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Cutting Lawn Edges – Top Tips On How to Keep Lawn Edges Trim

Knowing how to trim lawn edges is the best way to achieve a perfectly manicured front or backyard. The good news is that cutting lawn edges isn’t tricky. And there is no fancy “cutting edge” technology involved. But the results of cutting lawn edges can be outstanding. So, for just a small investment of time and effort, your front yard can be the envy of the neighborhood.

What does it take to get clean lawn edges with a crisp, trimmed appearance? And what tools do you need to cut lawn edges? This article answers these questions and more. You will also find the answer to the question all gardeners ask: “Should I mow the lawn or cut the edges first?”

Why Do I Need to Cut Lawn Edges?

Cutting Lawn edges

Cutting lawn edges is necessary for putting the finishing touches to your garden landscape. A well-edged lawn keeps your driveway and walkways free of overgrown grass and weeds. In addition, trimming turf grass edges and smartening up the border boosts your home’s curb appeal. After all, why endure back-breaking gardening and leave the lawn looking shabby and untrimmed?

Cutting Lawn Edges is Important for Two Reasons—

  1. To create an aesthetically pleasing yard
  2. Keep weeds away.

Cutting a small trench between turf-grass and flowerbeds or driveways makes well-defined areas in your garden landscape that look crisp, sharp, and weed-free.

How Often Should you Trim Lawn Edges

It’s best to trim lawn edges as often as necessary to keep them neat and tidy. Some avid gardeners cut lawn edges after every weekly mowing session to maintain the perfect lawn edge. But others get the edger out once a month. Ultimately, the frequency of edging a lawn depends on several factors.  

For example, grass grows rapidly in areas of the country that get a lot of sunshine and frequent showers. This means that lawn edges can start looking unkempt every other week. Additionally, some homeowners don’t have the time to trim lawn edges every two weeks or so.

How to Trim Lawn Edges with a Manual Edger

The cheapest way to cut a lawn edge is with a manual edger. This budget-friendly edging tool typically has a sharp blade shaped in a half-circle or with a straight edge. To trim a lawn edge manually, you use the edging tool like a shovel, pressing down to cut several inches into the soil.

To ensure a perfectly straight edge, it’s best to cut against a plank of wood. This ensures the trench is uniform for the entire length of the lawn.

What about creating a curved edge on a lawn, for example, around a flowerbed? In that case, lay out a rope as your lawn edge cutting guide.

As you’d expect, it takes more effort and power to trim a lawn edge with a manual trimmer. However, if you’re on a budget, this is the best way to keep the lawn looking its best.

How to Trim Lawn Edges with an Electric Edger

Cutting lawn edges with an electric edger is the easiest way to achieve a lawn with crisp, sharp edges. The electric edging tool typically has between one and three wheels and a vertical spinning blade. Typically, corded electric or battery-powered edgers are suitable for edging lawns on residential properties.

Here is a step-by-step guide on cutting lawn edges with an electric trimmer.

Elderly Man Trimming Lawn Edges
  • Mow the entire lawn before tackling the edges. Do you want to know why? The following section explains the reasons in detail.
  • If necessary, mark the path along the lawn, keeping it an inch wide.
  • Keep the lawn edger on the driveway, sidewalk, or path. And follow the line of the path, avoiding blade contact with the hardscape to prevent damage.
  • Move forward slowly and steadily along the footpath or driveway to achieve the best edging results.
  • Ideally, it would be best if you aim to cut a 2-inch trench. This is the optimal depth to control weed spread and prevent patches of unwanted grass from appearing.
  • Once you have created a neat line between the hardscape and lawn, you must tidy the edges to make the manicured appearance. So, it’s time to get out the weed whacker or string trimmer.

Suppose you must edge the lawn around small flower beds. In that case, it’s best to use a manual half-moon edger to prevent damaging flowers and ornamental plants.

Top tip for trimming lawn edges: Always work from right to left if the weed whacker spins clockwise. This way, debris and clippings land on the lawn, not the walkway.

Should I Mow or Cut the Lawn Edges First

The big question novice gardeners ask is: which should you do first—mow a lawn and then the edges, or is it best the other way around? Unfortunately, opinion is divided. And each method has its advantages. In some cases, it just comes down to personal preference.

The advantage of edging a lawn first is that it’s easier to gather up clippings and garden debris after. Some experts also say that edging before mowing helps achieve a uniform cut when you mow it. However, edging first typically has more benefits if you regularly mow your lawn.

So, what do advocates of the “mow first, edge after” say? The benefits of mowing a lawn before edging are that you get to see the actual edge of the lawn. It will then be easier to create crisp edges around your lawn. In some cases, you may discover after mowing that your lawn edges are fine, and you don’t need to cut or trim them.

In the end, you can experiment with both methods to determine which works better for you.

Top Tips for Cutting Lawn Edges

Using a power edger to maintain a beautiful, lush, green lawn will make edging around flower beds and between pathways so much easier. So, your first choice will be to choose the type of power edger to buy.

For example, some electric lawn edgers are multi-purpose tools with an edger, trimmer, and mower in one unit. But, then, it’s essential to choose the power source. Most homeowners choose between a corded electric lawn edger and a battery-powered one.

Once you have decided and invested in a lawn edger, here are some top tips on maintaining a stunning lawn.

How to Trim Lawn Edges
  • Always wear the appropriate safety gear before edging or mowing a lawn.
  • Cut grass to around 2.5” tall to keep lawns healthier and reduce weed growth.
  • Ensure your lawn maintenance tools include an edger (manual or powered) and a string trimmer.
  • Use edging sheers to create crisp edges on smaller flower beds.
  • Always walk on the path or driveways—not the lawn—using a power edger.
  • Keep the lawn edger well-maintained and its blade sharp.
  • Invest in pavers and other edging solutions to reduce work in maintaining neat lawn edges.
  • Clear away any lawn or garden debris after gardening to prevent unwanted weeds from appearing.

Conclusion — Cutting Lawn Edges

Trimming lawn edges is a fundamental part of basic lawn care. Cutting lawn edges dramatically improves the curb appeal of your front yard and makes your backyard a beautiful place to relax. Of course, creating the perfect edge on your lawn takes some work, buying the best lawn edger will minimize the effort it takes.