How to Edge with a Shovel

Are you looking to add a neat, manicured edge to the edges of your lawn or garden? If so, edging with a shovel is an easy and effective method of creating perfectly shaped borders. But first – what exactly is edging?

How to Edge with a Shovel

In essence, you are cutting into grass or soil to create a neat line between your garden beds and lawn. And by using a sharp spade or shovel, it’s simple to then create clean straight lines around flowerbeds and walkways that will keep weeds at bay while adding structure and sophistication. Read on for more advice on how to edge with a shovel with just one tool!

What Is the Best Shovel to Use for Edging?

When edging with a shovel, the most important factor to consider is the type and size of the shovel that will best suit your needs. For hardscaping borders, a long-handled square or round-point shovel is usually best. If you’re edging around flower beds or in tight spaces, then a small border spade or even a narrow trowel is ideal.

For the best results, look for a shovel that has a wide head and sharpened edges. This will make it easier to dig into the soil and cut through any tough roots or debris. The handle should also be comfortable to grip and well-balanced, so you can maintain control as you’re digging. 

In terms of materials, stainless steel is often preferred due to its durability and resistance to rust. No matter which type of shovel you choose, it’s important to regularly sharpen the blade with a file or stone in order to maintain good edging performance. Additionally, always wear gloves when using your shovel for edging and take frequent breaks in order to avoid fatigue or strain. 

Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect shovel for edging that will allow you to create neat, defined borders around your garden with ease.

Now that you’ve chosen a shovel for edging, it’s important to learn the proper technique in order to get the most out of your tool. To begin, start at one end of the border and push the blade into the soil with both hands. Make sure to keep even pressure on each side of the blade as you go along and angle slightly downward while maintaining a straight line. This will ensure that your edges are even and well-defined.

10 Methods on How to Edge with a Shovel

1. Use the Right Shovel

Use the Right Tool for the Job

When edging with a shovel, it is important to use the right tool for the job. A standard garden shovel will not be as effective as a dedicated edging shovel. An edging shovel has a narrower blade that is designed for cutting through turf and soil. It also has a serrated edge that can help to chop through roots and other tough vegetation.

2. Mark the Edge

Before starting to edge, it is important to mark the desired edge with a string or another marker. This will help to ensure that you create a straight edge. If you are edging around a tree or flower bed, use the string to mark the circle around it.

Make sure that you leave enough room for the shovel to fit comfortably when making the edge. However, if you are edging along a paved area, make sure that the edge is at least one to two inches away from the pavement.

3. Cut Through the Turf

Once the edge is marked, use the shovel to cut through the turf along the line. Be sure to angle the blade of the shovel so that it cuts at a 45-degree angle. This will help to create a clean, sharp edge. 

Start at one end of the marked edge and cut down about 4 inches. Move the blade from side to side along the line, cutting a little deeper every few inches. When you reach the other end, carefully pull up the turf and remove it from the area.

4. Dig a Trench

After cutting through the turf, use the shovel to dig a trench along the marked line. The trench should be about 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Tamp down the bottom of the trench with your foot to ensure a flat, level surface that will serve as a stable border for your edging material. 

If you need to make adjustments, you can add or remove soil as needed. Although you want the edges of your trench to be straight, you can use the shovel blade to make shallow curves. Once you’ve dug the trench, sweep away any loose dirt and debris.

5. Remove Debris

Once the trench is dug, remove any debris from it, such as rocks, roots, or clumps of dirt. This will help to ensure that you have a clean surface to work with. Try to keep the sides of the trench as even as possible. If there are any irregularities, you can use the shovel to even them out.

6. Add Soil Amendments

If desired, add some soil amendments to the trench before adding new soil. Common amendments include compost, manure, and peat moss. These can help to improve drainage and aeration in the soil.

Add Some Soil Amendments

Make sure to mix them into the soil thoroughly before adding new soil. Try to use natural and organic amendments whenever possible. While chemical additives may help to improve the soil, they can also have a negative impact on the environment.

7. Add New Soil

Once the trench is prepared, add new soil to it until it is level with the surrounding ground. Be sure to pack the soil down firmly so that it will not wash away easily when it rains. You should also add a bit of mulch or compost to the soil to help it retain moisture and nutrients. 

Finally, use a rake to smooth out the soil and make sure it is level. Although edging with a shovel can be difficult, the results are well worth the effort. With clean lines and a neat appearance, your garden will look professional and beautiful. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you did it all yourself!

8. Water In Well

After adding new soil to the trench, water it well so that the plants have enough moisture to get established. A garden hose works well for this, but a bucket of water or a watering can also do the trick. Take your time and make sure that the soil is evenly soaked and that all of the plants have ample moisture. Once you’ve thoroughly watered the trench, it’s time to start planting!

9. Add Mulch

To help prevent weeds from growing in the trench, add a layer of mulch on top of the soil after watering it in well. You can use whatever type of mulch you prefer, such as wood chips, straw, or shredded bark. 

Choose a type that won’t wash away easily and will remain in place for several years. Be sure to spread the mulch evenly into the edges of the trench so that it covers all areas. If you choose a mulch that breaks down over time, you may want to add additional layers of mulch every few years.

10. Maintain Regular

Check the Edging Regularly

Be sure to check the edging regularly and remove any weeds that may arise. As necessary, add more soil or mulch to keep the edge looking neat and tidy. Although edging with a shovel is more time-consuming than other methods, it can result in sharper and neater edges. Be sure to finish off your work by cleaning and sharpening the edges of the shovel. This will ensure that your edging is precise and neat for years to come.

By following these steps, you can easily edge your garden with a shovel and create beautiful borders around your flower beds or other landscaping features. With proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy professional-looking results in no time. Enjoy!

Things to Consider When Edging with a Shovel

1. Choose the Right Shovel for the Job

If you’re edging a flower bed, choose a shovel with a narrow blade that can easily fit right up against the edge of your flower bed. If you’re edging a larger area, such as a garden or walkway, choose a shovel with a larger blade.

2. Be Mindful of Your Posture

Proper posture is essential when using a shovel. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bend your knees and keep your back straight. This will help you to have better balance and control over the shovel.

Proper Posture is Essential

3. Start at the Lowest Point

When edging, it’s important to start at the lowest point and work your way up. This will allow you to make sure that all excess soil is pushed up towards the top edge, creating a cleaner line.


Now that you know how to edge with a shovel, you can create neat and tidy borders around your garden beds and lawn. Be sure to practice safety while using this gardening tool. 

Never leave children unattended around sharp objects such as a shovel. If you are new to edging, start with small sections until you get the hang of it. With proper technique and care, you can achieve beautiful results for your yard.

You Can Also Check It Out to Shovel Snow Without Hurting Your Back

Photo of author

Enrique Howard

Hi, I am Enrique. I started my professional life as a handyman and did a lot of external and internal repair of home and office with a little bit of electric and plumbing support. I have extensive experience in tools testing such as drilling, turning, milling, and non-conventional machining like EDM. So let me help you on your journey towards becoming an enlightened DIYer with amazing tools that you can use on your project.

Leave a Comment