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How to Cut Grass Edges on Lawn: A Quick and Easy Guide




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Maintaining a well-kept lawn is an art in itself, and one of the key aspects of achieving that perfect garden is properly edged grass. In this article, we will discuss the fundamentals of lawn edging as well as various techniques that can be employed to ensure straight and precise borders. This not only gives an aesthetically pleasing appearance but also enhances the overall health of the grass.

Before delving into edging techniques, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the necessary preparations. Mowing the lawn first exposes the original curve of the grass, making it easier to follow while trimming the edges. Additionally, having the right tools for the job, be it manual edging tools or power edging options, can make all the difference in achieving clean, sharp grass edges. We will also explore best practices for edging maintenance and upkeep, ensuring your lawn remains pristine throughout the entire year.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper lawn edging contributes to an attractive and healthy garden.
  • Mowing and choosing the right tools are crucial for successful edging.
  • Maintaining and following best practices extends the neat appearance of your lawn.

Understanding Lawn Edging

Lawn edging is the practice of creating a distinct boundary between your lawn and adjacent areas like flower beds, pathways, or driveways. This boundary serves both aesthetic and functional purposes. In this section, we’ll discuss the benefits of edge cutting and the types of lawn edges.

Benefits of Edge Cutting

Edge cutting, or maintaining the borders of your lawn, offers several advantages:

  1. Aesthetic appeal: Well-defined edges give your lawn a neat and tidy appearance. They also provide contrast between the lawn and adjacent garden areas, enhancing the overall visual appeal.

  2. Easier maintenance: Clear borders make it simpler to mow and trim your lawn, as you can easily see where the lawn ends and other areas, such as flower beds or paths, begin.

  3. Prevention of overgrowth: Regularly cutting lawn edges helps prevent grass and weeds from spreading into flower beds, walkways, or driveways, and ensures that the garden remains well-organised.

  4. Soil protection: Lawn edging can prevent soil erosion and nutrient leaching, especially in areas of your garden that are sloped or prone to water runoff.

Types of Lawn Edges

There are various types of lawn edges to choose from, depending on your preferences and the layout of your garden:

  1. Straight edges: These edges follow a straight, uniform line, creating a clean and minimalist look. Straight edges work well for formal gardens, paths, and driveways.

  2. Curved edges: Curved lawn edges add a sense of natural flow to the garden and can be used to create interesting shapes or to follow the contours of a pathway or border. These are ideal for more casual or organic garden designs.

  3. Raised edges: Raised lawn edges are created by using materials such as bricks, stones, or wood to elevate the border above the level of the lawn. This type of edging can create a decorative feature while also helping to contain soil and mulch within flower beds.

  4. Inset edges: These edges are set into the ground and may be made from materials like metal or plastic strips. Inset edges are mostly hidden from view, giving a subtle, natural border that makes lawn maintenance more manageable without disrupting the overall garden aesthetic.

By taking the time to properly edge your lawn, you can enhance its appearance, as well as make its upkeep easier. So, whether you prefer straight or curved edges, raised or inset borders, your garden will surely benefit from well-maintained lawn edges.

Preparing for Edging

Gathering the Right Tools

Before we begin the process of edging our lawn, it is essential to gather the appropriate tools. There are various edging tools available, and the choice mainly depends on our preference and budget. Here’s a list of edging tools we might consider:

  1. Electric edger: These are easy to use and quite efficient for straight and curved edges. It’s a good option if we prefer a powered tool.
  2. Cordless edger: Similar to the electric edger, but this one doesn’t require a power source. Ideal for a garden without a nearby socket.
  3. Manual edger: For those who prefer a more hands-on approach, the manual half-moon edging tool is a classic choice.
  4. String trimmer (strimmer): A versatile tool that can also be used for edging if used at the correct angle.

For this job, we may also need a few additional items:

  • Garden hose: To help mark curves before cutting.
  • Plank of wood: To serve as a guide for straight edges.
  • Long rope: An alternative to a garden hose for marking curved edges.

Setting Up Your Workspace

Before we start edging, let’s set up the workspace. First, we’ll want to mow our lawn to expose the original curve in the grass, allowing for better trimming when we edge. Mowing beforehand also prevents scalping around the edges.

Now, it’s time to mark the boundaries. For a straight edge, place a plank of wood along the desired line, ensuring it’s straight and secure. For a curved edge, lay the rope or a garden hose along the desired curve. This will provide a clear guide when using the edging tool.

With our tools gathered and the workspace set up, we’re now ready to begin edging our lawn for a neat and well-maintained appearance.

Edging Techniques

Creating Straight Edges

One of the most common lawn edging techniques is creating straight edges. This is especially useful around sidewalks, flower beds, and other areas where you want a clean, crisp look. To create straight edges, we recommend using a half-moon edging tool or edging shears. First, mow your lawn to expose the original curve in the grass. Then, cut against a plank of wood to ensure a straight line. Don’t forget to remove the excess dirt and grass clippings to maintain a tidy appearance.

Recommended tools:

  • Half-moon edging tool: Ideal for cutting precise, straight lines
  • Edging shears: Useful for trimming grass along sidewalks and flower beds

Take extra care when working around trees and shrubs to prevent damage to their roots.

Working with Curves and Borders

Curved edges add visual interest to a lawn, particularly when surrounding flower beds, trees, or other landscape features. To create a curved edge, you can use a rope or string to define the desired shape. Lay the rope along the edge of the lawn, and then use your edging tool to trim the grass along the curve. Be aware of areas with multiple curves, as these may require more attention to achieve consistent results.

Key points:

  • Use a rope or string to mark the curve
  • Follow the marked curve with your edging tool

Dealing with Slopes and Uneven Ground

Edging a lawn with slopes or uneven ground can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can still achieve great results. To tackle uneven edges, adjust the cutting angle of your edging tool to match the slope. When working on steeper slopes, consider using a longer-handled tool to maintain balance and control. Additionally, take extra caution when trimming grass near retaining walls or other support structures.

Tips for edging slopes:

  • Adjust the cutting angle of your edging tool
  • Use a longer-handled tool for better control on steep slopes

In conclusion, maintaining neat and attractive lawn edges requires practice and attention to detail. Armed with these edging techniques, you can create beautiful, professional-looking borders throughout your landscape. Just remember to select the appropriate tools, be mindful of the terrain, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different shapes and angles. Happy edging!

Using Manual Edging Tools

In this section, we will discuss various manual edging tools that can help you create clean and crisp edges on your lawn. These tools offer a more controlled and precise method for edging, and they’re usually very affordable.

Operating a Half-Moon Edger

A half-moon edger is a popular manual edging tool, known for its crescent-shaped blade. To use this tool, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the half-moon edger with both hands, one on the handle and another on the shaft.
  2. Position the blade on the edge of the lawn, with the flat side facing the area you want to cut.
  3. Press down on the tool with your foot, using the footrest for leverage.
  4. Wiggle the tool back and forth to cut the turf.
  5. Once you’ve reached the desired depth, lift the tool and repeat the process along the lawn edge.

Tip: To maintain straight lines, use a plank of wood as a guide. For curved edges, lay a rope along the desired curve.

Utilising Long-Handled Shears

Long-handled grass shears are another manual option for edging. These shears work like a pair of scissors, and they’re perfect for trimming hard-to-reach areas or around delicate plantings. To use long-handled shears:

  1. Position the shears with the cutting blades vertical to the ground, parallel to the edge you’re cutting.
  2. Squeeze the handles together to cut the grass, making sure you’re trimming at the desired height.
  3. Progressively work your way along the edge, taking care to follow the curve or straight line of the lawn.

Tip: Regularly sharpen the blades of the shears for optimal cutting performance.

Leveraging a Rotary Edger

A rotary edger is a manual edging tool with a circular saw-like blade designed to create sharp lawn edges. Here’s how to use a rotary edger:

  1. Stand on the grass side of the edge with the blade of the edger positioned over the edge of the lawn.
  2. Holding the edger handle, press down the foot pedal to lower the blade into the ground.
  3. Roll the edger along the lawn edge, pushing down with your foot as needed to maintain proper cutting depth.
  4. Continue along the lawn edge until you’ve completed the entire length.

Tip: Practice rolling the edger in a straight line or following curves without cutting to get a feel for the tool before you begin edging.

Remember, a well-defined and properly maintained lawn edge enhances the overall appearance of your garden, so choose the manual edging tool that works best for you and your specific needs.

Power Edging Options

In this section, we explore various power edging tools available to help you maintain pristine edges on your lawn. We’ll cover the pros, cons, and best practices for using electric edgers, cordless trimmers, and walk-behind gas edgers.

Handling Electric Edgers

Electric edgers are a popular choice for cutting grass edges. They offer consistent power and are typically lightweight, making them easier to manoeuvre. These tools require access to an electrical outlet, so you’ll need an extension cord for larger lawns. One downside is that the cord can restrict movement, so it’s essential to manage it thoughtfully while working.

When using an electric edger, start by outlining the edges of your lawn and guide the tool along the perimeter. Keep a tight grip on the handle and maintain consistent pressure on the cutting wheel for even results. Apply gentle downward force to cut through stubborn grass and dirt.

Mastering Cordless Trimmers

Cordless trimmers, also known as weed wackers or electric trimmers, are battery-powered and offer more freedom of movement compared to electric edgers. They typically utilise lithium-ion batteries, providing a good balance of power and runtime.

As with electric edgers, start by mowing your lawn to expose the original curve of the grass. Hold the trimmer firmly with both hands, and use short, controlled movements to trim the grass edges. Tilt the cutting head slightly away from the edge to achieve a clean, angled cut. Cordless trimmers usually have adjustable handles and cutting heights, so experiment with these settings to find the most comfortable position for you.

Pros of Cordless Trimmers:

  • No cords to manage
  • Adjustable cutting height and handle
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons of Cordless Trimmers:

  • Less powerful than electric or gas edgers
  • Runtime depends on battery life
  • May require multiple batteries for larger lawns

Working with Walk-Behind Gas Edgers

Walk-behind gas edgers are powerful, commercial-grade tools ideal for larger lawns or properties with extensive edging needs. These edgers are self-propelled, making it easier to maintain straight lines and even edges. However, they’re heavier and take up more storage space than electric or cordless options.

When operating a walk-behind gas edger, ensure you’re wearing appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection. Start the engine as per the manufacturer’s instructions, and guide the edger along the lawn’s edge. Keep an even pace and let the machine do most of the work. Remember to refuel and perform routine maintenance as specified in the user manual.


  • Electric edgers are lightweight and powerful but require access to an electrical outlet
  • Cordless trimmers offer flexibility and portability but may have limited runtime
  • Walk-behind gas edgers are ideal for larger lawns or commercial applications but take up more space and require more maintenance

Maintenance and Upkeep

Regular Lawn Edging

To keep our lawn looking neat and tidy, it’s essential that we maintain the grass edges regularly. Regular lawn edging not only keeps your lawn from encroaching onto bordering areas, but also prevents plants and weeds from invading the turf.

We recommend edging the lawn every two to three mowings using an edging tool such as a half-moon edger for straight edges or shears for curved edges. For straight edges, use a plank of wood as a guide, and for curves, try using a rope laid on the edge of the lawn or simply follow the existing curve. After mowing the lawn, it’s best to trim the edges with edging shears or, alternatively, using a grass strimmer with a swivelling head.

An eco-friendly approach to maintaining the edges involves creating a drop of about 7.5cm from the lawn to the border. This technique helps keep plants off the grass and grass out of the border. To achieve this, remove excess soil with a spade or use a hoe to draw the soil away from the lawn edge.

Caring for Your Edging Tools

Proper maintenance of our edging tools is essential to keep them sharp and efficient. We can follow these simple steps to care for our tools:

  • Cleaning: After each use, remove any dirt or debris from the blades with a brush or cloth.

  • Sharpening: It’s important to keep the blades of our edging shears and half-moon edgers sharp for precise cuts. We can use a flat file to gently sharpen the blades at the correct angle, ensuring that we’re only filing the bevelled edge of the blade.

  • Rust prevention: Wipe the blades with a cloth soaked in a light oil, such as WD-40, to prevent rust. Store the tools in a dry place to minimise moisture exposure.

  • Lubricating: Adding a few drops of oil to the pivoting parts of the shears can help keep them operating smoothly.

By regularly maintaining the grass edges and properly caring for our edging tools, we can contribute to a beautiful and healthy lawn that enhances our garden’s appearance.

Finishing Touches for a Polished Look

Adding Mulch and Decorative Elements

After meticulously edging our lawn, we can make it stand out even more by adding mulch and decorative elements. Incorporating mulch around our garden beds or trees not only creates a neat appearance, but it also helps to maintain moisture and suppress weeds. There are various types of mulch available, such as wood chips, bark, and even cocoa bean shells. Choose one that suits our garden’s style and complements the overall aesthetics.

As for decorative elements, incorporating borders like bricks, stones, or low fencing around our lawn can further enhance its appearance. We should also consider adding ornaments such as statues, bird baths, or planters to create focal points in our garden. By giving thought to both mulch and decorative elements, we can finalise our beautiful lawn with a polished look.

Achieving the Perfect Lawn Edge

To achieve the perfect lawn edge, we must:

  1. Mow our lawn first: Mowing allows us to see the original curve of the grass, helping us follow the existing shape when edging.
  2. Use the right tool: A half-moon edging tool is a popular choice for creating crisp, clean lines. We could also utilise a curved blade if our lawn has rounded edges.
  3. Select the appropriate edging technique: Straight edges create a more formal appearance, whilst curved edges offer a softer mood. It depends on our preference and the overall design of our garden.
  4. Edge consistently: To maintain our lawn, we should re-cut the edges in spring, and periodically trim them throughout the growing season.

By taking these steps into account, we are well on our way to achieving the perfect lawn edge and maintaining one of the best lawns in the neighbourhood. Don’t forget to show off our hard work and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with a beautifully edged lawn.

Safety and Best Practices

As we embark on our journey to achieve perfectly edged lawns, it’s crucial that we consider safety and best practices to achieve beautiful and professional-looking results.

Edging Safely Around Obstacles

When cutting grass edges around obstacles, such as flower beds, driveways, sidewalks, and hoses, it’s important to exercise caution. Always wear protective gear, like gloves, safety goggles, and closed-toe shoes before starting. Keep children and pets away from the work area when using a lawn mower or edging tools.

One important safety tip is to check for any hidden hazards before starting the edging work. Some examples include rocks, sprinkler heads, and tree roots. Remove or make a note of such obstacles to avoid accidental injuries while edging.

Efficient Edging Techniques

Now that we’ve discussed safety measures, let’s dive into some efficient techniques that’ll give our lawn those perfect edges:

  1. Mow your lawn first: It’s essential to mow your lawn before beginning the edging process. By mowing, we can expose the original curve of our lawn, allowing for better and precise trimming around the edges. This step also helps prevent scalping or damage to the grass.

  2. Use the right tools: Select appropriate tools for the job, such as a half-moon edging tool for cutting clean edges or edging shears for regular trimming. This ensures a professional finish and efficient work.

  3. Create a drop: By creating a small drop of about 7.5cm (3 inches) from the lawn to the border, we keep plants off the grass and prevent it from growing into the border. Remove excess soil with a spade or a hoe to achieve a neat edge.

  4. Trim the edges regularly: It’s important to trim our lawn edges after each mowing session. This could be as often as once a week when our grass is in full growth stage. Regular trimming helps maintain the crisp edges and prevents grass from growing into borders.

By keeping these safety measures and best practices in mind, we can achieve picture-perfect lawn edges without any accidents or damage. Happy edging!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best tool for trimming lawn borders?

There are various tools we can use for trimming lawn borders. If you prefer manual tools, a half-moon edging iron works well for creating clean, straight edges. Powered edge cutters are also great for giving your lawn a neat finish, particularly if you have a large area to work on.

How can you create neat grass edges next to a wall?

To create neat grass edges next to a wall, we recommend using a long-handled edging shears. This tool allows you to trim the grass right up against the wall, giving you a tidy edge without too much effort. It’s essential to keep the blades sharp to ensure a clean cut.

What are the steps to manually edge a lawn?

Here’s a brief guide to manually edge your lawn:

  1. Mow your lawn first to have a clear view of the edges.
  2. Use a half-moon edging tool and create a straight edge using a plank of wood as a guide, or trim along a rope for curved edges.
  3. Remove any excess grass and soil from the newly cut edge.

Remember, it’s generally better to edge your lawn in spring when the ground is soft and easier to work with.

What’s the ideal method to edge a lawn beside paving slabs?

When you’re edging a lawn beside paving slabs, we suggest using a grass trimmer or an edging tool to cut the grass right up to the edge of the slab. After cutting, use a soft brush or broom to sweep away any grass clippings and debris.

How should you handle grass edging if you don’t have a trimmer?

If you don’t have a trimmer, consider using manual tools like lawn shears or a lawn edging knife to cut the grass edges. These tools are effective at giving you clean, straight edges, but they may require more time and effort than using a powered trimmer.

Could you give tips for beginners on how to neatly trim the edge of a lawn?

Certainly! Here are a few tips to help beginners achieve neatly trimmed lawn edges:

  • Mow your lawn first to establish clear borders.
  • Use a manual or powered edging tool, such as a half-moon edging iron or a grass trimmer.
  • Follow a guide, like a wooden plank or a rope, to achieve straight lines or precise curves.
  • Take your time and make small adjustments for a cleaner finish.
  • Regularly maintain and sharpen your tools for consistent results.

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