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How to Dig a Trench for Flower Beds

By Tanya Khan ; Updated September 21, 2017

Flower beds enhance the landscape and give the lawn a well-groomed, manicured and organized look. Instead of growing flowers all over the lawn, assigning them a designated area next to a wall or in a corner helps define the landscape. They define an area where the lawn stops and only flowers that include annuals, perennials and biennials grow. Flower bed edging prevents mulch from spreading into the lawn, and grass and weeds from growing in the flower bed.

Determine the location and size of the flower beds. Do you want to line them against a boundary wall or around a tree trunk? Be sure your flower bed has no water or utility lines underneath.

Mark the location with spray paint or powdered chalk. The shape of the bed should compliment the surrounding landscape.

Remove the grass. Use a flat-bladed spade or straight shovel to dig down 4 to 5 inches around the marked perimeter.

Lift an edge of the sod with the tip of the spade, roll it carefully and place it in a wheelbarrow.

Continue digging another 4 inches until the entire flower bed is stripped, and collect the soil in a wheelbarrow. Remove rocks, debris and old roots, and break up large clods of soil into smaller pieces as you dig.

Add 5 to 6 inches of compost or other organic matter such as manure to the trench to enrich the soil and prepare it for planting. Add any soil amendments required for the flowers you want to grow such as peat moss, bone meal or lime.

Mix the added material to the soil in the flower bed with a garden fork or rake.

Dig a trench 2 inches deep and 4 inches wide around the flower bed to install the wood, stone, metal, clay or plastic edging. Back fill with soil to secure the edging.


Things You Will Need

  • Spray paint or powdered chalk
  • Gloves
  • Shovel or spade
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Compost or organic matter
  • Garden fork
  • Edging


  • Water the area where you want to dig the flower bed a day or two in advance to loosen the soil.

About the Author


Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.