Edge cutter for lawn. Edge cutter for lawn

How to Edge a Lawn in 10 Easy Steps

If you’ve never edged a lawn before, don’t worry—we’ll teach you how to get the neatest, nicest edges around your walkways and garden beds.

Your lawn may be a beautiful expanse of lush, green grass, but if you haven’t edged properly, it won’t look all that great. If you don’t take a little time and effort, the strip of grass lining your walkways and skirting your driveway and flower beds will look sloppy.

But there’s good news. If you want a well-manicured lawn that’s easier to maintain, you just need to follow a few simple steps. This Old House will show you how to edge your lawn with a complete, easy-to-follow guide.

Once your lawn is nice and polished, if you want to keep it healthy, consider hiring a professional lawn care company like TruGreen. With five annual plans, TruGreen covers everything from fertilization to aeration. If you’d like a free quote from TruGreen, call 1-866-817-2287 or fill out this simple form.

Step 1: Mow The Grass

Whenever you edge your lawn, you should always start off by mowing. That way, you’ll know how short or tall to trim your grass along the edges of your lawn. A general rule of thumb—never cut more than ⅓ of your grass blades at a time. You don’t want to cut your grass too low, or “scalp” it. That can result in bare patches and weak grassroots.

edge, cutter, lawn

Step 2: Plan The Path

Especially if this is your first time edging, it’s a good idea to delineate your planned path with tape, a hose, or rope to show you where you’ll make your edging cuts. Don’t be tempted to use spray paint—it could get windy, or you may miss. But if you are simply edging along sidewalks and don’t feel this is necessary, you can skip it altogether.

Step 3: Choose An Edger

Now, it’s time to choose your edger—power or manual. Power edgers, like string trimmers, will get the job done faster, but manual edgers will give you more control.

String Trimmers

String trimmers are often used as edgers, and some are called trimmers/edgers. These lightweight power tools can come in electric, gas, corded, or cordless form. They feature a long shaft with a spinning head at the bottom. The spinning head uses a monofilament string to create centrifugal force that cuts through grass and weeds. Gas trimmers work best for large lawns, and electric trimmers are more environmentally friendly. Cordless trimmers are portable and lightweight, and run on batteries.

Manual Edgers

  • Landscaping Edgers: These have a 3-4 foot shaft with a half-moon steel blade at the bottom, with footrests on either side. These are best used for removing grass and sod growing over a pathway or driveway, or for removing turf next to a flower bed. There are also manual edgers with wooden shafts, which are lighter than their steel counterparts.
  • Dual Wheel Rotary Edgers: Dual wheel rotary edgers feature serrated blades attached to one side of a rubber wheel. That side slices through grass growing over the edges of driveways and walkways, while the other wheel rolls along the grass.
  • Edging Shears: Edging shears are primarily used for touch-ups. Homeowners use them to remove any excess turf from their lawn’s edge.

Step 4: Put On Safety Gear

Put on a sturdy pair of gloves and a pair of safety glasses to shield your eyes from grass, pollen, and any debris. You can also wear a face mask to protect your nose and mouth if you are sensitive to allergens.

Step 5: Edge The Perimeter

Now, the edging begins. Before you get started, make sure you know where any electrical wires, plumbing pipes, or other buried hazards may be. You don’t want to risk cutting into them with your edger, so make sure to give them a wide berth.

You may want to do a practice edge to get familiar with the movements. We recommend doing that in a part of your lawn that isn’t too visible, or your backyard.

Edging With A String Trimmer

You’ll want to flip the head of the trimmer 180 degrees, making it vertical, with the deflector shield facing toward your body. Walk on the hard surface of the walkway or driveway as you edge.

The form you should take is simple. Keep your arms straight, engage your core, and move your body with deliberate movements, keeping the string trimmer level. This will give you the straightest edge. Be mindful of the direction your string trimmer spins, and move accordingly. Most of them spin the string clockwise, so you should move left to right while trimming—the trimmings will fall back onto the lawn.

For power edgers and manual edgers, cut just about 2 inches deep.

Edging With A Manual Edger

Using a manual edger is a lot like using a shovel. Drive it straight down into the ground with your feet, so the lip at the bottom touches the soil. Make sure it’s completely straight—that will make your edge more defined. Rock the edger side-to-side, then gently pull the handle back up.

Step 6: Check For Jagged Areas

Shovel up loose soil, turf, or mulch periodically as you go along, and place it in a wheelbarrow. Once you do this, you have a good sense of your edging—and can tell if there are any jagged areas you may need to go over again.

edge, cutter, lawn

Step 7: Edge Garden Beds

Manual edgers may be your best bet when edging along curved garden beds, since they can create more fluid edges. Mark the area you want to edge, and follow the same steps for manual edging a perimeter. Go slow and steady, with deliberate movement.

Step 8: Prune and Trim Shrubs and Bushes

Once your perimeter and curved pathways are taken care of, take your edging shears and prune your shrubs and bushes. Going in small, regular sections will help make the shapes even.

Step 9: Clean Up Debris

After you’ve finished edging, use a stiff brush to clean all grass, soil, and residue from your trimmer, edger, or edging shears. If any debris dries and hardens, it will make it difficult to use the equipment the next time around.

Step 10: Maintain Your Lawn

After all that work, you’ll want to keep your lawn in tip-top shape. This Old House Reviews Team recommends hiring a professional lawn care company like TruGreen to handle your routine fertilization, aeration, weed control, and more.

TruGreen offers five different annual plans to choose from across every state except for Alaska. To get a free quote from TruGreen, call 1-866-817-2287 or fill out this simple form.


McLane edger/trimmers use single lever blade clutch and depth control. The cutter head is precision machined and uses sealed precision ball bearings on a 2″x9″ spring steel blade. Each edger/Trimmer uses an all steel heavy duty chassis along with a tubular steel handle, and is finished with a powder coated-baked polyester paint that resists chipping and corrosion. McLane edger/trimmers cut vertically or horizontally, and do it smoothly thanks to wide rubber tires with ball bearing wheels. Best of all, McLane edgers are designed to ride on most curbs while still delivering a clean cut every time. The blade can be quickly and easily tilted to almost any angle, and will trim flat at any height. The front wheels move to convert from edger to trimmer in seconds. All McLane edger/trimmers meet all established safety standards.

100, 100-5.50GT-7-S, 101, 101-5.50GT-7-P, 4G-7-P (STEEL WHEEL), 4g-7p

Briggs Stranton, Briggs Stratton, Honda

Cancellation Policy

Mclane Cancellation Policy

If for any reason you change your mind on an order you just placed on our website or over the phone, McLane will be happy to cancel the order under the following conditions:

Free same day cancellation is available when the order is placed during our regular business hours from 7 am to 2:30 pm PST. Free same day cancellation is not available if you reach our voicemail after hours. Cancellation request must be acknowledged by a Mclane customer service representative.

Cancellations done on the next business day will have a 4% cancellation fee considering that the order has not shipped.

Cancellations after the order has shipped and in transit is not acceptable as we are unable to re-route the freight or package. Customer will be responsible to receive the order and ship back to us at their own shipping/freight expense and under our returns policy. Customer will be required to send us an email requesting an RMA through our customer service department. Returns without an RMA will be rejected and not eligible for refund. We are not responsible for returned items lost or damaged during transit.

If delivery of the order is rejected or not accepted, customer will be responsible for freight expenses both ways and there will be an additional 25% restocking fee. Charges will be deducted from the eligible refund.

How to edge a lawn – 6 steps for creating a professional finish

Edging a lawn is an easy but effective way of shaping your plot. A simple and therapeutic task, the results can hugely transform the look of your outside space and enable you to create borders, patios and paths with a Smart, professional finish. It can also make ongoing maintenance and jobs such as weeding and mulching borders easier and quicker to do.

Whether you are starting from scratch cutting borders from a lawn, redesigning existing ones or just smartening up lawn edging already in place, there are a few reasons why it’s worth spending the time getting it right.

‘Edges define each area of the garden – flower and veg beds, paths, seating areas and lawns, and it’s lawns that are affected by poor definition,’ says gardening expert Tim Rumball. ‘Their flat nature leads your eye to the edges in search of form, and if the edges are not sharp it will show. Cutting a clear edge on the lawn not only defines its edge, but also the edge of each flower border, path or other garden feature it butts up against. That’s why lawn neatness matters so much.’

Tim Rumball was editor of Amateur Gardening magazine in the UK for 20 years. He is a keen grower of edibles and wrote a popular series called Grow, Cook and Eat. He is also know for his practical no nonsense approach to gardening.

How to edge a lawn

Whatever condition your lawn is in, smartening up the edges will make it look 10 times better. A crisp, smooth defining line between grass and surrounding soil or backyard pavers, will accentuate the space, highlight planting and show off the overall plot design.

Here’s how to edge a lawn in six easy steps.

Decide on the shape of the lawn

Changing the shape of your lawn and its surroundings can dramatically alter the look and feel of a backyard. While straight edges create a formal feel, more irregular, sweeping lines introduce a sense of movement and lend a much softer mood.

‘First, look at areas of lawn where there is no edge,’ says Tim Rumball. ‘Where shrubs and other plants or objects throw shade on the lawn the grass often retreats, allowing the border soil to advance. Deal with the shade by cutting back plants or moving objects, or by recutting the edge line deeper into the lawn, expanding the flower border. Shifting the edge line can only be done a limited number of times!’

‘You can also use shapes to create optical illusions: straight borders down either side of a garden can make it look smaller, whereas a sweeping curve can make it feel bigger than it actually is,’ says Rainer Schubert, managing director at garden tool specialist Burgon Ball.

edge, cutter, lawn

When it comes to planting a new flower bed or redefining existing beds and borders, a maximum distance of around 3ft 2in deep is ideal. This will allow enough space for plants to intermingle without the border proving too awkward to weed or maintain.

Mark out a new lawn edge

‘It’s really important to mark out your flower bed before you start cutting, to give you a line to follow,’ Schubert continues. ‘It’s really not a good idea to try to do it by eye! For straight lines, use string stretched between two canes. For a perfect circle, use string tied to a stake in the ground at the center point, then walk around it, holding the string taut, using marking paint on the ground.’

Another technique to achieve super straight edges is to use a wooden board as a guide. ‘Straight lines are easy,’ confirms Tim Rumball. ‘Set a garden line along the full length of the edge you want to cut. Lay a stout, straight plank of wood along the line on the lawn side and, standing on the plank, cut right along its edge using a half-moon lawn edger. Thrust the edger blade into the soil tight on the plank, then lean the handle forward a little to clearly define the cut. Shift the plank along as you advance up the lawn.’

If you want to create a curved lawn edge, Tim has this advice: ‘Tackle curves by laying a hose exactly along the line you want to cut. Peg it down with tent pegs on the lawn side so it holds its shape, then using a half-moon edger, cut carefully along the outside edge of the hose. Follow through with the border spade removing waste turf or flicking soil into the border until you’ve got a clearly defined edge to the lawn with a vertical drop-away into the border at least 2in deep.’

Many professional landscapers use grass landscaping paint, such as this Seymour temporary marker paint from Amazon, to draw their designs out. Coming in an easy-to-use spray can, simply spray the cutting line on the grass redrawing any corrections if needed. Most paints wash away after spraying with a hose or rainfall. Creating an outline with handfuls of sand also works well and can be hosed or brushed away once the edge is cut.

Use the right tools

You can choose from manual and automated edging tools. From side attachments available for petrol and electric lawn mowers, to cordless edgers with rotating circular blades there are plenty of powered tools that will handle the job competently. These really come into their own when maintaining a newly created edge or at least cutting fresh growth from a regularly trimmed outline.

If you are looking to cut a new edge into a lawn or significantly change its shape a manual edger will give neater and more precise results.

The ideal manual tool for cutting crisp lines in turf is a half-moon lawn edger, also known as a step edger. Long handled with a semi-circular blade – sometimes with a serrated edge – it is designed to be stood on with one foot and pushed cleanly into turf to create a clean cut.

Radius Garden Carbon Steel Edger | 39.99 at Amazon Featuring a carbon steel sharp edge that can easily cut through sod, this manual edging tool is designed with an ergonomic handle to ensure you get a better grip, while also reducing hand and wrist stress.

Cut the edge

Edging a lawn with a manual half-moon lawn edger can take a while, depending on the size of the lawn but is very satisfying. Developing a good technique will ensure good results and can combat back strain. Working at a 90 degree angle to the grass to create a straight downward edge.

The team at lawn experts Rolawn also add, ‘Place the edging tool roughly 2 inches in from the edge and dig into the lawn about 2 inches deep. As you lift the edging tool, the excess lawn and soil should lift with it. This can be dropped into a bucket for removal to your compost bin, or local garden waste facility.’

Continue your way around the lawn, closely following the guideline, to create a smooth, jagged-free edge.

Correcting your line

If you need to redraw your cutting line, simply mark over the existing one – as clearly as you can – and be mindful when you come to cutting in this area. It often helps to stand back and take a fresh look at your proposed outline just so you be confident in your decision.

If you do have to alter a line that’s already been cut, then – depending on where you want your new line to go – you can leave the surplus turf in place and fill the cut with compost and by planting grass seed, or move the line back into the existing lawn before recutting.

Narrow cuts in a lawn should be able to repair themselves given a few weeks and moist, warm weather conditions.

Achieve a Smart finish

Once you’ve established a crisp, vertical edge to a lawn it is important to trim it regularly. During warm growing periods, such as spring and early fall, this may need to be done weekly. Grass slows in growth during hot and cold weather reducing the need for any clipping.

Lawn edging issues to watch out for

You may come across some resistance when cutting your lawn edge. If you do, it’s important to identify the obstruction, so you know how to deal with it before pressing ahead.

Irrigation pipes, electrical cables and substantial roots are all likely causes and should not be cut through. The best solution, if they can’t be moved is to adjust the direction of the edge if possible or skip over the obstacle and pick up the cutting line just the other side.

How to repair a broken or crumbling lawn edge

If a section of lawn edge has become too damaged to successfully create a firm edge in line with the rest of the lawn, you can repair it.

Family run Jacksons Nurseries suggest, ‘If you have a broken open edge in your lawn (if one of the edges does not extend right to the border for a short distance), it’s best to cut out a square section of turf that contains the broken edge using your edging iron or garden spade. Under-cut the turf to remove it, then turn it through 180 degrees and re-lay so that the straight edge aligns with the lawn edge.’

Repair the damaged section, which is now within the lawn, by filling with topsoil and reseeding. The best time to plant grass seed is either in spring or fall, depending on the type of grass you are growing, so do bear this in mind.

How to maintain lawn edges

Once a sharp lawn edge has been established, keep it looking its best by trimming with long handled shears once a week. Grass tends to grow horizontally so it is important to clip off any of these spreading rhizomes and any long, straggling blades to prevent them invading neighboring borders.

Stand on the lawn, facing the border and work your way along the lawn edge with the shears. Hold the side of the shear’s blade against the soil edge as you snip to maintain an even cutting line. Be careful to avoid nicking chunks out of the lawn edge with the tips of the blades.

How to keep manual edging tools sharp

Clean sharp tools are the key to creating a neat, professional lawn edge. Filing the cutting edge with a metal file or sharpening stone works well but a simpler way is to fill a bucket with damp coarse sand and repeatedly push the cutting blade down in to the mix. This will also help to remove dirt and combat rust.

When is the best time to edge a lawn?

Spring is undoubtedly the best time to edge a lawn, as during this time the grass is growing steadily and the underlying soil is soft enough to cut into. It will also give any newly added sections or repaired lawn edges time to regrow and establish before the heat of the summer takes hold.

If you’re also mowing the lawn at the same time, make sure you know the correct mower height for spring so you can keep the rest of the lawn looking just as Smart as your new edging.

How do you edge a lawn without an edger?

A clean, sharp, straight spade is a good alternative to any lawn edger. Ensure the blade is as flat as possible, many spades are slightly concave which can lead to unsightly, scalloped edges. Use a wooden board for neat straight lines or a rope (or hose) as a guide for sweeping curves.

Step on to your spade and push it down into the soil 2-3 inches and pull the blade backwards and forwards slight, to create a groove. Repeat along the line and once the groove is completed, carefully remove the surplus turf by sliding the spade underneath.

Should you mow before or after edging?

There is some debate as to which is the best practice, but the RHS suggest mowing the lawn first, before clipping the edges with long handled shears. This way the results tend to be neater and more even and there’s less chance of compressing newly cut edges with the lawn mower.

Edging your lawn is an easy way to elevate the look of your grass, creating sharp, clean lines so that the edges of your flower beds or paving are clearly defined.

Although it might seem like a lengthy task the first time, once your edges have been created, maintaining them is relatively straightforward if you make it part of your regular lawn care routine.

Understanding String Trimmers and Lawn Edgers

Most people view lawn mowers as the most important product for their yard, but other products are just as vital. String trimmers and lawn edgers can’t mow the lawn, but they will help give your yard a well-manicured look. String trimmers are used to trim the grass in tight spots that a lawn mower can’t reach, like along a fence, under decks or near delicate plants and shrubs. On the other hand, lawn edgers are used to clean up borders along sidewalks and driveways. Before you purchase a string trimmer or lawn edger, it’s helpful to learn the different types of products available.

There are two different types of gas string trimmers to fit your needs:

2-Cycle Trimmers: The 2-cycle trimmer models require the mixing of oil and gas, so you’ll need to keep it on hand in a separate fuel container for your string trimmer.

4-Cycle Trimmers: Larger 4-cycle trimmer models use gasoline only, like your tractor or lawn mower. They don’t require the mixing of oil and gas. Oil for lubrication is in a separate reservoir in the engine. In addition, Troy-Bilt offers an easy and reliable start with the JumpStart’ engine starter that eliminates the need to pull start your string trimmer. You can choose from a corded, cordless or drill bit adaptor engine starter. Simply press the button, remove the adaptor and the string trimmer is ready to go. The JumpStart’ engine starter can be used on any JumpStart-capable string trimmer, lawn edger, cultivator or blower.

String trimmers also have different kinds of shafts to fit your needs:

Curved Shaft Trimmers: Curved shaft trimmer models, like the TB625 EC Curved Shaft Gas String Trimmer, are usually lighter weight ‘ ideal for smaller yards with few shrubs. They are better suited to close trimming around ornamentals and intricate work.

Straight Shaft Trimmers: Straight shaft trimmers, like the TB675 EC Straight Shaft Gas String Trimmer, are good for larger yards, and reaching under decks and around trees, patios and larger shrubs. For taller users, straight shaft trimmers also tend to be more comfortable to use and can help reduce user fatigue.

There are also electric string trimmers if you’re looking for a quieter model. Corded electric string trimmers don’t require charging and are convenient for smaller jobs. While these models are lighter and quieter than gas-powered, remember that power cords will limit your range. Cordless electric string trimmers have all the advantages of the corded trimmers ‘ without the cord. They are easy to use for lawns with many obstacles and trimming areas that may reach beyond where a cord can take you.

There are two types of edgers for your lawn:

Electric or battery: Just like electric string trimmers, these lawn edgers require no fuel or oil to operate. Keep in mind whether you’ll need a corded or cordless electric cultivator when making your selection.

Gas-powered: These lawn edgers will provide the most power and versatility for creating that finished look for your yard. They can cover a larger area quicker and more efficiently than electric units. The Troy-Bilt TB554 Gas Lawn Edger is perfect for cutting a clean edge along driveways and walks. It features variable edging depths and bevel capabilities.

Adding a string trimmer and lawn edger to your shed, will make your lawn look polished in no time. Remember, although these products have safety features, always use caution while operating outdoor power equipment.