although there wasn’t that much since it had been covered in that ramp for so long. When we had an idea for how it was going to look, I went to get a load of mulch. Chris suggested I might want to start edging the garden first and explained to dig a little trench about a few inches deep along the border of where the garden goes. At this point, I feel like I need to point out that I’m really not quite as dumb as this story makes me sound. 🙂
I grabbed a little trowel and got to work.
How to Edge a Flower Bed
At this point Chris was like, “You know that little shovel we have that’s really kind of flat and sharp? I find that works pretty well.”
I gave it a try and I was all, “Wow! This actually works really well. It really gives this super crisp edge. Seriously, Chris, it’s almost like it was made just for this job…. oh… wait a second. It is made to edge a flower bed isn’t it?”
Then I dropped my shovel and ran for my camera because I’d just learned something super valuable to share with all of my fellow gardener wannabes out there.
So this is what that shovel/edger looks like:
You can get some edgers from the garden centre as well that look like the one pictured below and work really well, especially if you need to cut through grass. This one looks great as well since it has the addition of a serrated edge. So smart.
Here was my second attempt at edging, this time using the right tool. I just carved down about three inches and then lifted the excess soil up and onto where the garden was going to be.
Here’s a section where the (somewhat trampled) lawn is already growing up to the edge of the new garden. Look how crisp that is!
Edging Gardens with a Stone Border
*Update* A few years have passed since we first talked about edging gardens and we’ve definitely done our fair share of edging at this point. I wanted to share a little more about another type of garden edge that we have to address here on the property from time to time. Here’s an example of another type of edging situation that you might encounter.
This is our garden next to our front walkway. While we don’t have the challenge of a lawn creeping into the garden and taking it over, we do still need to re-edge this garden every couple of years. The process is fairly similar. We just dig down right next to the paving stones with the edger tool. We also take this opportunity to reset any of the stones along the edge that may have sunken down a little bit over time.
Edging this garden is important. Not only does it tidy up the edge a little bit and make it look better, digging a little trench allows us room to add fresh mulch to this garden as needed and not have it completely wash on onto the pathway every time it rains. The photo above shows our garden last spring. It was starting to be in need of some attention so this past weekend we worked on edging it and making it look a little more polished again. It seems like a bit of a tedious process, but it’s actually just so satisfying. 🙂
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.