How To Use a Lawn Edger

A lawn edging tool is something you need if you desire defined angles in your lawn. Not only does it kill unruly weeds, but it also provides you a beautiful, well-kept look that will make your yard a place of envy. But how do you use a lawn edger?

After you have the correct type of edger and mow the grass, you need to start planning your path. Once you have your course ready, make sure you are wearing safe clothes (long pants, safety glasses) and edge along where the grass meets concrete. Make sure to clean any debris after!

In the rest of this article, we will detail what you need to look for in basic types of trimmers. We will also go into greater detail on the whole lawn edging process.

Step One: How To Select The Right Edger

In another article, we already mentioned some of our favorite trimmer/edger combos. Before you continue here, we recommend taking a look at that article. 

These combo trimmer/edger units provide you the best overall option because of their versatility. Combining string trimmers and an edger ensures you have great control of lawn care. Regardless of what you need, these combo machines will have it. 

If you aren’t looking for a combo edger, there are three other options for you:

  • Gas-powered edging tool
  • Electric edgers 
  • Manual edging tools 
  • Walk-behind wheeled edger

Gas-Powered Edging Tools – Best if you Don’t Have an Extension Cord

Gas-powered trimmers best handle thicker brambles and unruly lawns. If you don’t have access to an extension cord, gas is the way to go. 

Electric trimmers are great, but they tend to have limited power and die out after about thirty minutes to an hour. Some are quick charging, but you will have to chunk out your lawn care routine, which can be time-consuming if you have a long list. 

Electric Edgers – Easy Start & Best for Medium Lawns

If edging your lawn doesn’t seem like too big of a job, your next best bet is to buy an electric edger. Electric edgers are easy to start and easy to carry, making them ideal for those who don’t want to crank their engine. If you know someone who is elderly or has physical disabilities, this is an excellent lawn edger. 

Edging cuts with these can be somewhat complicated if tethered to a cord. However, there are many cordless options with battery life leading up to an hour. Among power tools, cordless electrical edgers are one of your best choices. 

Manual Edging Tools – Great for Small Low-Effort Yards 

Manual blade edgers come in two forms:

  • The “rolling” blade
  • The half-moon edger

Both of these are relics compared to today’s standards, but they are great if you don’t mind a little extra elbow grease. The straight edges on any of these require regular sharpening. You can do this with a whetstone or other standard sharpening. Doing this ensures your cutting blades do not become dull. 

Manual edging is the slowest way for your to handle your lawn. But you will never make a mistake and chop down your flower beds. 

A Walk-Behind Wheeled Edger – Best for More Than An Acre

If you have a vast lawn, translating to more than an acre, a Gas-powered trimmers should be one of your choices. These edgers are only usable on flat land, so be sure to have one of the other edgers on this list to supplement that weakness. 

Also, these edgers are a bit on the expensive side. Be prepared to drop several hundred dollars. 

Step Two: The Six-Step Process of Edging Your Lawn 

Once you’ve decided on your power tool of choice, you can move on. Before you start trimming your lawn, you first want to mow it. Mowing your lawn determines the base where you need your edging to start

Once you’ve mowed, you can get started:

  1. Dress in protective gear
  2. Mark the path you plan on taking
  3. Pick up any rocks (or other debris along the path)
  4. Position the edge of your tool against the cement (or flower bed)
  5. Walk along the route slowly
  6. Clear grass every few feet to be sure you are edging in a straight line

#1: Dress in Protective Gear

a man wearing a protective gear for garden

The two primary forms of protective gear are safety glasses and long pants. Safety glasses prevent rocks and grass from flying into your eyes, while long pants do the same for your legs.

If you are incredibly allergic, you will also want to wear a face mask. 

#2: Mark the Path you Plan on Taking

garden path

This step is handy if you have a more extensive lawn. Because edging can be time-consuming, you may want to mark the paths you take ahead of schedule. 

By marking your path, you will know the extent of your work for the day. You also won’t get ahead of yourself and start doing the rest of your lawn. This strategy prevents you from having any half-finished work.

You can mark the lawn with any throw-away material. If you happen to have an old rope lying around, that would be best. You can also repurpose your old hose to account for this marking.

#3: Pick up Any Rocks or Other Debris Along the Route

a big rock in a bed of flowers

If your edger runs into anything solid on the path, it might damage the blade. To avoid this, be sure that you walk along your way to getting a good idea of what is in the way. Remove anything and place it nearby so you can make a mental note of where it needs to return.

#4: Position the Edge of Your Tool Against the Cement (or Flower Bed)

a lawn edger and a grass

Wherever your path is starting, you will want to position your tool along the edge of it. You will want to make sure you are entirely focused before you start your engine. 

#5: Walk Along the Path Slowly

man using a walk behind lawn edger

This step varies slightly depending upon the type of edger you have. Either way, you will need to go through a slow and deliberate process. Here are your detailed instructions depending upon the type of edger you use:

Advice for Edging With an Electric/Gas Edger  

Electric or gas edgers have the exact requirements. All you need to worry about is that you should edge in five-foot chunks. Gas edgers have a bit more kick, so be aware of that when you start the engine. For electric edgers, either ensure your battery is full or you have a long enough cord.

Walk-Behind Wheeled Edger Tips

Walk-Behind Wheeled Edgers follows the same logic as any other edger. However, it would be best if you were extra careful about edging along any bumpy paths. Typically, wheeled edgers have methods to ensure exceptional precision. 

Tips for Using Manual Edgers

Manual edgers have a half-moon blade at the end of them, making them the most cost-effective. However, you will need to press your edge down every few inches manually. This feature prevents you from needing to stop to ensure you are precise, as you are doing that before each press anyway.

Whatever tool you use, a general rule-of-thumb is to ensure you are at least two-inches deep while edging. 

#6: Clear Grass Every Few Feet to be Sure you are Edging in a Straight Line

a woman picking the pile of cut grass

After running your edger for six feet, stop to clear out any grass left behind to ensure you are cutting in a straight line. You commonly have to do this with electric or gas edgers, but not with manual tools. Walk-behind edgers have a bit more leeway in this department. 

Extra Tip: Go Back Through Again with Hedge Clippers

Once you’ve gone through the entire thing, you may think about doing it again just to be sure you are thorough. Unless the cut is not as deep as you want, this would be a waste of time.

Instead, you can handle long chunks of grass left behind with a string trimmer or hedge clippers. This process will ensure you don’t have to do the detailed edging work and instead can focus on beautifying your garden beds. 

Final Thoughts

Edging your lawn can be a time-consuming process, especially when using a manual edger. However, there is a lot of satisfaction that you can gain from looking at side-to-side before and after pictures. With proper lawn care comes a sense of pride that your neighbors will appreciate.

If you are looking for help on buying your next edger, we recommend a combo machine. For the best lawn trimmer and power edgers for tackling your lawn, we’ve got a few suggestions. Thanks for reading. 

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