4 Tips for Creating the Perfect Landscaping Bed

Flowers, shrubs, trees, and bushes receive much attention this time of year, but the secret to attractive landscaping lies in the beds (pun intended). Clean lines, sharp edges, and dark, rich mulch can make plants pop and create a dynamic, professional appearance in yards of any size or shape.

This article outlines four keys that will transform your landscaping into the envy of the neighborhood.


1.     Start with an Outline

Well-defined lines are a staple of good design, and knowing how to properly edge flower and tree beds helps create the perfect “frame” for plants. Though it might seem like meticulous edging is complex and better left to the pros, the reality is anyone can do it. If it’s your first edging attempt, don’t rush the process. Take the time to outline your desired bed boundaries before putting any tools into the ground.

Whether you use a garden hose, lawn paint, rope, or something else you find lying around the garage, the old adage of “measure twice, cut once” applies. Proper preparation gives you the necessary visual to start your project on the right foot.

2.     Use Proper Edging Techniques

Once you’ve identified the lines you’re trying to cut, it’s time to pick up your edging tool. If you don’t already have one, the good news is there are many tools available for the job, so feel free to choose the one that feels most comfortable in your hands.

Pick Your Starting Spot 

Once you’ve chosen your instrument, find a spot on your predetermined outline and insert the slicing tool into the ground firmly at a 90-degree angle. Make sure to push straight down until your slicer is firmly in the ground.

Create the Divide Between Lawn and Soil

The next step involves creating the “edge” where the bed stops and your lawn begins. While your edger is in the ground, push the soil away from the edge you’ve just cut. Feel free to repeat steps one and two until your edge is the desired compared to the height of the bed.

Move on to the Lawn

Before putting an artificial barrier in place (or going with a natural edge), ensure your lawn is evenly trimmed at the border. A string trimmer, such as a weed whacker, is an ideal machine for the job. Think twice before using a traditional lawnmower, as they cut horizontally rather than vertically. This makes it challenging to get the clean vertical edge that is the trademark of a well-edged bed.

3.     Prep Your Bed

Now that you’ve sharpened the edges, you’re ready to prepare your landscaping bed for soil and flowers. First, cut the turf out of the inside of your bed and deepen the area to about 4 inches below where your lawn begins. Though you want this area to be relatively flat, don’t tamp down the soil, as tightly compacted soil can create a suboptimal plant-growing environment.

Once you’ve prepped the inside of your bed, take another look at the edges and consider one last round of vertical lawn trimming. Like all great art, creating a masterpiece lies in the details!

4.     Fill It In

Finally, you’ve made it to the fun part – it’s almost time to add plants! But before planting and watering, ensure you’ve added a fresh layer of nutrient-rich soil and mulch to your bed. Young plants are delicate, and providing them with a healthy growing environment significantly increases your chances of planting success. Additionally, if you’re concerned about weeds, laying a weed mat down can help prevent unwanted vegetation.

If you’re planting potted garden plants, carefully remove them from the container and place them in an appropriately sized hole in your garden. Give plants some space to breathe by not crowding them too close together. If you need more planting help, you can usually find additional instructions on plant tags, so consult these handy guides whenever they’re available. If you’re planting seeds (as opposed to container plants), the process is slightly different, but again, you should be able to find directions on the seed packet.

After your plants are in the ground, it’s crucial to soak the surrounding soil thoroughly. The last step involves adding an extra layer of mulch, or shredded bark can help the soil retain moisture and prevent plants from drying out.

Better Landscaping Begins at Bushelman Supply

Our mission is to make residential and commercial outdoor spaces beautiful. For nearly a century, we’ve served the Greater Cincinnati area with the industry’s best materials and service at competitive prices.

Before you begin your project, contact a Bushelman Supply team member today by filling out a form online or calling (513) 771-9121 to see how we can help you get it done right, on time, and within your budget.