How to Edge Flower Beds


Edging around flower beds adds a polished look to the home landscape. The creation of a neat border along the garden edge draws attention upward to ornamental shrubs and flowering plants. Edging flower beds involves the use of a spade shovel to create a trench between the mulch and grass areas of a property. Trench edging creates a beautiful line that limits the loss of mulch out of the garden and inhibits grass intrusion as well. Digging an edge allows the gardener an affordable alternative to more expensive brick, wood or plastic edging materials.

Step 1

Determine the location of the garden edge by outlining the garden with a garden hose. Using hose or twine allows you to make adjustments as well as follow a set outline during digging to maintain the garden shape.

Step 2

Stretch out the plastic tarp near your work space for piling excess dirt and grass. Using a tarp keeps dirt clumps out of the grass and makes cleanup easier.

Step 3

Pick a section of the garden and position the spade shovel blade 6 inches from the edge of the garden bed. Angle the shovel to 30 degrees and step down on the shovel to a depth of 6 inches. This motion digs an angled trench along the garden edge to denote a sharp line between the grass and garden area. Lift the grass and dirt clod and place it onto the tarp.

Step 4

Switch to the edging shovel for the next cut into the ground. Step down on the edging shovel at a 30-degree angle and remove the grass onto the tarp. Edging shovels dig in a straight line to create sharp edges around the garden. Edging can be accomplished with a spade shovel but you'll need to cut out the curved areas caused by the shape of the shovel blade.

Step 5

Proceed around the entire garden, cutting the edging trench around the planting bed.

Step 6

Separate the grass clumps from the plain dirt on the tarp. Break up thick clumps with the rake and shovel. Return this soil to the garden and smooth the surface with a rake.

Step 7

Apply a layer of mulch to the garden surface. Pull the mulch forward to the front edge of the trench and allow a small amount of mulch to cover the inside lip of the trench. This layer of mulch will discourage grass incursion into the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose or twine
  • Plastic tarp
  • Spade shovel
  • Flat-blade edging shovel
  • Rake
  • Mulch


  • Utah State University: Edging
  • Texas A&M University: Low Maintenance Landscape Tips
Keywords: edge flower beds, garden edging, edging

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.