Every wonder how the professionals get that tidy, finished look after spreading pine straw?
The answer is fairly simple.
I spent several years in the lawn maintenance and landscaping business before going into the nursery business so can tell you the technique we always used when installing pine straw on the properties we maintained.
Regarding the type of pine straw you use, it doesn't matter as both can be tucked to get that finished look. That being said, long needle pine straw is fluffier, not to mention the prettier color holds 5 times longer and it doesn't decompose as rapidly. Needless to say, when and if available, I ALWAYS use long needle pine straw.
After spreading the pine straw, some landscapers use a blower to "tuck" it around the edges of beds. But, what I always do is use a leaf rake first and then a hard/garden rake to put on the finishing touch.
But, before you can "tuck" the pinestraw, there's something else you have to do first. When installing the pine straw in a landscape bed, make sure to spread a thin layer (about a foot or so wide) along the OUTSIDE of the border of the bed as well. Then, after having spread the pine straw, standing inside the bed use a leaf rake to pull the pine straw that you spread outside of the bed towards you to the bed line. This will give you that fluffed up, raised bed look. I usually go back with a hard rake and put some finishing touches on the tuck, working from the outside of the bed pushing any straggler needles to the bed line.
Finally, I'll usually wet it down a little using the garden hose in case a strong wind blows before some rain comes.
That's about all there is to it!