How To Edge a Lawn (6 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. 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. 
  2. 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. 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. 
  4. 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 of edging your grass, you need to focus on doing the job well, instead of speeding through it. 
  5. 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 in the lawn instead of the walkway or flower beds. 
  6. 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. 

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.

SOUTHLAND SWLE0799 79cc Walk Behind Gas Lawn Edger
1,173 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.

WORX WG896 12 Amp 7.5' Electric Lawn Edger & Trencher
11,840 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

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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 &...
19,975 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

AMES 2917200 Saw-Tooth Border Edger with T-Grip, 39-Inch
4,002 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

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Sidewalk Edging Comparison - Edger vs Line Trimmer

Hopefully, this guide on how to create the perfect edge gave you some insights on how to get started.