How To Edge A Lawn Without An Edger

Edging a lawn is probably one of the most underrated gardening tasks that can significantly alter the appeal of a yard. For those of you who are new, lawn edging is the process of trimming the grass in such a way so as to create a border between the lawn and everything else surrounding it. Not only does it affect the appearance, regular edging prohibits the spreading of weeds as well. So, in this article we discuss on how to edge a lawn without an edger, in case you don't have one in your range of gardening tools.

Edged lawn

Although most yards have designated areas for the various components, like the driveway, garden bed, walkway or lawn, grass don't really care about that and tend to grow autonomously. So, in order to confine their growth according to your plan or layout, edging the lawn is indispensable. But you don't have to have a lawn edger for that necessarily. If you have one already, great! But if you don't, read along to learn about a few tips and trick to give your lawn that neat look. OR, check out our review article on some of the top lawn edgers you could buy!

4 ways to edge A lawn without an edger

While there is no correct way to edge a lawn without an edger, some techniques are better than the others in terms of ease and efficiency. Before starting the process or trimming, you have to create your preferred border first. And for that you can use a string or spray paint to mark the area of work.

Insert two pieces of sticks on the ground along the line of your lawn and tie the two ends of the string on the two sticks. Do this for all the edges present. This method is more suited for lawns with straight borders. If you have a lawn with curved borders, then using spray paint to draw out the edge would be much easier.

Once the edges have been marked, you can start the trimming. Below we have listed some tried and tested ways, starting with the simplest first.

1. Edging lawn with shears

Contrary to plain lawn shears, edging shears cut along the fringe of the lawn rather than the flat top - due to the deliberate upright placement of the handles. Sure, lawn shears are great for getting into the hard to reach areas, but edging a lawn with them would sabotage your back and knees! Therefore, edging shears would be the most basic and straightforward tool you can use to edge your lawn without having to by an edger. Just hold it along the turf and snip away. If you happen to have small areas of soil protruding over the border of the lawn, use a knife or anything sharp to dig it out of the way. 

Edging with shears

2. Edging lawn with a string trimmer / weed wacker

String trimmers or weed wackers are pretty nifty and can edge your lawn neatly. Hold the trimmer perpendicular to the lawn, unlike the usual way of keeping the strings parallel to the ground. Position it at a 90-degree angle and about 4 inches off the soil, right along your marked edge. As you start the machine, the strings / lines should rotate and cut through the grass and dirt. Continue all along your desired borders and finish up by sweeping off the remnant debris.

Edging with trimmer

3. Edging with a lawn mower

Raising the bar slightly higher, lawn mowers can also be used to edge lawns with a slight modification. Start by adjusting the angle of the blade so that one side cuts at about 0.5 inch above the ground. Run the mower along the target edge with the high end of the blade directed towards the inner part of the lawn and the lower end of the blade placed just above border where the lawn meets the adjacent sidewalk or garden bed (or whatever you have). This way, the mower chops off the grass at an angle, trimming away most of the growth from the edge.

Edging with mower

4. Edging lawn with a shovel

Lastly, the least effortless of the four, using a shovel to edge the lawn. It's very similar to using a manual edger - simply place the shovel vertically, unlike the traditional angled hold, with the flat side of the blade along the marked out line on your lawn. Ensure that the shovel blade is properly lined up before pushing it into the ground. Press it down about 2 inches deep and then push the dirt up, freeing the grass outside the marked zone. Continue this process along the entire length and then cut the overgrown grass using a mower or trimmer. Finish up by sweeping off and discarding the loose dirt and grass.

Edging with shovel

And there you have it - some of the common tools you already might have in your shed that could also edge your lawn perfectly!

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