How to Edge a Flower Bed
By Jean D
, last updated August 8, 2011
Learning how to edge a flowerbed can help you keep your yard looking clean and tidy. A well-edged flowerbed can also keep grass from intruding your flowerbed and choking your plants, and a strong edge can keep water from running out of your flowerbeds and soaking the sidewalk. There are several options available, at varying prices. Some options will save you weeding time while others might actually increase the amount of time you spend weeding.
Some gardeners swear that a trench is the only thing you'll ever need to keep your flowerbeds looking clean and tidy. To dig a trench, stand outside your flowerbed and look in. Using a garden spade, dig down four inches all the way around the flowerbed. Then, move inside your garden and dig at an angle, so you've created a slope from your flowerbed to the straight edge of dirt on the other side. Fill that trench with a layer of pebbles or shells, and cover with a line of mulch. This is a relatively unobtrusive trench that you won't be able to see clearly from a distance, but you will help to trap water in your flowerbeds with this method. You'll have to weed out any grass or weeds that try to take root in the mulch layer.
Some gardeners prefer a rocky, natural border of rocks for their flowerbeds. The look is much more rigged and rustic than conventional edging, and it can give gardeners the country flavor they crave. This method works best with flowerbeds that are slightly tall, as small plants might get hidden behind the rocks. Buy many large river rocks from your gardening center or stone shop. Stack them carefully upon one another until they're about five inches off the ground. Do not cement them together in any way, and let them seem a bit wobbly and thrown together when you're done. Weeds and grasses do like to sprout in the shady spaces along your river rocks, so you'll be thankful that you didn't cement those stones together. You'll need to dismantle your wall periodically so you can truly remove the weeds at the roots. Since they won't be growing in a rich medium, they should pull right up on command.
Gardeners who are looking for a semi-permanent edging method that is easy to install and easy to weed around should consider plastic edging. This product often comes in one large sheet that can be unfurled and cut to fit the size of your flowerbed. Cut a narrow trench around your flowerbed to a depth of about four inches. Place the edging in the trench, and fill in the trench with dirt to hold the edging firmly in place. Most manufacturers supply small clips you can use to securely push the edging into the ground at regular intervals. This is a wonderful way to put in a quick, clean edge that will stay in place for years, and that's easy to weed around when you need to.