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Should You Edge or Mow First

Should I mow the lawn or edge it first? Any gardener who wants a lush, beautiful, healthy lawn with a manicured look will ask themselves this question. Edging a lawn is crucial because a neat edge gives the lawn a trimmed appearance. However, is this a gardening task that you should do before or after mowing the turf grass?

Manuel lawn edger

A quick internet search on the benefits of edging or mowing a lawn first brings up conflicting opinions. This is because there are pros and cons to taking out the lawn mower first and attacking the edges with a grass trimmer. For some people, the question is a matter of personal preference. However, others cite advantages to edging first, like making it easier to clear grass clippings.

So, what should it be — trimmer then mower, or mower then edger? This article looks at the best ways to get a stunning, healthy lawn to enhance your property’s aesthetics and curb appeal.

Edging a Lawn First — The Advantages

Most gardeners say that you should always edge a lawn before mowing. This generally makes it easier to gather clippings in the lawnmower after edging, cutting down on your gardening work.

But what are the advantages and disadvantages of going with the edger first then the mower?

Lawn edging before mowing has the advantage of cutting down on gardening work. Maintaining a manicured lawn is a time-consuming task. For example, many of the grass clippings end up on the lawn. So, when you mow the lawn after, you collect much of the debris that edging caused.

Some gardeners like that there are extra clippings from the edges to add nutrients to the lawn. But it’s good to remember that not all edge clippings are beneficial for turf grass. You will get bits of soil, weeds, and stones that require removing from the lawn.

Why should I edge my lawn before mowing?

Edging first usually results in less clean-up. The lawnmower will catch most of the clippings, weeds, and debris the edger throws onto the lawn. Anything to make your job easier is a definite advantage.

Mowing a Lawn First — The Advantages

There are some advantages to taking the lawnmower to the grass before edger. For example, it’s not always necessary to edge a lawn before mowing. And sometimes, the need for edging is only apparent after trimming the turf-grass. Additionally, mowing the lawn is usually a major undertaking. Therefore, you can use your strength to get this done first.

The main advantage of mowing first is convenience. When you mow the lawn before edging, you chop off many weeds and overhanging grass at the borders. So, you may find that there is no or very little edging required after mowing your lawn.

Mowing before doing edges

If you have a particularly unkempt lawn edge, mowing first may not be the best idea. After mowing, you will have a neatly trimmed lawn. But, when you take the edger to straighten the borders, you will have a lot of messy edge clippings on the lawn, which can be troublesome to clear.

Why should I mow my lawn before edging?

Mowing before edging has advantages because it can save you time and effort, especially if you’re in the habit of mowing a lawn regularly.

Why It’s Vital to Edge a Lawn?

Edging a lawn is the best way to create a neat, tidy appearance on the edges. Running an edger or trimmer along your lawn’s borders removes weeds and stray grasses that could spoil its appearance. The goal is to achieve good straight lines around your yard.

There are two types of gardening power tools suitable for edging a lawn — a trimmer and an edger.

A string trimmer or weed whacker typically has a nylon cord that spins to cut stray grass. This is ideal for trimming around trees and shrubs or running along the edge of a lawn. Many of these lawn care tools have an edging attachment to make your work easier.

A dedicated lawn edger does as its name implies. It cuts along the edge of a lawn to create and finely-groomed edge. Usually, the garden edger tool has a cutting blade that is straight or curved, depending on the look you want to achieve.

There are three types of edgers to choose from:

  • Manual stick edger: A manual edger is a simple tool that requires a lot of labor to cut the lawn edge.
  • Motorized handheld edger: This is the most popular edging tool. Usually, it has an edging blade at right-angles on the end of a long pole. However, it takes some practice to achieve nice, clean edges.
  • Walk-behind edger: The easiest way to get straight lines along the border of your lawn is a walk-behind edger. This power tool looks like a lawnmower but has a cutting blade on its edge.

It’s not necessary to edge a lawn each time you mow. Especially during the growing season, you’ll find that you only need to trim a lawn’s edges every second or third mow. This way, you avoid thinning the edge too much, spoiling your lawn’s appearance.

Edging a lawn is a great way to add definition and order to your yard. However, it’s also essential to know how deep to edge a lawn.

How Deep Should I Edge My Lawn?

Most gardeners recommend edging a lawn to a depth of 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm). This should provide a nice, straight line or gap between paving without damaging the grass roots, which usually grow about 6 inches (10 cm) deep. Most lawn edgers have an adjustable depth between 1 and 3 inches. (2.5 to 7.5 cm).

How do you Keep Grass from Growing over Edging?

Man cutting lawn edges

Cutting a suitable border around your lawn is the best way to prevent stray grass blades from making it look shabby. To achieve this, you can cut a 2-inch edge, use mulch, or cut the grass so that clippings don’t end up in the border.

Here are the best tips to prevent a weed infestation and ensure that grass doesn’t grow over edging:

  • Use an edger with a sharp blade to cut a border 2 inches (5 cm) deep below the soil’s surface.
  • Create a border at least 4” (10 cm) wide. Alternatively, you can install a wooden, stone, or plastic barrier at least 3 inches (5 cm) taller than the turf-grass.
  • Set paving along the lawn edges so that grass can’t grow.

Other ways to stop stray grass blades from taking over edges include using mulch, removing all grass clippings, and edging regularly.

When Should You Edge Your Lawn? A Takeaway

Mowing first or edging first depends on your lawn and lawn care techniques. For some lawn enthusiasts, mowing first lets them know how tall or short to trim grass along the lawn edges. On the other hand, edging first can cut down on clearing clippings after mowing the lawn.

There are advantages and disadvantages to every lawn care approach. However, despite the debate on mowing or edging first, it’s crucial to use appropriate grass-cutting techniques to get the look you’re after. After all, the important thing is that you have the time to care for your lawn so it looks green, lush, and healthy.