How To Edge a Lawn (10 Easy Steps): A Guide To The Perfect Edge

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Something that can completely spoil a beautiful lawn is an untidy lawn edge. Not only frustrating to those with an eye for attention to detail, looking after a lawn can be tedious and time-consuming. All this effort and time and be completely put to waste if the edges of a lawn are not cut properly, as this can leave your lawn looking sloppy and ill-kept. Do not fear, as we have the perfect guide for you to get your lawn edges cut in such a way that your lawn is left looking impeccably managed. 

perfect lawn edge

Reasons For Having A Clean Cut Edge

Think about this. Do you go get a haircut and the barber doesn’t do the trim work around your edges? Same concept with lawns. A clean edge is the finishing touch, the cherry on top so to speak. Even if your lawn has yellow spots or has signs of infestation, the clean edge will usually override those defects. For me at least, this is what I notice first about a yard. So with that in mind, let’s get down to this.

How To Edge a Lawn

1. Mow Your Lawn First

You will need to mow your lawn first. Mowing your lawn first exposes the original curve in the grass. This will allow for a better follow when trimming the edges back. 

Mowing the lawn first before edging also prevents scalping around the edges and reduces the chances of bare or weedy patches.

2. Plan and Follow the Path

You should stick to edging the lawn and not the hardscape. You should keep off the sidewalks, walking areas, and concrete when you are using a power edger.

Make sure you follow a certain path and keep the trimming between the grass and whatever it is growing against. In doing this, you are ensuring that your edging trimmer lasts longer as well as preventing your hardscape are not getting damaged repeatedly. 

3. How to Edge a Lawn – Different Methods

Jump to your method of choice by following one of the links below:

How to Edge a Lawn Using a Lawn Edger

  • You can edge a lawn with either a manual edger or a powered edger, but the first thing to do is mow your lawn. When mowing your lawn, never cut more than ⅓ of your grass blades at a time, because doing so can result in bare patches and weak grassroots.
  • Planning out your project is important and entails where to start edging your lawn. Think about how to approach flat and hilly areas and consider marking the edging areas with stakes and string for complicated projects.
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves when operating a lawn edger
  • Start your lawn edger and trim the grass at the edges of your lawn and flower beds.

How to Edge a Lawn Using a String Trimmer

  1. Fire up your string trimmer and follow the existing outline of your yard
  2. Focus on the overgrown grass that’s made its way onto the driveway or sidewalk
  3. Lower the speed around curved areas
  4. Wear gloves and safety glasses when using a string trimmer

How to Edge a Lawn with a Manual Edger

A manual edger looks similar to a shovel but comes with a rounded blade. Start by marking the area you’d like to cut.

  1. Put on your work gloves and safety glasses
  2. Get a good grip on the manual edger
  3. Stand at one end of the planned edge
  4. Cut into the turf about 2 to 3 inches
  5. Remove the excess turf
  6. Repeat the process

How to Edge a Lawn by Hand

I’m not going to sugarcoat this but edging your lawn by hand is a daunting task and doesn’t provide the desired neat results.

You will have to use your hands with a manual edging tool or a powered edger.

How to Edge a Lawn With a Shovel

  1. To edge your lawn with a shovel, get a secure grip on the shovel
  2. Cut deep, straight down into the turf
  3. Carve the grass wedge out at an angle
  4. Use a rake to clean the edges to reveal perfect lines

How to Edge a Lawn With Bricks

Surprisingly, you can also edge your lawn with bricks, and here is how to go about it. To edge a lawn with bricks, you will need:

  • Cement
  • Building sand
  • Rubber mallet
  • Rake
  • Trowel
  • Bricks
  1. Place an old board on a flat surface, over which mix the building sand and cement with water. Keep mixing until you achieve the consistency of a thick cake mixture.
  2. Create an outline where you’d like to edge the lawn and spread a layer of cement.
  3. Lay the bricks on the mortar and push them into the cement.
  4. Use a rubber mallet to secure the bricks in place.

Repeat this process until the entire lawn is edged. Use the rake to level the border soil up to the bricks and avoid standing on them for a couple of days.

How to Edge a Lawn With Wood

To edge a lawn with wood, you’ll need:

  • A half-moon edger
  • Builders string
  • Bulb auger
  • Weed control fabric
  • Wooden treated board
  1. The first step is to mark out the edges where you’d like to create the wood edging. You can do this with a builders string.
  2. Next, use the half-moon blade to cut the edges, and prepare the wood.
  3. Lay the wood out to get a feel for how the edges will look.
  4. Install and fix the wood and then use some sort of gravel to add the finishing touches.

How to Edge a Lawn Next to Paving

To edge a lawn next to paving, you’ll need:

  • Edging shears
  • A half-moon edger
  • Long-handled grass shears
  • Plank of wood or long rope
  1. Use the half-moon edging tool to carve out the edges next to the paving.
  2. Trim the edges with the long-handled edging shears.
  3. Remove the cuttings for a really professional finish.

For grass that’s overgrown over the paving, use a sharp knife to cut the grass and pull the pieces away. Continue this process until you’ve edges all along the paving.

How to Edge a Sidewalk

Creating a crisp line along a sidewalk gives your lawn a sharp, finished look. You can edge along a sidewalk with a manual or powered lawn edger.

  1. Before getting started, put on a long-sleeved shirt, pants, safety gloves, and safety glasses
  2. Cut the grass in a clean line along the sidewalk
  3. With a push broom, sweep the cut grass onto the lawn to allow the clippings to decompose and return essential nutrients to the lawn
  4. Mow the lawn with a lawn mower
How To Have CLEAN and CRISP EDGING in a LAWN | CONCRETE and ASPHALT

4. Make Use of Walkways

Make use of the walkways if and when possible. When keeping to the walkways and driveways, you allow yourself to walk on an even surface. In turn, this gives you the opportunity to follow along the outside of the surface with an edger naturally. 

5. Keep it Slow and Steady

Keep it slow and steady. Although this can be a time-consuming process, the end result is a perfectly edged lawn.

As you continue to edge your lawn, you will develop a system that will make the overall process a lot quicker. However, during your first few attempts at edging your grass, you need to focus on doing the job well, instead of speeding through it. 

6. Pay Attention to Your String Trimmer

Pay careful attention to your trimmer. If you are using a weed wacker or string trimmer, pay attention to the way your trimmer string or blade spins.

Keep your movements right to left if your trimmer runs clockwise. This will allow your rejected trimmings to end up on the lawn instead of the walkway or flower beds. 

7. Check for Jagged Edges

Jagged edges in your lawn look untidy and can be an eyesore. Take a look at the edges you just created to see if there are any jagged edges.

If there are any edges that don’t look right or ones you’ve missed, go over them again with your lawn edger.

8. Edge Garden Beds

Use a Manual Cutter to Cut Around Flowers and Flower Beds

Do not kill your precious flowers. Use manual cutters to cut around flower beds and precious plants.

The newer you are to edging your lawn, the more likely you are to accidentally cut your beautiful flowers and plants apart. Once you have gained more experience with your edger or string trimmer, you can work up to using an electric cutter. 

9. Prune and Trim Shrubs and Bushes

After edging your lawn, it’s time to shape up the shrubs and bushes in your lawn. When pruning shrubs and bushes, a thumb rule is to never take off more than one-third of the shrub’s total mass at one time.

The ideal time to prune depends on the shrubs. Early spring flowering plants should be pruned right after they bloom and summer flowering plants in the winter or early spring.

10. Clean Up Debris

You’re bound to have a mess after edging and pruning, so clean up any debris left behind. You can leave the grass clippings in your yard. They will eventually decompose and return nutrients for your soil.

What Are Some Things To Consider With Open and Closed Edges?

Edges that are exposed on one side like those around soil, trees, and shrubs are known as open edges. A closed edge is when there is a surface that appears next to where the lawn edge ends such as a patio, concrete driveway, or brickwork. Each edge requires a different approach:

example of an open edge cut

Open Edges:

  • Do not stand on the edges when cutting. 
  • A half-moon tool (see below) should be used when neatening up any imperfections that may be present. 
  • Cut the edges with either an edger or a trimmer.
  • To avoid grass drying and turning brown, ensure that there is a 20 to 40-degree angle on the edges. 
  • Try to use mechanical grass shears (in the above picture) if you desire to get a precise cut. 
example of a closed edge

Closed Edges:

  • You can mow over the edge of the lawn and the edge are the same length.
  • You should use a trimmer if the levels are very different.
  • You can avoid damaging the blade of the other surface if the lawn is only a little lower. Simply, adjust the height.
  • Avoid scalping uneven edges by adding a roller to your lawnmower. There is an option to make your lawn look more attractive by installing a border to the edge of your lawn. A great benefit of doing this is that they require no maintenance.

So, What Edge Trimmer Should You Choose?

They are a variety of different grass trimmers out there on the market today. However, when choosing which one is the best to buy, you should consider a few key factors. There are many types of grass trimmers available. Each one has a different source of power which aids their own benefits:

Walk-Behind Gas Edgers:

Gas grass trimmers are known to be the most powerful out of the next three options. This makes them suitable for thicker, denser grass as well as larger gardens. Nonetheless, they require more maintenance than that of a conventional electric grass trimmer and are noisier. The the power and cut are well worth the investment.

My favorite one currently is the Southland 79cc. Very sturdy and powerful and I get a perfect edge every time. Just make sure to change the blade at the beginning of each season or every 6 months for the southern folks.

Deal
SOUTHLAND SWLE0799 79cc Walk Behind Gas Lawn Edger
1,194 Reviews
SOUTHLAND SWLE0799 79cc Walk Behind Gas Lawn Edger
  • Metal frame and blade guard for increased durability
  • Product dimensions – 30.31” L x 19.29” W x 18.5” H | Weight – 60 lbs. | RPM – 3600 RPM | Engine – 4 Stroke OHV / 79cc | Blade Size – 9-Inch, 3 point | Cut depths – 0-2.5 inches | Start type – Easy Pull recoil system
  • Adjustable to 5 depth positions up to 2 ½-inch deep

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Electric Edgers:

They are the most commonly owned trimmer amongst homeowners and run off the mains electricity that can be conveniently found any your home. They tend to be on the lighter side and can be used to edge lawns in a small to medium-sized garden. 

For my electric edger pick, I’ve been leaning towards my WORX WG896 for most of the smaller yards I tend to.

Deal
WORX WG896 12 Amp 7.5' Electric Lawn Edger & Trencher
12,132 Reviews
WORX WG896 12 Amp 7.5" Electric Lawn Edger & Trencher
  • [POWER LIKE THE PROS] The 12 Amp motor spins the 7.5” blade fast and deep at 4700 revolutions per minute, giving you professional-looking lines and edges
  • [3 DEPTH ADJUSTMENTS] Cut down at 1”, 1-1/4”, 1-1/2” depending on the task at hand
  • [CUTTING LINE INDICATOR] Stay on the straight and narrow with the cutting line guide—you’ll notice a difference when you’re done

Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-03-29

Cordless (Battery operated) Edgers:

You should consider the run time of the battery when deciding on your purchase of a cordless grass trimmer. Lithium-ion batteries are seen as the best batteries as they keep their power right until the end and can be recharged. However, you will need to know the span of your battery on one charge to make sure that you will have enough power to complete your entire garden in one go. 

Much like the reason woman trim their split ends, trimming your lawn edges gives it a crisper and fresher feel to it. Edging your lawn can make a huge difference in its overall appearance, from sloppy to well put-together. 

Personally I don’t use a cordless edger but I have tried a few. To me they feel like toys but I can see their application can be used on very small yards that don’t have much trim work to do. I would not use these at all with St. Augustine grasses. But this is the highest rated one on Amazon, so if you have a need for cordless then this is a safe bet in my eyes.

Worx WG163 GT 3.0 20V PowerShare 12' Cordless String Trimmer &...
20,411 Reviews
Worx WG163 GT 3.0 20V PowerShare 12" Cordless String Trimmer &...
  • [TRIMMER & EDGER 2-in-1] Easily converts from a string trimmer to a wheel edger in just seconds
  • [INSTANT LINE FEED] Innovative push button Command Feed spool system for instant line feeding. Plus, Free Spools for Life
  • [DO IT ALL WITH THE SAME BATTERY] Worx Power Share is compatible with all Worx 20v and 40v tools, outdoor power and lifestyle products

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Manual Edgers To Top Things Off

Half Moon Edgers

These little diggers are perfect for edging around landscape beds that are not defined with with a raised edge.

half moon edge cut around landscape
Use a half moon edger to get this result

Should be obvious on how to use a half moon edger, but there are a few tricks you can do that lawn care professionals use to get the perfect cut.

  • First, don’t stomp on the edger
  • With one foot, press firmly one side of the edger into the ground as far as you can
  • Then on the other side of the edger, press firmly and rotate the blade to the other side

Once you get a hang of it, using a half moon edger is quite satisfying. The one I have used for years is the AMES 2917200

Deal
AMES 2917200 Saw-Tooth Border Edger with T-Grip, 39-Inch
4,052 Reviews
AMES 2917200 Saw-Tooth Border Edger with T-Grip, 39-Inch
  • LANDSCAPING EDGER: Cuts trenches and creates clean, finished lawn edges along driveways, lawns and sidewalks
  • VERSATILE EDGER: Blade design cuts straight or curved edges
  • SERRATED BLADE: Serrated steel blade easily cuts through grass and earth; Durable serrated 15-gauge steel blade slices through grass and turf in 1 step

Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-03-29

Sidewalk Edging Comparison - Edger vs Line Trimmer

Lawn Edging Issues to Watch Out For

There are several issues to watch out for when edging your lawn. Let’s start with materials. Plastic should never be used as edging because it is light enough to be pulled up if not properly installed.

Adding to this, plastic material can look dingy and gray in the cold winters and start shredding, after which it can’t be fixed.

Short fences are also a big no-no because even though they look clean and neat, they are a pain to maintain.

Plus, you have to maintain the edging yourself, which means weeds growing right up against the fencing. These stubborn weeds can damage your weed whacker and in worse cases the fences too. Avoid cutting narrow strips of grass especially if it’s located on a slope.

How to Decide on the Shape of the Lawn

The best shape for your lawn is determined by its purpose, your desired maintenance level, and the appearance of your landscape.

Ask yourself how you plan to use the lawn, whether for recreation, entertaining, etc. If you’re going to use the lawn for recreation and entertaining, it should have a large open area, which can be provided by a circular or rectangular shape.

Your landscape plays a pivotal role in the shape of your lawn. Given that some types of grass tolerate shade and others don’t, it’s important to shape your lawn according to your grass’s shape preference.

There are plenty of landscape design software available to help you design your turf the right way.

How to Mark Out a New Lawn Edge

Not every lawn is perfect, but getting close is as easy as using of these techniques of creating a new lawn edge.

The Stake and String Method

For the stakes and string method of creating a new lawn edge, you will need stakes and a string (twine).

Once you have an idea of what your lawn and edges should look like, plant stakes in that desired shape. Tightly tie twice across the perimeter of the stakes, and use a lawn edger to edge along the stakes.

Garden Hose Method

This is perhaps the most convenient way to create a new lawn edge. Simply grab your garden hose and use it to outline the lawn edges.

Remove the garden hose after a few hours, and use your lawn edger to edge along the marks left by the garden hose.

How to Correct Your Line

The only way to correct your line is to start over. If you’ve already edged your lawn according to your online, correcting the line is going to be a tricky task.

How to Keep Lawn Edges Neat

You can keep your edges crisp and neat by maintaining your edges regularly with a manual or powered edger. Grass grows fast, so you’ll have to keep up with this quick growth or your edges will look unsightly in no time.

It’s a good practice to edge your lawn before or after each mowing session. If you don’t have an edger, you can use a pair of long-handled shears to do the job standing up.

Clean Up After Edging Your Lawn

Cleaning up your lawn after edging will make your turf look neat and tidy and your turf will stand out from the crowd. Removing dirt and debris after edging also makes your lawn safe for use.


FAQs

Q. What Angle Should I Edge My Lawn?

Edge your lawn at a 20 degree to 40 degree angle for best results. The angle you should edge your lawn depends on the type of edge you are creating. For example, working at a 90 degree angle creates a straight downward edge.

Q. What Time of Year Should I Edge My Lawn?

The best time of year to edge your lawn is in the early spring before it gets too hot. It’s also easier to edge a lawn at this time of year because the grass isn’t lush and thick.

Q. Should You Edge Your Lawn Every Week?

Edging is an important lawn care maintenance task, and can be performed each week if you have the time.

Q. How Much Does It Cost to Edge a Lawn?

The cost of professional lawn edging including materials and labor, is $4–10 per linear foot.

Q. How Long Does It Take to Edge a Lawn?

It takes approximately 30 – 45 minutes to edge a small to medium size lawn. This time can increase depending on the size of your lawn and the number of edges you’d like to clean up/create.


Final Thoughts

Crisp edges not only make your yard look good but also serve a practical purpose. Edging creates a barrier to stop grass from invading grass beds, pavements and sidewalks.

There are a plethora of different tools you can use to edge your lawn, even your good ol’d shovel!

cordless trimmers mentioned on this list won’t disappoint you in the yard.


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