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A well-kept lawn enhances the curb appeal of any home. Knowing how to edge a lawn will keep your walkways clear of overgrown grass and weeds. You’ll have a more polished look by trimming the edges and sprucing up the border. This guide will explain basic lawn care and how to edge a lawn using manual or outdoor power tools such as string trimmers and edgers.
Mow Your Lawn
- Before you edge your lawn, mow it with a lawn mower set to cut the grass approximately 2 1/2-inches tall.
- It's not a good idea to remove more than the top third of the grass blades each time you mow. If you cut too low, the blades won’t be able to grow and support as many roots as they need to produce a lush, green lawn.
Choose Edging & Trimming Tools
The tools for edging a lawn and the ones for trimming a lawn can be different. Proper landscaping means understanding the difference between edging and trimming. With edging, an actual cut is made in the lawn. This “edge” puts a line between the grass and borders or sidewalks.
Trimming is cutting grass in spaces where your lawn mower can’t reach, such as against a wall or fence. There are several manual and power tools you can use to properly edge or trim a lawn.
- String trimmers are available in gas, electric and corded or cordless models. Some come in kits with attachments to tackle different tasks.
- Gas string trimmers are great for larger lawns and can be used when the ground is damp, while electric trimmers are lightweight and more environmentally friendly.
- Cordless string trimmers usually run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which makes them both lightweight and portable. Maintenance is minimal.
- A wheeled lawn edger cuts edges quickly and efficiently, up to 90 feet per minute. It’s user-friendly, with fingertip controls and a ratchet-arm with a height adjustment feature.
- A bed edger lets you define and create flower beds in your landscape. Its zero-turn steering makes shaping borders easy.
- Edging shears are ideal for snipping away grass in awkward places such as stepping stones or around garden beds.
Tip: A string trimmer works well for curves while edging shears may be best for garden paths or small patios.
Plan It Out
An important step in learning how to edge a lawn is to scope out the project. Determine where to start and what tools to use for which areas. When edging a lawn, think about how to approach hills and flat areas. For complicated curvy projects, consider marking the edging areas with stakes and string. Start at the perimeter and work your way inward. For large, relatively flat areas, try to begin and end at the same point for a more efficient result.
Safety Tip: Always wear safety glasses. Use ear protection such as plugs when operating power tools.
Using a Lawn Edger
Lawn edgers cut a trench between the grass and hedges or other areas using a very sharp blade. A lawn edger is a tool that you can use to trim the grass on the very edge of a lawn or flowerbed that the lawnmower may not be able to reach. They work really well when figuring out how to edge a sidewalk or keeping grass from growing over a walkway.
Tip: Be careful when edging around rocks, mailboxes or other obstacles to avoid damaging the blade.
Edging with a String trimmer
A string trimmer can be used to edge a lawn or maintain it. Here’s how to keep lawn edges neat:
- Start using your string trimmer to slowly edge the border of your yard, following the existing lawn outline. If there’s no clear outline established, follow the path of your driveway, sidewalk or walkway.
- Focus on grass that has overgrown onto the sidewalk and/or driveway.
- Tread more carefully or use a lower speed around curved areas and near flower beds or stone pavers.
- Make sure to wear gloves to protect your hands and safety glasses to guard your eyes. If you are sensitive to grass, pollen and other landscape debris, wear a face mask to shield your nose and mouth as well.
Using a Manual Edger
Budget-friendly, a manual edger can have a straight blade or one shaped like a half circle. It works like a shovel and cuts deeply into the soil. Manual rotary edgers have spiked wheels for cleaner cutting. Using a manual edger requires a lot of muscle power to create a clean, crisp edge, but it can be used anywhere.
Pavers and Other Edging Ideas
Hardscapes edging, such as pavers, will give your entire landscape a finished look. Create a boundary along the border of your sidewalk and along mulched areas. Pavers come in a variety of colors and shapes to match the look of your home. You can set the pavers on top of the ground using a paver base. Or you can dig a trench and put the pavers in so they are level with the surrounding ground. Installing pavers this way makes it easier to mow. Maintain the look with routine edging with a string trimmer.
Hedges make great borders. Keep them maintained so you won't have to remove large amounts of foliage at any one time. After you groom the perimeter, focus on any existing shrubs and bushes. Prune any excess foliage with hand shears or hedge trimmers, but make sure to work in small sections so you can keep the shapes even. For smaller yards, consider placing new shrubs along the front of your house, near the mailbox or down the walkway.
Tip: A compatible assortment of evergreen shrubbery is a great way to create edging for a lawn.
Lawn Edging Maintenance Tips
The edges of your lawn will require regular maintenance.
- How often you’ll need to mow and tidy the edges depends on the time of year, the size of your lawn and how often you fertilize.
- Fortunately, edging a lawn is less time-consuming after the initial trim. Start with weekly touch-ups to see how quickly the grass grows and then adjust your schedule accordingly.
- Once the lawn has been mowed and edged, treat any weeds with a lawn weed killer that also preserves your grass. Be safe, and read and follow the directions on your product for how much to use and how often to apply it.
- If you plan to lay new sod or grass seed over any sparse areas, read the label on your product to see how long you should wait after applying the weed killer. Wear gloves to protect your hands.
No edging or trimming job is complete without a thorough clean up. Use a leaf blower to disperse clippings into the lawn or sweep them up with a broom. If you allow the clippings and other debris to build up, they can become a fertile spot for grass and weeds to grow. Removing debris also gives your landscaped lawn a final polished look.
Create a well-manicured lawn whether you buy edging tools such as a lawn edger or a string trimmer, or choose from our lawn and garden equipment rental. Use this guide to plan out the job. Follow the tips above to keep the look maintained. Need help identifying a tool or material? Find products fast with image search in The Home Depot app. Snap a picture of an item you like and we'll show you similar products. Shop all the items you need to edge your lawn. The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.