April 18

Fixing the edge on my front flower beds

Today in the garden, I decided I was going to fix the flower beds in front of the house. The two flower beds in front of the house, on either side of the stairway that lead to the front door, that have the daffodils and the tulips in them.

They had a lot of weeds and grass and I had bricks that I bought for their edging but nothing was quite done yet. It was all just kind of sitting there and it was overgrown and it didn't look good and the flowers are in bloom and it was time to get that area in front of the flowers all tidied up.

So, what I had to do first was get the bricks off of there because I had to fix that edge. There was a lot of grass growing inside of where I had the bricks that I still had to get rid of and I wanted to make a nice clean and defined edge so I know where the borders were. I love a well defined border. To me it acts the way a beautiful frame does for a painting.

So I started on one side I removed all the bricks that were there, because they were in the way for what I wanted to do, and at this point I wasn't sure how I was going to fit them back in - level with the grass, higher than the grass, etc. I would decide on that later. But, what I did know is that it was time to use my half moon edger and make a nice defined edge. So I started to cut into whatever grass there was that was there that shouldn’t have been. What I did was cut out sections with the half moon edger. I would cut squares or rectangles around 10 to 12 inches each and I would slide the edger under the grass and try to remove those grass areas and get rid of them.

I would use my hori hori and kind of pound on the soil to remove all the dirt that I could to save as much soil as I could, then toss the grass.

I found lots of worms in the soil, particularly right under the grass. I saved just about all of those I found in the sections of grass I cut out and put them back into the soil.

Now this procedure would change as I went on. I changed how I did it, essentially learning what worked best for me with the tools I had and for my body. I started to use my hori hori knife more and I was cutting the sod almost the same way as you would debone a chicken if you've ever done that. You have to slice the chicken meat away from the bone and I was cutting the sod it in a similar way. I was trying so hard to not lose any soil so I would slice the sod away from the soil. Frankly this was way too tedious and I hate when I get tedious it was one of my goals this year in my gardening to not be tedious. To do things that in an easier way for myself and I was breaking my own rule here.

I also happened to find out that Hori hori's are really sharp and I sliced my thumb. That's not something I thought I would ever do while gardening, but that's what happened. So I started to again change the process of how I was getting rid of the grass. I started to use the half moon edger in the same way as you would use a spade.

I started to cut into the grass. I was spading the grass without a spade. I would loosen the soil by sinking the blade into the grass and then kind of fold it in on itself as long as it was loosening up I could flip it and I could cut the roots. I was fine with it. You could see in the photos it worked out fine. I don't plan to put woodchip mulch on this area of the bed. I plan to leave this as soil for the most part and hoe it when weeds come out, so for that reason I need the soil very loose so a hoe can run through it very easily.

So I kept stabbing into the grass to loosen the soil and flip the grass over and eventually I got it to where I wanted it. The grass was eliminated and I had a nice clean edge. The half moon edger was working very well for this because, for me at least, it's very ergonomically efficient. Most of the work is done with my foot really and my body weight, so it's not very hard on my back.

Now I had to put the bricks back and I was still undecided about whether the bricks should be level with the grass or slightly lower than the grass or to have the bricks higher up than the grass creating a definitive hard structure border. I first put the bricks level with the grass actually they were slightly under and what happened was, when I backed up to see how it looked from the view that I was basing the design on - I always work from specific views. I guess that's the artist in me. I stand where the most likely view of the subject is to be seen from to see how it looks from that spot. In this case that would be well away from the border on the pathway leading up to the front door of my house. - So standing there and looking at this border I couldn't even see any bricks at all which was not what I wanted. I didn't buy the bricks to be a mowing border and to have just a strip where I could run one side of the lawn mower wheels over it. 

So I decided I wanted the bricks to be able to be seen. So I had a put some dirt back into the edge of where the grass ended so when the bricks would sit on that dirt they would be higher up and be visible. I like this because it uses the bricks as a decorative effect. So that's what I decided to do

That meant, in caring for the border, I’m going to have to do some trim work. But in my experience, no matter what type of an edge you have - whether it’s a natural grass edge or a hardscape edge of some type you have to use either a trimmer or an edger if you want to achieve a tidy clean line around your lawn. You're either going to have to tidy up the lawn borders by cutting grass that is going horizontally over the edge you made or grass that is against a hardscape border that the lawn mower can’t reach.

So I have my edge in. I have the bricks where I wanted them. I raked the soil out and everything finally looked neat and tidy and I'm really happy with how it came out. If I really like the brick edging after this season, I can always put them in more permanently with mortar. I'm going to keep it this way for this growing season and see how things go.


You may also like

Building out the mulch pathway

Building out the mulch pathway
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}