Homeowners regularly ask me, “What’s an easy and affordable way to make my landscaping look nicer?”

One thing I generally suggest is to establish (or re-establish) your landscaping bed edges. Doing so provides a clean look and can make even the worst lawns look fantastic.

Creating a landscaping bed edge is a relatively easy process for a DIY project, and can be done for very little money. My wife Julie and I recently tackled a section of yard at our house in Knoxville, Tenn. to establish a new landscaping bed. Here’s what we did:

Step 1

mark-the-bed-lineFirst, it’s important to mark the bed line before you begin — even if you’re working along an existing bed. It’s easy to veer off course so having a line to follow will help you stay on track.

Step 2

spray-or-pull-the-weeds-or-grassNext, get rid of any grass (or in our case, weeds!) inside the bed line. This can be done with a chemical herbicide or if you prefer a less toxic approach, vinegar is a great choice. You can also pull weeds by hand. We used a combination of the two.

Step 3

cut-a-45-degree-angle-outside-bedOur goal was to establish a hand-cut V-trench. To begin cutting the bed edge, start on the lawn side of the bed line. Using a regular shovel or heavy spade, make a cut at a 45 degree angle. You’ll work this way along the entire length of the bed edge.

Step 4

cut-along-the-inside-of-the-bedThen, standing in the planting bed, you’ll repeat the process to create a V-shaped trench, removing the soil as you go. If the soil is free of weeds, you can simply spread it inside the bed. If it contains grass or weeds, I suggest you remove it completely.

Step 5

clean-out-the-trenchBefore the last step, be sure to clean up the edge by shaving off any high spots with your shovel and removing excess soil. You should now have a clean trench that follows along the line you initially painted on the ground.

Step 6

fill-the-bed-with-mulch Lastly, you’ll fill the bed with mulch, letting it fall into the trench which provides a stopping place and keeps the mulch in the bed rather than in your lawn.

You’ll notice that the finished product here looks a bit like a putting green. In the golf course design industry (where I worked for five years) it’s called targeted turf — a look I use regularly when creating bed lines for residential projects.

If you have questions about working on your bed edges contact us anytime. We can also help you lay out your bed lines and choose appropriate plants for your new space. Check out our Services page to learn more.

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