Question 16: Life on the Edge. Featuring a SURPRISE GUEST BLOGGER.

Jo asked:

How on earth do you get those crisp sharp edges on your garden beds at the country house? Hmmm? I can never do it here. Never.

To be frank, Jo: it’s a mystery to me as well. As lawn-mowing and edge-trimming is strictly a job for grown-ups, I leave that sort of thing to K. Besides which, maintaining the perfect lawn – along with making the perfect cup of coffee – is one his great passions in life. It would be churlish indeed to encroach upon his territory.

However, the question is an important one, and deserves a full answer from a proven expert in the field. So, for Jo, and for everyone else who has asked over the last year (cuz lemmetellya, us edges are LEGENDARY), I shall hand you over to K.

The next voice that you hear will be K’s.

Life on the Edge.

Try the combination of:

  • Nail scissors (straight blades only).
  • Set square and ruler
  • Advanced yoga techniques such as this:



For special occasions, eg. Gardens Open Day, a magnifying glass is also recommended.

As an alternative, and slightly more practical approach try:

  • Cheating. I can recommend the combination of an internationally renowned garden designer with a penchant for strong perpendicular lines, plus an expert ground force team to lay the perfect lawn with immaculate edges. From this starting point pure fear is an excellent motivator to maintain perfection.
  • An obsessive, compulsive nature which places the pursuit of precision over personal happiness.

Once you have lawn and lunatic in harmony, the following maintenance techniques should be applied on a weekly basis.

  • The edge of the lawn must be totally vertical and no less than 5 cm deep – beds have a tendency to encroach, so push the soil back with the back of a hoe.
  • Edging shears must be razor sharp and held at precisely 90° to the lawn edge. They should only remove the grass, under no circumstances should they cut into the soil at the lawn edge.
  • For the ultimate finish, I cut the edges first one way and then cut again in the opposite direction – sometimes directional tufts remain from the first cut which are removed by the second.
  • Remove all the grass cuttings by hand after finishing with the edging shears.

Enjoy, and please send me the photos!

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