Edging for Garden Paths

Edging a garden bed creates a definitive line between the garden and the lawn. Edging will prevent grass and weeds from creeping into the garden bed and also prevents the mulch from moving out of the bed and into the lawn. Landscaping stones and pavers are used to edge a garden and give a decorative look. More utilitarian border edging comes in lengths of plastic, steel or aluminium. No decorative materials are needed, however, if the edging is done properly.

Shape the garden bed by spray painting a line to indicate the garden edge. Remove the sod that's inside the garden line, and till the soil before you start the edging.

Use a half-moon edger to dig straight down into the edge of the garden bed; follow the paint line as you cut. As indicated by the name, the edger has a half moon-shaped cutting edge below with a curled lip on top to allow you to step into the cut, just as you would with a shovel. You should cut straight down at least 3 inches to expose the grass roots.

Cut into the soil again, but at an angle now, all along the bottom of the cut edge to separate the edged sod and soil from the bed. Then remove it. Level out the soil remaining in the garden by using the back of a metal rake. Add mulching material to the bed.

Stomp down on the mulch at the edge of the bed, keeping 3 inches of soil above the mulch line. A lip is formed, leaving a sunken garden bed and providing the clean edge line preferred by homeowners and landscapers. No border edging materials are needed unless you prefer a decorative touch.

Dig a trench along the border of the garden bed to line its edge with decorative pavers. Dig the trench as wide as the pavers and 6 inches deep. Lay a weed fabric on the bottom of the trench and fill the trench with sand. This 4-inch layer of sand will prevent grass roots spreading from the lawn into the garden bed.

Position the bricks in the trench, and level. Tamp the bricks or stones with a rubber mallet to adjust the level of the border edging.

Fill the edges around the border bricks with soil. Stomp down around the border edging to secure the bricks in place.

Prep the edge by digging 6 inches straight down along the garden bed border. Then cut again at an angle all along the bottom of the cut edge, and remove this soil and sod. Push the remaining loose soil away from the edges into the garden bed, leaving a clean straight edge.

Insert the edging into the trough. The rolled upper lip should stick up ½ inch above the edge of the bed. Be sure to face the lip toward the garden bed, not the lawn.

Insert the first stake a few inches from the start of the edging, and then one every 7 feet. Hammer the pointed part into the soil, pounding it through the V in the bottom of the edging, at a nearly parallel 25-degree angle. (Be sure the bent part where you hammer is facing down.) Push the loose soil from the garden bed against the edging border and stomp down to pack the dirt tightly against the border edging.

Remove enough sod to keep the garden bed and lawn even. Level out the remaining soil in the garden bed with the back of a metal rake. Spray water all around the edging to help settle and pack the soil. Add mulch to the bed and stomp on the edges of the mulch to secure the border edging in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray paint
  • Half-moon edger
  • Metal rake
  • Mulch
  • Shovel
  • Weed fabric
  • Sand
  • Bricks or pavers
  • Level
  • Rubber mallet
  • Aluminium, steel or plastic edging
  • Edging stakes
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About the Author

Laurie Durkee has been a freelance writer since 2009. She is published on eHow, where she specializes in gardening, home decorating and home improvement. Durkee attended classes in behavioral science at Southern Maine Community College.