How to Keep Lawn Edges Neat

How to Keep Lawn Edges Neat and Tidy

Tidy edges give any lawn or garden space a crisp and well-maintained appearance. You get a lot of bang for your buck when you put the effort into creating these clean lines. They have a way of elevating the space and making it look fresh with just a little bit of effort. This article will offer actionable tips to show you how to keep lawn edges neat and tidy.

Trust and Accuracy Information

This article was last updated on by Lawn Chick Owner Sarah Jameson
Article content reviewed for accuracy by Horticulturist Arthur Davidson, A.S.

Whether you have an existing space that you’d like to clean up or you need to create a crisp edge from scratch, there are a number of ways to accomplish this.

It is relatively simple to get and keep tidy edges to your lawn and garden beds by following some basic principles. is reader supported. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Creating Clean Borders and Edges

A solid foundation can make maintaining crisp edges even easier. A poorly shaped garden bed or lawn edge makes it difficult to keep things looking neat and tidy.

So even if you have an existing garden bed, a few adjustments can make all the difference.

Laying Out a New Garden Bed

If you are planning the layout for a new garden bed which abuts your lawn, it can be helpful to use a long garden hose to define where you will be cutting your edges.

This allows you to step back, and get a feel for how your garden will look. Take the time to think about whether curves and corners will be difficult to mow with your riding or walk-behind mower.

Creating Your New Lawn Edge

Once you’re happy with your layout, manually use an edger or a spade to cut the edges and dig up the lawn (I have this one from Amazon and love it).

Alternatively, you can use a motorized trencher/edger like this Black+Decker Model to cut the edges.

Using a Power Edger for Neat and Tidy Lawn Edges

The advantage of the latter, in addition to saving time and energy, is that it tends to cut smoother lines than manually edging with a spade or edger (though it takes some practice to master).

You can follow up by using garden shears or a string trimmer to cut any remaining grass and ensure a smooth edge, particularly if you have gone the manual route.

Opt for Gentle Curves

As I mentioned, one critical step when laying out and edging a lawn or garden edge is to avoid creating any curves that are less than 90 degrees. Acute angles are virtually impossible to mow in because the mower itself is square.


As you dig up the turf for your new lawn edge, it is important to dig to a depth of 4 to 6 inches for your new garden bed.

This will allow for space to add fills like soil, compost or manure, and mulch without spilling over your newly created edge. And it keeps lawn grass that spreads via rhizomes from creeping into your garden bed.

A trench also supports garden health by promoting proper water drainage to prevent root rot or other diseases. It also discourages plants from growing too close to your edging and killing your lawn grass by blocking the sunlight.

The fill that you add to your garden bed should naturally slope towards the trench without meeting the edge of it. You can push the fill back up onto the garden bed to create the trench as well.

If you find that you have too much fill, haven’t cut a deep enough trench, but digging a deep trench is one way I know how to keep lawn edges neat.

Edging Materials to Create a Tidy Lawn Edge

There are a number of options available when it comes to edging materials. Depending on the aesthetic you’d like for your yard and what your skill level is, any of these will help you maintain smooth, neat, and attractive lawn edges.

The designs available for each of these materials can vary widely from being quite simple to more ornate configurations, and the price-point will vary as well.

Hardscaped Lawn Edges

Brick or stonework is a popular choice, but can also be expensive. There are prefabricated stone or brick edgings in various designs, or it’s possible to use reclaimed stone or brick.

Concrete options made to look like brick or stone are cheaper and can offer the same look.

Hardscaped Lawn Borders

Most of these options can simply be laid out along the edge of your garden. A trench can help to keep them in the spot that you’ve chosen, even if you decide to add more fill after installing.

Wooden Lawn Edges

Wood is another option, most commonly seen as wooden beams or landscape timbers used along edges that are completely straight.

These are easy to install and can do an excellent job of containing a garden or a lawn. I have pressure treated landscape timbers that I got from Home Depot separating the pea-gravel which surrounds my raised beds from my lawn, and they have worked well for me.

The one drawback with wood is that it doesn’t really work on curved edges if you want a smooth and crisp edge.

Strip Edging for Garden Beds

Strip edging is made of a few different materials. You can use plastic, vinyl, rubber, or metal.

You’ll install it at least a couple of inches into the ground to work. It is another very effective way to keep garden edges looking clean, though a mower or string trimmer can tear up plastic edging in a hurry if you’re not careful.

You can choose to have strip edging installed deep enough to be flush with the ground or leave a portion of it above ground (my preferred look when using metal).

Recycled Materials

You are not limited to conventional materials for edging. Consider using recycled materials if you are creatively inclined.

Keeping Lawn Edges Neat with Recycled Materials

You can use recycled glass bottles, inexpensive terra cotta pots, and even gathered sea shells or river rock embedded into a mortar bed. This can become a durable, artistic, and one-of-a-kind lawn edge.

Plan Your Lawn Edges Appropriately

You can move around any and all of these options if need be. But they can be time-consuming to shift around. So it’s important to finalize your plan and placement before installation.

This is particularly true for strip edging that needs to be embedded into the earth.

Depending on the design of your garden and the edging material you use for your lawn, you may have also bought shaped pieces (for example, of stonework) that are specifically configured to the shape of the existing edge.

This makes it difficult to move them around to different parts of your yard if you choose to change the edge.

How to Keep Lawn Edges Neat With Proper Maintenance

Once you have properly established and installed your garden edging, maintenance can be relatively simple.

At least annually, it is good practice to use an edger, a spade, or shears to go around the edge and sharpen up the cut.

This is a great way to clean up areas that may have become overgrown through the Fall or Winter months.

If you notice patches of grass that have overgrown the edging, then cut out any chunks of offending turf.

Neat Lawn Edges Along a Garden Bed

Plants or shrubbery may also overgrow their edges in some cases. This can also be easily remedied by transplanting them deeper into the garden or trimming them back each spring.

Some plants, such as shrubs, can be divided as they are being transplanted, so you end up with bonus plants!

You can also help to maintain the edging by paying closer attention each time you mow the lawn. Check the edges as you go and get out the string trimmer or garden shears wherever you happen to notice some overgrowth.

Staying on top of it when you’re outside anyways can go a long way to preventing a big cleanup job each season.

Final Thoughts on Maintaining a Crisp Lawn Edge

Having neat and tidy edges in your yard helps to keep it looking like a well-groomed lawn and garden.

It is easier and less costly than you might think to keep edges looking pristine. This is particularly true if you choose to use a manual edger, spade, or garden shears to do the edging work.

Reclaimed edging materials (if you choose to use them at all) can also keep costs more manageable.

A few simple rules can also make a big difference in how easy it is to maintain your yard. The most important one is avoiding any curves or corners that are less than a 90 degree right angle. With the exception of a raised garden bed, a trench is also an important feature that makes maintaining a crisp edge in your lawn an easier task.

The good news is that you have options, and that you can be flexible with how you edge your lawn.

Even yards with natural looking pollinator gardens or wildflower beds can benefit from some of these edging techniques to elevate their appearance. 

At Lawn Chick, I am committed to publishing accurate, useful, and trustworthy resources for my readers. As part of this commitment, I’ve invited subject matter experts to review our articles for accuracy. I invite you to read our editorial policy and publishing standards which outlines in detail how every article on this site is sourced, edited, fact-checked, and vetted.



Sarah Jameson’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

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