How to Make Concrete Garden Edging

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Have you ever wondered how to give your garden a clean, professional look? How to Make Concrete Garden Edging might be the solution you’re searching for.

Concrete edging offers several benefits, from keeping mulch and soil in place to creating a clear boundary between your lawn and flower beds.

Garden edging isn’t just about aesthetics; it also helps maintain your garden’s structure and prevents overgrowth.

This article will guide you through a step-by-step process to make concrete garden edging, ensuring your garden looks neat and well-organized.

Materials and Tools Needed

Creating concrete garden edging is easier when you have the right materials and tools. Here’s a list to get you started.

List of Materials

  • Concrete mix: This is the main ingredient. You can find it at any hardware store.
  • Water: Essential for mixing with the concrete powder.
  • Wooden stakes: Useful for marking out your garden edge.
  • String: Helps in creating straight lines.
  • Gravel (optional): Good for drainage, especially in wetter areas.
  • Sand: Used to help level the ground before pouring the concrete.
  • Plastic or metal forms (optional): These can help in shaping the edges neatly.

List of Tools

  • Shovel: For digging the trench where the edging will go.
  • Wheelbarrow or mixing tray: To mix the concrete.
  • Trowel: Handy for smoothing and shaping the concrete.
  • Level: Ensures your edges are straight and even.
  • Measuring tape: Helps in measuring the length of your garden edges.
  • Safety gear: Always wear gloves and goggles to protect yourself while working with concrete.

1. Planning and Preparation

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When you’re ready to start making concrete garden edging, the first step is thorough planning and preparation. This will save you time and headaches down the line.

Choosing the Design and Layout

Begin by deciding on the design and layout of your edging. Think about whether you want straight or curved edges. Straight edges are easier to install and maintain, giving your garden a clean and formal look.

On the other hand, curved edges can add a softer, more natural feel to your garden but require a bit more effort to shape and install.

To get started, measure the length of the garden bed where you plan to install the edging. Use a measuring tape to ensure accuracy. Once you have your measurements, mark the layout with wooden stakes and string.

This step is crucial for keeping your lines straight and your curves smooth. It’s like drawing a blueprint on the ground, giving you a clear guide to follow as you work.

Preparing the Ground

With your design in place, the next step is preparing the ground. Start by clearing the area of any debris and vegetation. Remove rocks, weeds, and any other obstacles that could interfere with your edging. A clear area ensures that your concrete edging will sit flat and secure.

After clearing the area, it’s time to dig the trench. The trench should be about 4-6 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate your concrete edging.

Use a shovel to dig the trench along the lines you’ve marked with stakes and string. If you’re planning to use forms, make sure the trench is wide enough to fit them comfortably.

For areas prone to water accumulation, consider adding a gravel base at the bottom of the trench. This optional step helps with drainage and prevents water from pooling around your edging, which can cause cracks over time. Simply spread a layer of gravel about 1-2 inches deep at the bottom of the trench before you start pouring the concrete.

2. Mixing the Concrete

Getting the right mix of concrete is key to making durable concrete garden edging. Here’s how you can do it.

Instructions for Mixing Concrete

Start by gathering your materials. You will need concrete mix, water, and a mixing container such as a wheelbarrow or mixing tray. Make sure you have your shovel ready for mixing.

Ratio of Concrete Mix to Water

The ratio of concrete mix to water is crucial. Too much water and your concrete will be weak; too little and it won’t mix well. A good rule of thumb is to use about 3 parts concrete mix to 1 part water.

You might need to adjust this slightly depending on the brand of mix you use, so always check the instructions on the bag.

Mixing Techniques (Manual vs. Using a Mixer)

There are two main ways to mix concrete: manually or using a mixer. If you’re working on a small project, mixing by hand is usually sufficient. To do this, pour the concrete mix into your wheelbarrow or mixing tray. Add water slowly and mix with a shovel. Continue adding water until you reach the right consistency.

For larger projects, consider using a concrete mixer. This saves time and ensures a more consistent mix. Follow the same process: add the concrete mix to the mixer, then slowly add water while the mixer is running.

Consistency of the Mix

The consistency of the concrete mix is very important. You’re looking for a texture similar to thick peanut butter. It should be wet enough to pour but thick enough to hold its shape. If the mix is too runny, add a bit more concrete mix. If it’s too dry, add a little more water, but do this gradually.

3. Pouring and Shaping the Edging

Creating your concrete garden edging involves pouring and shaping the concrete properly. Here’s how to do it step-by-step.

Pouring the Concrete into the Trench

Start by carefully pouring the concrete into the trench you’ve dug. It’s best to work in small sections, especially if your project is large. This way, you can control the pour and ensure the concrete sets evenly. Pour enough concrete to fill the trench, but don’t overfill it.

Working in Sections for Large Projects

For large garden beds, it’s smart to divide the work into sections. This approach helps manage the project more easily and ensures that each part of the edging is consistent.

Pour the concrete in one section at a time, smoothing it out before moving to the next. This method also allows you to correct any mistakes as you go.

Smoothing the Surface with a Trowel

Once the concrete is in the trench, use a trowel to smooth the surface. This step is crucial for a neat finish.

Glide the trowel over the concrete, pressing down gently to eliminate air pockets and create a flat surface. Repeat this process until the entire section is smooth and even.

Using Forms for Uniform Shapes (if desired)

If you want your edging to have a specific shape, consider using plastic or metal forms. Place these forms in the trench before pouring the concrete.

As you fill the forms with concrete, use the trowel to ensure the mix is spread evenly. Forms help achieve a consistent shape and make the edges look professional.

Shaping the Edges

With the concrete in place, it’s time to shape the edges. Use the trowel to create clean, defined lines. If your design includes curves, take extra care to follow the marked lines precisely. Smooth out any rough spots to ensure the edges are tidy and well-defined.

Creating Clean Lines and Curves

To achieve clean lines and curves, continuously check your work against the string and stakes you set up earlier. This will help keep your edges straight or evenly curved as per your design. Small adjustments can make a big difference in the final look of your garden edging.

Using Tools to Texture the Surface (optional)

For added aesthetic appeal, consider using tools to texture the surface of the concrete. You can create patterns or add a rough texture to the edges. This step is optional but can give your garden edging a unique and personalized look. Use tools like a broom or a specialized concrete texture roller to achieve the desired effect.

4. Curing and Finishing

After pouring and shaping your concrete garden edging, the next step is curing and finishing. Proper curing ensures that your concrete becomes strong and durable.

Curing the Concrete

Curing the concrete is essential. This process takes time, typically about 24 to 48 hours for the concrete to set initially. During this period, the concrete needs to be kept moist to prevent cracking and ensure a solid finish. You can do this by lightly spraying the surface with water a few times a day.

Time Needed for the Concrete to Set

Allow the concrete to set for at least 24 to 48 hours before touching it. This initial setting time is crucial for the concrete to gain strength. Avoid stepping on or disturbing the edging during this period to maintain its shape and integrity.

Keeping the Concrete Moist During Curing

To keep the concrete moist during curing, cover it with a plastic sheet or damp burlap. This helps retain moisture and facilitates the curing process. Check periodically and spray with water if the surface appears to be drying out.

Removing the Forms (if used)

If you used forms, you’ll need to remove them carefully. Wait until the concrete has set but is not fully hardened, usually after 24 hours. Gently remove the forms to avoid damaging the edging. Use a trowel to smooth out any rough spots immediately after removing the forms.

Timing and Technique for Removing Forms Without Damaging the Edging

When removing the forms, do it slowly and carefully to prevent any chips or cracks in the concrete. Start from one end and work your way to the other, loosening the forms gradually. If you notice any minor imperfections, smooth them out with a trowel while the concrete is still workable.

Final Touches

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Once the forms are off and the concrete has fully set, it’s time for the final touches. Use a trowel to smooth any rough edges and ensure the surface is even. If desired, you can add decorative elements to give your edging a personalized touch.

Smoothing Rough Edges

Check the entire length of the edging for any rough spots. Use your trowel to smooth these areas, ensuring that the edges are clean and even. This step not only improves the appearance but also makes the edging safer to handle.

Adding Decorative Elements (Stamps, Colorants, etc.)

For a unique look, consider adding decorative elements like stamps or colorants. Stamps can create interesting patterns on the surface, while colorants can give your concrete a distinctive hue. Apply these elements while the concrete is still slightly damp for the best results.

Maintenance and Longevity

Keeping your concrete garden edging in top shape ensures it lasts for many years. Here are some simple tips to help you maintain it.

Tips for Maintaining Concrete Garden Edging

Maintaining your concrete edging isn’t complicated, but it does require some regular care. Start by checking your edging periodically for any cracks or damage. Addressing small issues early can prevent them from becoming big problems.

Sealing the Concrete for Protection

Sealing your concrete is a good way to protect it from the elements. A concrete sealer creates a barrier that repels water and stains, keeping your edging looking fresh. Apply the sealer with a brush or roller, and make sure to cover all surfaces evenly. Reapply every couple of years for ongoing protection.

Cleaning Methods to Prevent Staining and Moss Growth

To prevent staining and moss growth, clean your concrete edging regularly. Use a garden hose to rinse off dirt and debris. For tougher stains, a mixture of water and mild detergent works well. Scrub the surface with a brush, then rinse thoroughly. If moss or algae start to grow, a solution of water and vinegar can help remove it.

Periodic Inspections and Repairs

Periodic inspections are crucial to catch any wear and tear early. Look for cracks, chips, or areas where the concrete might be lifting. For minor repairs, use a concrete patching compound to fill in cracks and smooth out any rough spots. This keeps your edging not only functional but also looking great.


Maintaining your concrete garden edging is essential for keeping your garden looking neat and well-organized. From proper initial installation to regular upkeep, each step ensures your edging remains durable and visually appealing.

By following the guidelines for mixing, pouring, shaping, curing, and maintaining your concrete edging, you can enjoy a beautiful and functional garden boundary that stands the test of time.

Whether you’re sealing for protection, cleaning to prevent stains, or making periodic repairs, these efforts pay off in the long run.

Your garden deserves the best, and well-maintained concrete edging is a key part of achieving that. Happy gardening!