Dig a Trench Around a Flower Bed

A trench.
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 20-30
What You'll Need
Wood stakes
Garden spade
Round head shovel

Digging a trench around a flower bed can add some ease to your gardening and landscaping efforts. It serves several purposes, depending on how you have landscaped your property. If you have grass growing adjacent to your flower bed, you can use the trench to get the lawn moved right up to the flower bed without running the lawnmower over the flowers. If you have other adjacent flower beds it can prevent growth from one flower bed to another.

A flower bed trench can also act as a gutter for your flower bed, letting mulch, wood chips, and other materials fall into the trench for easy cleanup. Finally, once the trench is in place, it can act as a place to add a decorative border to your flower bed. It is easier to add a trench to a flower bed that has not yet been planted, but you can also add a trench to an active flower bed. Whatever your reason for installing a trench around your flower bed, it is a relatively simple process that is well worth the effort.

Step 1 - Plan

Decide the depth and width of your trench. This depends on the reason you are installing a trench around your flower bed, but the general guidelines are to plan on a depth of no more than 4 inches and a width of no more than 6 inches. If you plan on placing a border in the trench, plan according to the stones, tiles, or bricks you plan on using for the border. You may wish to stake out the outside corners of the trench to give a rough idea of where you will be digging.

Step 2 - Dig

Begin digging your trench at one end of your flower bed where you have placed your wood stakes. Use a garden spade to dig your trench. Begin by cutting down on the sides of your trench, first the outside then the inside. When cutting the inside of the trench, work towards the outside cut. Use a round head shovel to remove excess dirt after cutting down all sides of your trench.

Step 3 - Finish

Your trench is now ready to be used. You may place a border in your trench at this point. This is often a good idea if you are concerned that the trench will make it difficult to walk around in your garden. There are many different border options that you might want to discuss with an expert at your local nursery or hardware store.

Step 4 - Maintain

Your trench will need some maintenance. Depending on what you have growing in your flower beds and your overhead canopy, you will need to clean your trench periodically. Usually one time a year is sufficient, but some gardens require cleaning more frequently. Use the garden spade or round head shovel to clean out debris and dirt.