This guide shares how to create flower bed edging like a pro using one simple garden tool! This is an easy DIY technique that offers instant and outstanding results! With video.
And be sure to visit Part 2 – How to freshen up flowerbed edges with more pictures
Every so often I get asked how in the world I achieve my rather impressive flower bed edges and maintain them.
So it was time to share my pro gardener brother’s secrets!
How I learned this technique
As I was walking through my garden pro brother’s own yard, his english garden style flower beds were abundant and outstanding on their own. However upon closer inspection, what made them look so sharp was the perfect garden edge surrounding the entire perimeter of his yard.
Not a landscape timber, metal edging, plastic edging, brick edging nor any edging materials of any kind were anywhere to be seen. Just clean, simple, perfect lawn cuts that really made those flowerbeds pop!
What I loved most was how something so simple and clean looking could look so professional. And imagine having flower bed edges that would never deteriorate ever again!
I wanted in. So I requested a mini lesson on how to get this amazing look with just trimming.
After 1 quick lesson, I went right home, hauled out a simple garden edging tool I already had on hand and got to work. To my amazement, the results were instant, even though I didn’t really know what I was doing quite yet!
So if a beginner like me can get pro results in my own garden bed, I know you can too! I’ve now been doing this method for years, and it never gets old. My sidewalks always look sharp, there are no durability issues, and nothing to buy. Just beautiful garden borders that dramatically elevate the look of your yard. And soon, yours too!
It’s a little labour-intensive to start, but it gets easier after the initial job is complete.
Here’s how it’s done…
Be sure to catch the short video at the bottom of this post so you can see the technique in action!
Does this overgrown flower bed edging look familiar? Let’s focus on the edge between the dirt and flower bed:
- Soil is the same height as lawn.
- Grass has grown over the edge into the flower bed.
- Not enough breathing space between the lawn edge and plants.
- Weeds need cleaning up.
At least the flowers are pretty…
However this overall flower bed has overgrown plants, and the flower bed edging needs to be sharpened up.
I had thought of adding some landscape edging or rubber edging of some kind, but I didn’t want anything that would deteriorate over time. Edging stones are nice, but they can be tricky to trim or mow around.
So here’s how to create a clean flowerbed edge that will not only dramatically improve the curb appeal of your flower beds, you won’t believe how easy it is to do with one simple garden tool!
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How to create flower bed edging like a pro
Supplies I used:
hand garden cultivator (I like this set!)
rubber-dipped garden loves (my fav!)
Shape the flowerbed
1. Create the shape for your flower beds in a gentle curve with a garden hose or heavy twine for guidance.
Make sure your landscape design includes curves that are relaxed enough to easily accommodate lawn mowers, without having to pull back your mower constantly to mow around tight corners.
Now grab your half moon edger next!
What is a half moon edger?
A half moon edger is a relatively inexpensive standard garden tool found at most any hardware store. They have a handle like a shovel, however it has a cutting blade at the end shaped in a half-circle, or half moon. This is so it can create garden bed edges easily.
How to cut flower bed edges with a half moon edger
2. Using a half moon flower bed edger, position it along your guide rope, tilt it a little to the side, then step on it.
3. Lift the half moon edger slightly, (not all the way out of the ground) reposition further along, then cut yet again on a slight angle.
Keep repeating this process as if you are cutting a cake, until your entire edge is completely done.
This technique gets easier the more you do it!
Remove the turf
4. Scoop or dig out the chunks of turf.
I like to tap the soil off with a garden trowel, then flip the turf chunks upside down in the compost pile.
If upside down, the grass composts and the works will turn into mulch/soil. If right side up, you’ll grow a new chunk of lawn in the compost. Then you’ll have to edge that… (kidding) (sort of)
Dig a shallow trench
5. Using a garden trowel or small shovel or spade, create a shallow trench along your fresh lawn edge cut, mounding the soil up towards your flower bed.
A trench creates a place for water to drain and soil to fall. And offers a shadow for a nice clean look. You wait and see!
Mound up the soil
To mound the topsoil, (or gravel or landscape rock), dig into the bottom of the trench, then bring up the soil towards the flowerbed in a smooth gentle mound. If the mound is too steep, the soil will fall back into the trench again. Shallow is best.
Trim the lawn edges
6. With garden shears, trim the grass edges horizontally and vertically for a nice clean edge in both directions.
Do not trim the grass on an angle. This will soften your edge.
Your grass clippings can then be easily scooped up by hand to clean things up or left to compost.
My fav yard trimmer (read post HERE)
You can also accomplish clean lawn edging with a yard trimmer head twisted upside down, (HERE is one similar to mine) however you will not achieve quite the same quality as when cut with garden shears. However it will be a lot quicker!
The outstanding flower bed edging results!
Then stand back and GASP at your awesomeness. This crisp and clean lawn edging really makes an outstanding landscaping edge!
Other lawn edging ideas to try this method against:
Don’t be afraid to experiment with other garden scenarios! There are plenty of options to use this garden edging technique anywhere you wish to create a beautiful and clean barrier for different styles or different looks!
- vegetable gardens
- garden pathways
- river rock garden beds
- cut against railroad ties
- trim around boulders and other lawn features
- concrete pavers
Straight edges vs. curves?
Both straight and curved edges have their place.
However I would avoid creating flower beds with lots of small curves. Create shapes that fit a lawnmower well which will make lawn mowing around the flower beds much easier.
My own preference is to also choose curves over straight lines where you can. Curves will visually softens outdoor spaces, appear more natural and will hide crooked lines more so than straight.
Allow some soil to show
A little breathing space in between the flower bed edge and plants will show contrast between the two for a cleaner look, and is easier to weed and mow.
Isn’t that lawn edging seriously gorgeous?
Above is an illustration of the flowerbed edging.
Video – How to cut flower bed edging like a pro!
Visit above to watch a short video clip of the easy technique!
How to maintain the flower bed edging
Now know, there is a little maintenance to keeping this up. However if you stay on top of it, you won’t find much of an issue. The finished pro look this offers is so worth it!
1. Mow as close as possible to the flower bed edge while keeping the lawn mower wheels on the grass.
2. Using the weed trimmer, cut horizontally where the mower couldn’t reach, and vertically along the soil to create a nice sharp edge each time you mow.
3. Gently fluff up the soil and scoop out the trench each time you weed.
4. If the soil starts to level with the lawn, freshen up the trench depth with the half moon edger if needed.
5. Recut your edges each spring if needed.
Read Part 2 – How to refresh flower bed edges HERE
How to create flower bed edging like a pro!
- garden hose or rope
How to cut flower bed edges
- Create the shape of your flowerbed with a garden hose or rope.
- Insert a half moon edger into the ground, then cut along your guide. Use the edge of the blade for continuous cuts, like cutting a cake with a knife.
- Remove the chunks of turf, breaking them up into smaller pieces.
- Turn turf pieces over, removing as much soil as possible. Place turf upside down in the compost.
- Using a garden trowel, create a shallow trench along the fresh cut, mounding the soil up towards the flowerbed.
- With garden shears, trim the grass edges horizontally and vertically to create a super crisp edge in both directions. Do not trim the grass on an angle.
- Hand-scoop up the grass clippings.
How to Maintain
- When it's time to mow the lawn, cut as close to the flower bed edge as possible.
- Trim the rest of the uncut grass with hand sheers or a weed trimmer.
- Cut the flower bed edge horizontally and vertically to achieve the sharpest look.
- Recut flower bed edges each spring to maintain.
And now it’s time to rest up from the backyard flower bed edging until next time. Well done, Jenna!
I hope you found these garden edging ideas helpful and you’ll give it a go! And don’t forget to come back to report your success!
Take my 2011 FULL garden tour (as seen above)
Do you edge your flower beds? What are your secrets?
Be sure to visit How to freshen up flowerbed edges like a pro – part 2
Other popular outdoor projects to make:
Make this adorable Potting Shed rake sign – tutorial HERE
Find the Potting Shed stencil (and all my others!) HERE
Make this easy pallet wood garden walkway in minutes!
Make this garden-themed reclaimed wood walkway
2 pallet outdoor sofa – so easy to make!
Make this cool reclaimed wood fence without cutting any boards!
303 thoughts on “How to create flower bed edging like a pro!”
wow, you did an amazing job. It looks like a magazine shoot. Thanks so much for the step by step tut. I think I can do this.
I really need to do this with my garden beds. Thanks for the tutorial!
What a timely post! I’ve recently noticed that the garden needs new crisp edges, but rather than digging in, I’ve ignored it, preferring to take bike rides instead….promising to get to it later. You’ve given me the incentive to get to work. Thanks to you, and to your brother for sharing!
Looks good – but grass grows within a week. How often do you have to clip this then- weekly? Yikes!
Hey Linda! Yes, it’s like any grass trimming. When it looks fuzzy, it needs a trim. 🙂 If you use sheers that cut while standing up, it’s pretty much a breeze to keep up!
Pro Donna. When can you come over to do mine?
So glad to see this!! I will be trying it your way. Now, do you have a really easy, great way for getting rid of Monkey grass gone wild? Have a great week, Donna! Best, Vicki
I edge all of my beds too. I use a shovel – it just works easier for me (maybe it’s th soil too). It takes a while but sooo worth it! Thanks for the tips on trimming – I will certainly be doing that. What a difference!
This is great! Who would have thought it would be so easy? Thank you so much!
I fell in love with your edging technique when you shared it many moons ago but I don’t think I caught the trimming of the grass by hand part – THANK YOU for sharing. Can’t wait to get outside and give it a try!
It’s really beautiful. I wish I HAD grass to edge and blog about. I live in Phoenix and have a rock yard. Yuk.
Great tutorial. Thanks for the info. I would love to know the names of some of the flowers that you have in this area. Thanks for sharing. Have a great week.
Hey Donna! the garden edges look wonderful.
So… what if you don’t have grass?
we have a brick side walk out front and a concrete patio pavers in the back… would you cut next to the brick and make that straight? and hill up towards the dirt/ or grass? away from the concrete?
I’m going to try this. It can’t hurt and hopefully it will make it all look so much nicer!
Yes, absolutely I’d try that! A trenched edge really looks smart against any surfaces. You’ll be amazed at the difference. 🙂
That looks fantastic Donna!! Thanks for sharing!
We did this with an “edger” machine we rented when we first did our garden beds, but they have slowly grown back. Great tip on how to refresh that look again! I’m gonna go do that today.
Oh how I wish creeping charlie would follow the rules! (or die already!!) I trench. It still does what it wants! Someday I will win the battle! Great post and truly a fantastic idea.
Wonderful step by step and just what my gardens need! As soon as it cools a bit (weather wise) I’ll be trying this – Thank You So Much!!!!
I noticed your garden bed edges in the background of your “pallet walkway redo”. I had garden edge envy, thanks for the tutorial on how to achieve this. clean crisp look.
I really need a garden. Yours is so pretty with that yellow ivy crawling around.
What a huge difference that makes, Donna! It looks fabulous! Thanks for the great tip! 🙂
This is brilliant!!! Now can you come and do mine?Seriously I must be doing something wrong.I do this every year and it never looks as nice as yours.What kind of edger is that?Where did you buy it?Maybe I am using the wrong kind.
Thanks Anne! It’s nothing fancy, just a standard schmandard half moon edger. Stomp down straight down for nice clean cuts further into the grassy side and you’ll achieve your desired edge.