You fertilize, weed, and cut your lawn like a pro. You even do a handful of things not even your neighbors are doing to help create the best lawn in the neighborhood, but something’s missing. That missing piece may be the sharp look that fresh lawn edging delivers.
Edging puts a firm border between your lush lawn and various lawn features, like driveways, walkways, and landscaping, giving it that always-fresh look you’re craving.
Below is a step-by-step guide to lawn edging and a few tips for those more challenging jobs, like gravel driveways and walkways.
Choosing the Right Edging Tools
Any pristine lawn edging job starts with choosing the right tools. The basics tools include:
- Brick pavers or other physical edging (for gravel driveways and walkways only)
- Thick string or garden hose
- Safety glasses
- Power edger or manual edger
- Lawn shears or string trimmer
A Note on Gravel Driveways and Walkways
If you’re planning to edge around a gravel driveway or walkway, there are a few extra steps you must take to create a crisp edge. Because gravel tends to spread once it rains, keeping a clean edge is impossible without a raised border between the gravel and the grass.
So, before edging your lawn, install a physical border, like a plastic barrier or brick pavers to keep the gravel corralled in the driveway or walkway. With this border in place, you can now safely and efficiently continue edging your lawn along the physical border.
How to Edge Your Lawn
Below is a step-by-step lawn-edging guide for around garden beds, landscaping, driveways, or walkways.
Step 1: Mow Your Lawn
Mow your lawn as you usually would so your grass is short and is easy to work around.
Step 2: Lay Out Your Edge
Lay out a thick string or garden hose in the pattern you want your lawn edging — there should be about 1 to 2 inches of grass between the edge of the driveway, walkway, or landscaping and your pattern.
Some people may feel grass paint is the better option for drawing the pattern, but heavy winds can make it hard to paint straight lines, and unexpected rain can wash away your design. Using a thick string or garden hose will prevent these issues.
Step 3: Dig out Your Straight Edges
Using the edging tool you’ve selected, start from one end of a straight edge and dig straight down about 4 inches deep. You’ll find the exact process for each tool below.
Using a Manual Edger
- 1. Place the manual edger blade at a 90-degree angle to the ground at the beginning of the straight section.
- 2. Press the edger straight downward about 4 inches into the soil with your foot and pull the edger’s handle toward you to separate the grass. Repeat this step as you follow the straight section to its end.
- 3. Remove the separated section of grass between the edge of the driveway, walkway, or landscaping and the edge you dug out by hand.
- 4. Make one more pass with the edger to clean up any imperfect sections.
- 5. Repeat this step for every straight section.
Using a Power Edger
- 1. Adjust the edger so the blade reaches roughly 2 to 4 inches deep into the soil.
- 2. Put on safety glasses before starting the power edger, then start the edger.
- 3. Hold the power edger firmly with the blade at a 90-degree angle to the ground.
- 4. Activate the edger and slowly walk the edger down the entire straight section.
- 5. Remove the separated section of grass between the edge of the driveway, walkway, or landscaping and the edge you dug out.
- 6. Make one more pass with the power edger to clean up any imperfect sections.
- 7. Repeat this step for every straight section.
Step 4: Dig out Your Curved Edges
Using the same edging tool and process for digging the straight edges in Step 3, dig out the curved sections of your edging. There is one small variation, though: When cutting out the curved sections section, start from roughly the middle point of the curve and cut to one end, then return to the middle point and cut to the other end.
Step 5: Clean Your Edges
Cut the grass at the new edge with a string trimmer held sideways (with the string at a 90-degree angle to the ground) or lawn shears, so no grass hangs over your fresh edging. This gives it the sharpness that makes your lawn pop. Repeat this step every time you mow your lawn to maintain that crisp look.
Lawn Edging Maintenance Tip
Lawn edging requires periodic maintenance, as walking on your grass and Mother Nature can cause that 90-degree edge to sag and lose its crispness. Every few months, use a manual edger or a garden spade to refresh the edging by digging out a small portion of the grass — less than an inch — along the edging.
Professional Look With Minimal Cost
Few things make your already near-perfect lawn look even better than freshly cut edging. Crisp lawn edging delivers sharp contrast between your green lawn and your landscaping, walkways, and driveway. While neighbors may think you just dropped hundreds of dollars hiring a pro, you can pull off this professional look with only a handful of steps and minimal cash investment.