Is your lawn invading sidewalks, driveways, and walkways? You should consider edging your lawn to keep your lawn from becoming overgrown and to improve the overall aesthetic appeal of your yard. Read this article to learn the 9 simple DIY steps to edge your lawn successfully.

How to Edge Your Lawn like a Pro in 9 Simple Steps

Step 1. Plan and Mark the Shape of Your Edging Path

This is an important first step, especially if it’s your first time DIY edging because it’s useful to have a clear idea of where you’ll be making your edging cuts. You can use tape, a hose, or a rope to delineate the areas where you plan to edge. Stay away from using spray paint because it is a less precise tool. You may find this unnecessary if you are simply edging beside your sidewalks, so feel free to skip it.

Step 2. Mow Your Grass

Mowing your lawn is an important early step in the edging process because it allows you to know how tall or short to trim your grass along the edges of your law. When mowing, you should refrain from cutting more than one-third of your grass blades at a time because you don’t want to ‘scalp’ your grass, or in other words, cut it too short. Grass cut too low can result in empty patches and weak grassroots. When this happens your lawn may need repair. we suggest you read through our comprehensive guide on how to repair patchy lawns.

Step 3. Choosing an Edging Tool

You have two options when choosing an edging tool: power or manual. Although power trimmers get the job done quicker, manual edgers provide you with more control and precision.

The Best Option: String Trimmer

Gas trimmers work best for large lawns, and electric trimmers are more environmentally friendly. Cordless trimmers are portable and lightweight and run on batteries.

String trimmers are a great lightweight power tool that can come in electric, gas, corded, or cordless form. They have a long shaft and a spinning head at the bottom — the spinning head creates a centrifugal force that slices through grass and weeds. Electric trimmers are by far the more eco-friendly option, but gas trimmers are better for large lawns. Cordless trimmers are a great option if you are looking for a portable and lightweight tool.

Manual Edgers

Just like string trimmers, there are multiple varieties of manual tools. They all require more effort, and your edging project usually takes longer as a result. Manual edgers do allow for more precision, however. These are the three types of manual edgers:

  • Dual Wheel Rotary Edgers: These edgers feature serrated blades attached to one side of a rubber wheel that slice through grass growing over the edges of pathways and driveways while the wheel rolls along the grass.
  • Landscaping Edgers: These edgers have a shaft that is 3-4 feet long with a steel blade at the bottom and footrests on either side. Landscaping edgers are primarily designed for removing grass and sod growing over a pathway or driveway. They can also be used to remove turf beside flower beds. You may also be able to find wooden landscaping edgers, which are lighter.
  • Edging Shears: You can generally use edging shears for touch-ups around your lawn. For example, if you have excess turf from your lawn’s edge, you can use edging sheers to remove it.

Step 4. Edge Your Planning Markings

Before you start your edging, make sure there are no electrical wires, plumbing pipes, or other buried hazards near your lawn. Because you don’t want to risk cutting into these hazards, make sure to give them a wide berth.

Proper Tool Use

If you are edging with a string trimmer, begin by flipping the head of the trimmer 180 degrees to turn it vertical, keeping the deflector shield facing in the direction of your body. While edging, walk on a hard surface of your pathway or driveway. Keep your arms straight and engage your core when edging, and use deliberate movements to keep the string trimmer level. Maintaining strong form will give you the straightest edge. Because most string trimmers spin clockwise, you should move left to right with edging, and the trimmings will fall back towards the lawn. Aim to cut about 2 inches deep when using power trimmers.

When using a manual edger, drive the tool straight down with your feet like you would with a shovel. You want the lip at the bottom to touch the soil. Keep your edger completely straight so that your edge becomes more defined. Finally, rock the edger side-to-side and follow by gently pulling the handle back up.

Step 5. Correct Cutting Lines or Uneven Edges

As you edge, it is useful to shovel up loose soil and turf to give you a better sense of how your edges look. Once you finished your initial edging, you may want to correct cutting lines and uneven edges. If you do need to make corrections, simply take your tools and make new cuts and trims.

Step 6. Edge Gardens and Sidewalks

For garden beds and sidewalks, use manual edgers to create more fluid edges. After marking the area you want to edge, follow the same steps for manual edging a perimeter. Once again, use slow, steady, and deliberate movements.

Step 7. Use Edging Shears on Bushes and Shrubs

After edging the perimeter of your lawn and your gardens, you can use your edging shears to prune and trim your shrubs and bushes. You can use your edging sheers to maintain straight-edged hedges and cut back perennials. This is one of the best ways to beautify your garden and enhance your plant’s growth.

Step 8. Clean Up Clippings

Following the completion of your edging, take a stiff brush and clean all grass, soil, and residue from your trimmer, edger, edging shears, and other tools. If debris hardens and dries, you will have a much more difficult time using the equipment the next time you want to edge your lawn.

Step 9. Trim Lawn Regularly

It is important to trim your lawn regularly to ensure that it doesn’t become overgrown. Wild and untamed edges are a headache to deal with, so you should try to keep your lawn under control. Plus, if you trim your lawn regularly, you will certainly increase your lawn’s curb appeal.

Note that having reliable lawn care equipment is crucial to effectively nurture and maintain your lawn.

Should You Mow Before or After Edging a Lawn?

You should always mow before you edge your lawn. By mowing first, you will know how short to cut or trim the grass along the edges of your lawn, and you will be less likely to leave weedy or bare patches.

When To Edge Your Lawn

On average, most lawns only need to be edged once per year. You should aim to edge sometime around late June, as this will allow you to avoid the peak growing season of April to May. Your lawn will grow slower from July to December, enabling your edging work to last longer.

Lawn Edging Without an Edger

If you can’t find an edger or string trimmer to trim the edges of your lawn, you can use several alternative tools. Most of these tools run on muscle power, so you should be willing to put some physical effort in to get your edging job done. Here are some alternative tools:

Flat Shovel

Flat shovels allow for very fast and precise edging. It will take you much longer to edge your lawn with this tool, however. Although digging out the entire perimeter of your lawn is time-consuming, this may be a great option if you have a smaller yard.

Half-Moon Edger

Half-moon edgers work similarly to flat shovels. While they offer great precision, they require a lot of effort to edge your entire lawn. The cleanup with a half-moon edger is also trickier because you can’t use it to scoop up the debris created by your edging. This means that you’ll need a rake or shovel to clean up your yard after the edging is complete.

Reciprocating Saw

While the reciprocating saw is usually used for construction, experienced landscapers can use them to edge their lawn. This tool is lightweight and will cut through anything in your yard with ease. The drawback is that reciprocating saws are expensive and sometimes hard to find. They can also strain your back because you need to be bent over during the entire edging process.

Lawn Shears

You can use lawn shears to edge your lawn by walking and snipping loose or overhanging blades of grass without having to reach all the way to the ground. But this tool is not particularly useful if you have a lot of turf that needs to be cut away. While lawn shears will give you a great forearm workout, your knees might not like you so much after you’re finished.

Utility Knife

You can use utility knives to trace the edges of your yard, but this can be a labor-intensive process. Like other manual edging alternatives, you can increase your precision with a knife at the expense of your time and effort.

Lawn Mower

Lawnmowers can make for decent alternatives to most edgers, depending on the layout of your yard. If you have a really level lawn with mostly straight lines and neat borders, mowers can get your edging job done fast and effectively. However, mowers can’t maneuver very well, so you may struggle to edge boulevards with curbs or other tricky parts of your lawn’s perimeter.

What is the Best Lawn Edger?

    Best Cordless Lawn Edger: Worx 2-in-1 Cordless 12-inch Grass Trimmer

    This edger has dual-position wheels, two cordless lithium batteries, and a two-hour dual charger. It easily converts from a trimmer to an edger with no tools required. The edger’s design features a quick release lever for height adjustments and a 90-degree tilting shaft to handle any terrain. Cost: $139.99

    Best Corded Lawn Edger: BLACK+DECKER 2-in-1 String Trimmer / Edger and Trencher, 12 -Amp

    This lawn edger has a high-powered motor that can handle weeds and undergrowth. It can convert from a lawn edger to a trencher with ease and has a three-position blade depth adjustment, which makes it a great tool for many lawncare projects. This edger comes with a built-in cord retention compartment and a heavy-duty Black & Decker replacement blade.

    Cost: $99.00

    Best Gas-Powered Lawn Edger: CRAFTSMAN  E410 9-in Push Walk Behind Gas Lawn Edger

    The Craftsman edger is a great tool for edging your lawn. It has a four-cycle no-mix gas-and-oil engine mounted on a steel frame. Its 9-inch dual-tip steel blade provides clean cuts along driveways and sidewalks. The edger has a well-designed handle with throttle and idle controls that allow for easy operation.

    Cost: $239.00

    Best Handheld Lawn Edger: Truper 32100 Tru Tough Rotary Manual Lawn Edger

    This is an excellent manual edger that is durable and aesthetically appealing. Its wheel trimmer makes for easy edging and ensures that your lawn stays in top shape. The edger also comes with 10-year coverage for replacements or issues.

    Cost: $128.00

    Final Thoughts: Should You Edge Your Lawn?

    Edging your lawn is an important part of keeping your yard in good shape. If left unchecked, the grass in your yard will grow over the edges of the pavement and create an annoying mess. By edging, you can create a root barrier that stops invading grass, which will save you lots of time and energy when mowing and trimming your lawn.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    When is the best time to edge your lawn?

    You should edge your lawn in June so that you avoid the peak growing season of April to May. Your lawn will grow slower from July to December, enabling your edging work to last longer.

    How often should I edge my lawn?

    Most lawns do not need to be edged more than once per year, but you can always touch up your lawn’s edges whenever it is needed.

    Is lawn edging worth it?

    Edging your lawn is an important step to keeping your yard looking good. By edging, you can create a root barrier that stops invading grass, which will save you lots of time and energy when trimming your lawn. If you are a homeowner, lawn edging is very important for your property’s curb appeal.

    Do I have to continue edging my lawn?

    Yes, you should continue to edge your lawn if you want to maintain the curb appeal of your yard.

    Today's Homeowner Lawn Rating Methodology

    At Today's Homeowner, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.

    Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each lawn care service’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

    We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

    • Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each lawn treatment company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
    • Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at the number of lawn care coverages, including weed control, seeding, irrigation, aeration, dethatching, and more.
    • Trust (10): What do customers say after their lawn has been serviced? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
    • Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same lawn services.
    • Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as organic treatments, pest control, or a mobile app? We looked for extras each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
    • Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
    • Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability
    Editorial Contributors
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    Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Senior Staff Writer

    Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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    Lora Novak

    Senior Editor

    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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