How to Edge Lawns and Flower Beds With a Dinner Knife
How to Edge a Flower Bed
If you have flower beds or borders in a lawn, you know how the grass at the edges can become ragged and unsightly over time. Edging the border between bed and lawn will help to visually define the boundary, adding to its aesthetic appeal. This guide shows you step by step how to edge beds with a knife in a way which allows easy maintenance in the future.
- Sharp-edged knife
- Garden hand trowel or spade
- Optionally, a hose or marking paint
Step 1: First, You Need to Mark out the Perimeter of the Bed
A flexible garden hose is ideal for this, or you can use a can of marking paint, available from any hardware store. If you have a good eye, you can dispense with the hose or paint and work freehand. Lay out the hose on the lawn and adjust it to to the desired contour for the bed.
Step 2: Use a Spade, Edging Tool, or Sharp Knife For Edging
A spade can be used for cutting through the sod and edging the bed, however an unorthodox solution is to use a very sharp knife; a dinner knife with a handle is ideal. You need to have a razor sharp edge on the knife so that it will cut freely through the sod. You can sharpen the knife on a bench grinder or use a handheld carborundum stone as used for sharpening garden tools.
Step 3: While Holding the Knife Firmly, Plunge It Into the Sod and Then Pull It Towards You at a 45 Degree Angle
Use a sawing motion (as if you were cutting a Christmas cake!) to bypass any stones in the soil. If you hit any large rocks, remove the knife and cut a couple of inches further down along the hose. Use the hose as a rough guide.
Step 4: Once You Have Cut Down Into the Sod, You Need to Undercut It
This can be done with a spade or hand trowel (planter). Push the trowel under the sod and scoop it out.
You have an edged bed with a neat cliff or kerb effect! Now all you need to do is slope the soil in the bed upwards and backwards from the base of the "cliff". Maintenance of this edge is now easy since the bed is lower than the lawn and the grass can be trimmed with a string trimmer (strimmer). You will need to do this periodically to maintain the definition of the edge.
Use Mulch to Suppress and Deter Weeds
You can use grass clippings, bark mulch, or chipped branches as a mulch, spread on the bare soil around the edge of the bed. This helps to prevent weeds from growing and maintains the clean appearance of the edging.
Check out this guide on how to make chippings using a small electric chipper.
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© 2013 Eugene Brennan