How to Shape a Lawn or Garden Space

Adding some shape to your lawn or garden is a simple process that can make a big difference in the appearance of the groundcover. Use these step-by-step tips to add eye-catching details to your outdoor space.

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Measure the New Shape and Size of Your Lawn

Sketch out the design on a piece of paper first, and then use a tape measure to transfer these measurements onto the lawn.

Identify the Center of the Circle

Once you have it pinpointed, place a tent peg in it. Attach a piece of string to it and then holding it taut, swing it around in a circle to the desired size, trailing sand or using spray paint to mark out the circumference.

Begin Cutting the Groundcover

Using the trail of sand as a guide, firmly cut straight downward to a depth of about 1-1/4 inches to 1-1/2 inches, using a half moon cutter. At intervals throughout the process, check that the shape of the circle is even.

Slide a Spade Underneath the Turf to Be Removed

Sever the roots away from the soil. Carefully lift the sections of turf, and place them upside down in the compost heap to allow them to decompose.

Line the New Edging

Take a strip of strong, flexible edging material, and wrap it tightly around the outside of the circle or curve. Push it firmly down into the soil, ensuring that it does not poke up above the surface of the lawn.

Fill Empty Spaces

Add slate, pebbles, or bark chippings to the spaces left by the removed turf, making sure that they sit below the surface of the lawn to make it easier to mow. Alternatively, the gaps could be used as planting pockets.

Make Sure the Lawn is Hydrated

The lawn may need watering around the newly exposed edges until it is established. You can use this shaping method for straight-sided shapes as well — use a line of taut string to ensure that you achieve a straight edge.