Edging Turf

The question I am asked most frequently about my garden...is not the name of this or that plant...or pest...or source... but the technique I use to edge my beds. (You men are particularly curious about this.)

I first saw this type of bed definition in Scotland at an old monastery, and I took great pains to try and deconstruct exactly what it was about this look that was so appealing, and how they went about achieving it.

It's pretty well known in my gardening circles that I am no fan of plastic or metal edging (except, of course, when it is for a utilitarian use  and absolutely necessary.)  I  find it unattractive and sometimes dangerous, as debris ricocheting off the hard metal surface while edging up against it can be quite a hazard. I have personal knowledge of this. You can put your eye out!)

I prefer stone or brick or, most often, nothing at all.

Relatively little time and labor is involved... and the super clean, manicured, well-groomed definition it gives your turf makes it worth the effort.

Here's the how-to:

Either use you existing bed line as a guide, or use a supple garden hose to create your new bed outline.
(In most cases, aim for a sweeping, long smooth curve
that will enable you to maneuver easily with your lawn mower and edger or grass trimmer.)

Using a shovel (any size will do, though I prefer a slightly 
smaller one) dig a trench along the curve (you will be facing the flower bed).

Try to dig down 4 to 6 inches, then lift and remove the excess grass and soil. (You can use these sprigs to patch bare areas in your lawn.) 

As you continue to do this along the curve

you are creating a trench or void that spreading turf, like bermuda or Zoysia, will have to 'hop' to then spread into the garden bed. 

Before it does so, you just trim or edge along this green line to keep the turf in its place.

Periodically (like right now) you may need to do this trenching again to redefine and clean up the trench/bed line.  Otherwise, it just requires regular tending/trimming.

You can see the end result in these pictures.  Even when I use stone as a border, I leave some space in between the stone and grass...again, to enhance the definition, and also give some room for certain plants to 'spill over'  without growing into the grassy turf.

The beauty of this technique is that the definition of the border remains all year long -- looking tidy and well kept even when the turf and beds look less than their best.

Or in winter, when all is brown and dull.  The definition and form remain.

Does it need periodic tending to keep weeds out of this area?  Yes, I periodically take a hoe or such and 'skim' off any weeds that have the audacity to move in.  I do, however, enjoy and allow, certain flowers and  other plants to grow or self-seed in between the stones 

and in the trench itself.  I like the effect it creates.  Order, but not TOO much order.

So, for those of you out there who asked about it...

that is how I edge my turf.  :)