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A clean landscape edge offers a distinct boundary between the grass and mulch covering the area. This provides additional aesthetic appeal to the space and makes your lawn look like it was laid down by a professional landscaper. The only problem is that it’s not easy adding that edge without the right know-how and equipment.
Here’s how to edge between grass and mulch:
- Gather your tools.
- Mark out the edge.
- Cut your edge.
- Remove the turf.
- Create a 90° angle at the edge.
- Trim the edge.
- Lay down the mulch.
- Add finishing touches.
- Maintain the edge.
Continue reading for the complete guide on creating an edge between grass and mulch. In the following sections, I’ll go through everything you need to learn, from the tools you’ll need for the job to how you can get it done. I’ll even give you some pointers on the upkeep of a well-maintained edge.
1. Gather Your Tools
The first step in creating a stylish edge on your lawn is gathering the tools and equipment you’ll use for the job.
Here’s everything that you need to edge between grass and mulch:
- Cutting Tool
- Rope / Garden Hose
You have a couple of options when it comes to the cutting tools you can use to create the edge. You can use a spade, although it isn’t the most precise choice. Alternatively, you can use a half-moon edger which is a specialized hand tool. Half-moon edges are best suited for straight cutting lines.
Mechanical edgers are another option and are more accurate than hand-held tools; they’re also better equipped for cutting curves. Not to mention the time and sweat you save using the machine.
Here’s a couple of options:
- Greenworks 12 Amp Electric Edger (link to Amazon) is a cheap but accurate machine that could save you hours maintaining the edges on your property. This machine is powered by electricity and has wheels attached for easy usage. To top it off, the device features several blades so you can get the ideal finish for your lawn. Just remember it runs off an extension cord so you are limited somewhat.
- Colwelt Saw-Tooth Edger (link to Amazon) is a handheld device used to create edges in your garden. This device is a half-moon edger, and it’s highly effective at efficiently removing thick soil layers. This tool looks and functions much like a spade, only smaller and easier to operate when edging your lawn.
You need the rope or garden hose to mark out the edges of your lawn. Make sure the piece of rope or garden hose you select is long enough to cover the entire length of your edge. Otherwise, the edge will bend to one side and look poorly constructed.
Then, of course, you will need mulch to fill in the gaps created by making the edge. You can use whatever mulch you usually have on hand, and you do not need specialized mulch for this process.
2. Mark Out the Edge
Once you’ve gathered everything you need, it’s time to get started. The first thing that you need to do is mark out the edge. This sounds pretty simple, but if you make even a minor error, it can spoil the result.
Follow these steps to mark out the edge between grass and mulch:
- Get a long piece of thick rope or a garden hose
- Pick where you want the edge
- Make a mark at the top and bottom of your lawn along where the edge will go
- For a straight edge, pull the rope or hose to tension and place it along with the marks
- For curved edges, lay the rope/hose down along where you want the curves to go
A thick rope is always a better option than string, as it allows you to see where you need to make your cut more clearly. Then once you’ve decided where the edge will go, use another item or make an indent at the top and bottom of the lawn.
To ensure that your edge is at the right angle and straight, pull the rope or hose right before placing it along with the marks. For best results, you should make more indents along the line of the rope to ensure that your edge comes out straight and professional-looking.
3. Cut Your Edge
Finally, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Grab your cutting tool of choice and get to work. You will cut along one side of the rope or garden hose you’ve already laid down.
When you’re cutting using the half-moon edger or a spade, take your time and ensure that you are following the line that you marked out. If you cut too far back with either tool, you may have to move the whole edge around to compensate for your mistake. In other words, you’ll need to start again.
If you use a machine for the job, you can quickly push it along the wedge you’ve marked. Pay attention to following the line and don’t force the tool too soon as it could cause damage.
The cut you make in the grass should be at least 4″-6″ (10-15cm) deep. Moreover, ensure that your amount goes along the entire length of your edge. Otherwise, the border will not look right.
4. Remove the Turf
Once you cut your lawn along the edge from top to bottom, you will need to remove the turf where you plan to put the mulch. You can use a garden trowel or even a spade to speed this process along. Alternatively, you can pull the unwanted turf out with your hands.
If you already have a garden bed where you plan on mulching, you won’t have much turf to pull up. However, if you’re creating a bed or mulching over what used to be grass, you will need to remove all of the grass beyond where you cut.
If you leave some of the turfs in place too close to the edge, the grass will grow back and spoil the aesthetics of your edge.
5. Create a 90° Angle at the Edge
In order for the edge in your garden to achieve its desired effect, you will need to ensure that you get the angle right. For best results, go for a 90° drop at the edge of the grass. This offers a sharp contrast between the green grass and the bark mulch, and it ensures that the design remains intact for longer.
This stage in the process is time-consuming, but it’s imperative that you get it right. You’ll need to create a right angle along the entire edge from top to bottom. The result of this process is a wall of turf with grass popping out on top.
Repeat this process across the entire edge for the best results, and take the time to make sure you get the angle right. If the angle is not at a sharp 90 degrees, the edge may grow out quickly, or look poorly done (source).
6. Trim the Edge
After creating your angle along the edge, it’s time to trim the grass. Cutting the grass that sticks out over the edge will further highlight the edge in your garden and ensure that you get excellent-looking results.
Use a garden shear to cut the grass poking over the edge. To do this, you’ll need to hold the sheets perpendicular to the lawn, with the top of the blades on the floor at the base of the edge. Snip along the entire length of the edge to ensure you’ve gotten everything.
You may need to repeat this step to ensure that you haven’t missed any patches. If you do miss a patch, it will likely be clearly visible and hard to miss again.
7. Lay Down the Mulch
After trimming the last bit of grass, the edge is now complete. However, your work is not finished yet. You still have to add the mulch. Adding mulch to your garden provides numerous benefits not only for the garden itself but for the edge as well. Mulch is readily available in local garden stores or online suppliers.
Pour the mulch into the flower bed and distribute it evenly across the surface, only leaving out a space of about 2 inches (5.08 cm) along the edge. It’s essential that you leave enough space between the edge and the mulch, as failing to do so can cause your edge to fail.
If the mulch comes too close to the grass, the grass may grow across, eliminating the edge you’ve just created. Similarly, if the mulch is too far away from the edge, weeds will grow in the gap and spoil all of your hard work.
Adding mulch to the flower bed also prevents weeds from growing, which protects your garden’s overall aesthetic. Mulch is also packed full of nutrients that your plants, flowers, and bushes will thrive on.
Here are a couple of popular mulch varieties you can buy online:
- Wood Smith 100% Natural Cedar Shavings (link to Amazon) is an affordable and environmentally friendly variety of mulch available online. This product is entirely natural and consists of wood shavings. These shavings function excellently as mulch, but they also look fantastic, especially next to your new edge.
- International Mulch Rubberific Rubber Mulch (link to Amazon) is an earth-colored mulch that is made entirely out of rubber. One of the main benefits of using rubber is the fact that it won’t break down and lose its visual appeal in a matter of weeks. On top of this, the product is available at a highly reasonable price.
8. Add finishing Touches
You’re almost finished. All that’s left to do now is some finishing touches to make the edge stand out and look distinct. You have a few options you can pick from to get the most out of your new edge in your garden.
You can place landscape rocks like limestone in the mulch close to the edge. The bright color of the limestone will add to the overall atmosphere and aesthetic of your garden. Alternatively, you could use the edges of your property as a walkway.
Whatever you choose to do for your edges, taking the time to fix the little things will guarantee an excellent result. To finish the project, go back along the edge to triple-check that you’ve managed to trim all of the grass and that your edge is at the correct angle of 90° to prevent wear and tear.
9. Maintain the Edge
Maintaining your edge after you’ve created it is not a particularly difficult task. The majority of the maintenance process involves trimming the edge for stray pieces of grass that have overgrown. This process is similar to the one mentioned above and needs to be carried out once every few weeks for the best results.
If you don’t provide your garden edge with the maintenance and care it deserves, then it quickly breaks down. As a result, all of your hard work will go to waste, and the aesthetic appeal that the edge offers will be lost.
Another critical factor in maintaining your edge is ensuring that you keep the right angle shape. You will need to reshape the angle every few weeks with a trowel or shovel to keep it intact for a longer time.
Edging between grass and mulch can be a tricky affair for most gardeners. However, if you have the right skills, knowledge, and tools for the job, you can get it done relatively quickly. Remember these key points when edging a gap between grass and mulch on your property:
- Mark out your edges using a garden hose or rope.
- Cut the edges along the lines using an edger or other cutting tool.
- Remove excess dirt and align the angle to 90°.
- Trim any excess grass.
- Lay down the mulch.
- Add some finishing touches and maintain the feature.