Trimming and Edging: Getting the Borders that Give Your Lawn a Professional Finish

Shindaiwa’s New Edger and TrimmersTrimming, watering, overseeding and fertilizing can help you get a thick, green lawn. However, to get a great looking lawn, you need to make defined borders between your grass and the surrounding pavement and landscape features. These tips will help you get these crisp lines without damaging your landscaping.

Use the Right Angles: Hardscaping vs Landscaping

Driveways, sidewalks, stepping stones and solid edging have flat sides. They need a sharp 90-degree edge next to them to look their best. This keeps grass from hanging over these materials, and helps visually separate landscape and hardscape.

With mulch piles, trees, flower beds and other landscaping features, you need a 45-degree edge to get a good transition. This creates a bowl-shaped depression that holds in mulch, and helps feather in the border between different types of plant growth.

Choosing the Best Tool for the Job

An edger will get a sharper, straighter line than a string trimmer around hardscaping. However, a string trimmer is more forgiving around landscaping. Here, a sharp line will look out of place unless you have metal or plastic edging in place.

Need to create a new border around landscaping features? For the best results, use a bed edger. It has the power and size to cut through untouched soil in a couple passes. Bed edgers are also great for re-establishing edges, but you can also get good results by fitting your standard edger with a redefiner blade. This blade has stacks of angled teeth that claw through the soil, reshaping the border.

If you keep digging into the soil, the edge will spread. Once you have defined lines, only trim new growth. You’re less likely to cut soil using a string trimmer. Keep the head at 90 degrees from the ground at all times when edging hardscaping, and at 45 degrees around landscaping.

Getting a Good Cut

When it comes to hardscaping, evenness is everything. Stay against the pavement, especially when using a string trimmer. Veering away will cut into neighboring grass roots, damaging your lawn. This can create a jagged space full of bald spots.

When you establish a new border around landscaping, start with a 90-degree cut. This defines the border between the bed and the lawn. Next, go back and make a 45 degree cut around this edge. This feathers in the grass, creating a smooth transition.

If you want the best results, trim after mowing. It may be easier to mow after trimming to mulch all the grass clippings at once. However, if the grass is already cut, it’s easy to get trimmed areas to match. This creates a clean, even surface.

Taller grass and harder soil take more effort to cut. If you use a bed edger on clay soil, make a pass using the edger’s shallow setting, then a second pass using its deep setting. Why tidying up edges in dense soil, you will get better results with a pole edger than a string trimmer. The pole edger makes it easier to move slowly across the ground while maintaining a straight line. This gives the blade more time to cut.

When working on mulch beds, make sure the mulch is in a pile that slopes down into the border. The edge of the much should be slightly lower than the top soil. This slope keeps the mulch from rolling into the yard, and makes it easier to cut the surrounding grass. This pile needs to be at least two inches deep to suppress weed growth. That means the edge of the border should be three to four inches below the surface of the top soil.

Get the Equipment You Need for a Great Lawn

Shank’s Lawn Equipment has the tools you need for lawn care, whether you’re a homeowner or a professional landscaper. We carry string trimmers, edgers and bed shapers from several major brands including Brown Products, Cub Cadet, Echo, Little Wonder and Shindaiwa. We service everything we sell, and we have the parts you need to repair and upgrade these machines yourself. Visit us in person at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or online at We ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada.

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