Fertilisers, Lawn care basics, Lawn maintenance, Moss & weeds,

Lawn Edges: Cutting, Mowing & Maintenance Tips

Find out why maintaining lawn edges is important. How to cut and mow them. Check out our handy tips for the perfect lawn edging maintenance.

7 MIN 03 Dec
Last update: 12 Jan 2024
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Do you do everything you can to improve your lawn, but it stubbornly lacks that Downton Abbey appeal? Perhaps you’re neglecting the lawn edges — because it’s tricky to get a perfectly professional finish without focusing on your lawn’s frame. 

Table of contents:
  • Why do you trim lawn edges?
  • Which tools are best for lawn edges?
  • Tips for choosing the right tool for lawn edging
  • Techniques for cutting grass edges
  • How often should you redefine your lawn’s edges?
  • Common mistakes with lawn edges
  • FAQs

Indeed, a neat and well-groomed lawn needs more than just feeding and mowing; it requires a clearly defined border.

We will share some pro tips on mowing, cutting, and trimming your lawn’s edges, with a list of tools that simplify this necessary task. 

Ready? Let’s get trimming. 

Why do you trim lawn edges?

A curved path with a beautifully edged lawn.

It’s a good question, but it comes down to the same reason you put a painting in a frame. You choose a frame that complements the colours and tone of the painting, and you enhance the look of the piece of art. 

For the same reason, maintaining your lawn edges is essential. 

Aesthetic benefits

Firstly, it provides clear aesthetic benefits: cutting your lawn’s edges contributes to your turf’s sleek and well-groomed look. 

Neatly trimmed lawn edges clearly define your lawn from your flowerbeds, paths, patio, and driveway. 

Practical benefits

Trimming your lawn’s edges helps prevent weeds along the boundary of the turf. 

And most grass species have far-reaching root networks, so regular edging helps prevent your grass plants from spreading into your flowerbeds. 

The Garden Doctor:

Neat, clipped edges make your lawn look more presentable. So, trimming the lawn’s edges ensures that your grass looks beautiful and is easier to maintain.

Which tools are best for lawn edges?

Someone edging a lawn using a lawn edger

One of the biggest challenges when tackling your lawn’s edges is maintaining a perfectly crisp, straight line. But with the right tools, you’ll get a nice, neat boundary without much effort. 

These are my recommendations for easy lawn edges:

  1. Grass shears — one way to address the turf edges is with handheld garden shears. This, perhaps, is the low-tech approach and requires you to get down on your hands and knees — but it works! However, you can get long-handled or telescopic shears designed expressly for lawn edging. Especially useful for those hard-to-reach areas that a mower or strimmer can’t access. 
  2. Edge cutter — the name of the tool says it all, really. An edge cutter is a hand tool with a sharp, half-moon-shaped blade that ensures a lovely sharp frame around your lawn. Also ideal for removing overhanging grass. 
  3. Strimmer — this power tool is specifically designed to trim lawn edges, using a wire spool that rotates and slices at the grass. This is one of the most time-efficient approaches to lawn edge trimming.
  4. Rotary edger — this is a lawn edger with a wheel, a blade, and a long handle that you push along the edge of your lawn. These are excellent for making light work of the job, but keeping it in a straight line can be tricky. 
  5. A reel of string — yes, something as simple as a reel of string and a couple of tent pegs will make your life much easier. Read on to find out why. 
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Tips for choosing the right tool for lawn edging

A person using a rotary lawn edger along a path

Do you go manual or electric? Do you need to spend hundreds of pounds on the right tool?

This is our checklist for determining the right tool for your garden:

Your garden’s size

I’d go with garden shears or the half-moon blade for smaller gardens or medium-sized lawns. Choose the long-handled variety if you can, preventing you from spending too much time on your hands and knees.

Essentially, there’s a zen-like calm about trimming your lawn’s edges manually. But I’d recommend investing in a strimmer for more extensive gardens (or for the time-poor). 

Edge type

For straight edges, use an edge cutter or shears. It’s best to use a strimmer or rotary edgers for curved edges, offering greater flexibility. 

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Techniques for cutting grass edges

Now you’ve chosen the most appropriate tools for the job, it’s time to tackle those straight lines, curved edges, and corners. 

Top tip: Use a reel of string as a guide for cutting straight edges. 

Straight lines

It’s easy to lose the path of a straight line when you’re standing close to your lawn. You cut away, thinking you’ve defined the edges perfectly, then you stand back and realise your square lawn looks more like a Picasso.

So, define the line before cutting with a reel of string and a couple of tent pegs. 

Dig the tent pegs into the far ends of the edge and pull a length of string across, which creates a perfectly straight line from one end to the other. 

However, before committing your edge to your lawn, stand back and make sure the line is, indeed, straight and regular in relation to the rest of the lawn. 

Once satisfied, use the tool of your choice, being careful to avoid cutting the string if you’re using an electric device. 

Curved lines

Using a pivot-headed rotary electric trimmer for curves is a great option. The wheels help ensure you get a super-neat curve. 

You could use the string edge guiding method, but you’ll need additional tent pegs to demarcate the curve. 

How often should you redefine your lawn’s edges?

An electric rotary lawn edger in action

If you’ve created sharp, defined lines, they should last at least a few months, depending on the weather and the season. Grass grows more quickly in warm, wet conditions, so if the temperature is above 10ºC and you’ve had plenty of rain, you’ll likely have to edge more regularly. 

In general, edging your lawn once a month should be sufficient during the growing season. 

The Garden Doctor:

Your grass grows more slowly during drought. So, watch your lawn edges during wet weather periods.

Common mistakes with lawn edges

When defining your lawn’s edge, it’s essential that you avoid some of the most commonly made mistakes:

  1. Cutting too deep — you want to define your lawn’s edges, not damage your turf’s roots. So, avoid sticking your lawn edger too deeply into the soil; otherwise, the grass around the edges could die. 
  2. Cutting too quickly — take your time. Cutting too fast can result in uneven lines and sloppy edges. 
  3. Using dirty, blunt tools — maintaining the cleanliness of your devices should always be a priority to avoid spreading infection across your garden. Keep moving edges lubricated and clean cutting blades with an alcohol-based cleaner immediately after use. 
  4. Edging your lawn during drought — cutting becomes more challenging if the soil is too dry. Also, you could damage your turf because it may be too dry to deal with the trauma of cutting. 

FAQs

How do you create neat lawn edges?

Use garden shears or a half-moon-shaped edging blade to define the edges of your lawn. Go along the entire length of the border, stepping back now and then to ensure the lines are straight. 

Are there special tools for edging my lawn?

Use long-armed garden shears to cut your lawn’s edges, but this can be quite a lot of effort. I recommend using a half-moon-shaped edging blade and slicing into the edges along the length of the border. Take your time, and keep stepping back to ensure your lines are straight while you cut. 

How do you maintain straight grass edges?

The exposed soil along the edge of your lawn is susceptible to weeds. So, keep an eye on the edges and dig out weeds that appear. Also, keep an eye out for grass spreading into your flowerbeds — in this case, dig out the roots to prevent it from returning. 

Any questions?

We hope that all your questions about edging your lawn have been answered. But if you have any questions, be sure to get in touch!

Or explore our Help & Advice section for all your gardening and lawn care tips. 

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