How to Edge a Lawn By Hand

When it comes to lawn care, edging is an important step that often gets overlooked. Edging a lawn by hand gives your lawn a clean, polished look, and it’s a great and simple way to define its borders.

Not only does edging make your lawn look neater, but it can also help improve the drainage and aeration of the soil. When most people think of edging a lawn, they think of using a power tool to do the job. However, you can also edge a lawn by hand.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of how to edge your lawn by hand, including the tools you’ll need and the techniques you’ll use. Keep in mind that edging your lawn by hand is a time-consuming process, but it’s worth it for the results you’ll get. So, let’s get started!

What is Lawn Edging?

Lawn edging is the process of trimming the grass around the edge of your lawn. More precisely it cuts any grass the hangs over a boundary onto another part of your backyard, such as your driveway, walking path, or garden, and creates clear lines and boundaries between them. It’s a great way to tidy up your yard and make it look neater.

You can edge your lawn with a couple of tools, including a string trimmer, a lawn mower with an edging attachment, or using an implement called an edger.

Types of Edgers

There are multiple types of edgers. Some are motorized, and can be run either with a gasoline or electric engine, and some are manual that you have to work by hand.

Motorized Edgers

The first type of edger, and the one you’ve most likely seen used, is a motor-powered edger. These can be powered by a gasoline, or run on electricity powered by a battery or through a cord connected to your main line.

These types of edgers look like a small version of a lawn mower mixed with a string trimmer, and you use them in a similar manner. A motorized edger has one or multiple wheels, and you walk behind it pushing it forward, while it digs into the edge of the grass and cuts off the grass and soil that is potentially sticking out over the boundary.

Gasoline-powered edgers are often more durable than electric versions and can really shred tangled roots that might have accumulated along your curb. If you have a big yard that requires a lot of attention, or if you’ll need a heavy-duty edger to get through tough weeds and hedges, they are probably your best option.

Electric edgers, on the other hand, are lighter than gas-powered ones, but they may struggle to cut through thick grasses and weeds in some circumstances. They’re also more environmentally friendly and cost effective. However, they are best used for small to medium sized lawns because they are limited by either the battery life or the length of their power cord.

Manual Edgers

Manual edgers are tools that are powered entirely by the operator; they have no internal power source. There are three types of manual edgers – there are spade-based and rotary edgers, and edging shears.

Spade-Based Edgers

Spade-Based Edgers, sometimes known as Blade Edgers, or Edging Irons,, are the most basic type of lawn edger available. They are very likely the first type to have been used to edge a lawn.

A manual spade-based grass edger’s blade is a half-moon shape and broad, with an elongated handle that is shoved into the ground in a downward and rocking motion. It may also have a flat top for stepping on and pushing the tool into the dirt with your foot.

The blade is pushed into the ground immediately next to – and parallel to – the hard boundary feature that separates your lawn (e.g. a driveway, sidewalk, paving stones, play area, hedges, etc.). Any grass that projects over the barrier is removed.

Rotary Edgers

A Rotary Edger consists of a stick with a spiked wheel on the end. A cutting wheel is connected to a long wooden pole that acts as the shaft. These edgers work by rolling the cutting blade over the grass’s edge, applying pressure to it, and moving it along the lawn to trim through any projecting grass.

There are two distinct varieties of hand-operated rotary lawn edgers. One uses a solid steel cutting disc to trim the grass edge, while the other does so with two star-spoked wheels that spin against each other, searing the grass between them. Both are operated by pushing a roller wheel over a firm surface near the grass border.

Edging Shears

Edging Shears, also sometimes called Hand Shears, are available in a variety of forms. They may be used with one hand, either at ground level or with a long handle so you can stand up while using them.

Some versions have variable handle lengths and are controlled with two hands, with the shearing blades set at a right angle so that the user may cut horizontally from a standing position.

Benefits of Edging Your Lawn

Edging your lawn not only helps to make your yard more professional and neat, but it also helps to define the distinct areas of your lawn so that they don’t blend together.

This, in addition to improving the appearance of your grass, can also be used to identify problem regions where insects or illnesses may thrive and spread from.

Edging is critical around sidewalks and driveways, where tall grass can quickly become unwelcome and dangerous weeds.

Steps On Edging A Lawn By Hand

There are a few different ways to edge your lawn, but we’ll show you how to do it manually with just a few simple steps. Follow these simple steps and in no time you will have beautifully edged lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood. So grab some equipment and let’s get started!

Prepare Your Lawn

Before taking out your edger and putting it to work, you should take time to prepare your yard. Remove any large objects, such as rocks or branches, from the area you plan to edge and make sure that the surface is relatively level. This will help to ensure a clean cut and nice looking edge.

You also want to mow your lawn before edging it. This way you can better see the edges of your grass and boundaries between it and driveways, walkways, or hedges.

Finally, you want to plan and mark out the exact path that you are going to edge. It’s particularly critical if this is your first time edging, so you don’t accidentally damage the wrong place. You can use tape, a hose, or rope to mark the route you’ll take while edging, which will help you avoid making errors.

However, if you are simply working along a long straight and easily-defined boundary, like a driveway or sidewalk, and don’t feel it’s necessary, you can skip this step.

Edge Your Lawn

The next step is to actually start edging your lawn. First, start at one end of one of the boundaries in your yard, and push your edger into the soil along the line that you have previously marked.

One note of caution. You don’t want to put your edger more than two inches into the earth. This is deep enough to cut through the grass layer of your turf, but not so deep that it runs into any subterranean power lines or water mains.

Then, lift up your edger and move it halfway along the slit just made. This way, you keep the line completely straight and you keep the depth of your edging the same, so you don’t go down too deep or stop without going deep enough.

Continue these steps until you get to the other end of the boundary. Repeat for every other boundary in your lawn.

If you are currently looking for an edger, check out our recommendations for the best lawn edgers you could use for your lawn.

Finish and Clean Up

You’ll have a lot of grass trimmings after you’ve finished edging your lawn and garden along the entire boundary. Pick them up, and either put them in the compost or re-use them in another gardening project!

Next, be sure to water your lawn, especially along the edging line, to help the grass establish roots in these locations and keep your grass edge stay firm and strong. This way, you won’t have to worry about weeds or disease.

Finally, when storing your tools, be sure to clean any grime off of them, and then clean and dry the blades. You also don’t want to store or leave your equipment outside in the rain, as this might cause it to rust!


Lawn edging is a great way to tidy up your lawn and give it a well-manicured look, and it’s not as hard as you might think. It’s also beneficial in that it helps keep the mulch and soil in place, prevents grass from growing into walkways or flower beds, and gives your lawn a clean edge.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and found it helpful! We’ve provided information on what types of edgers are available as well as the steps necessary to edge your lawn by hand. So why not take advantage of this easy landscaping technique? So put on some gloves, grab your tools, and get started on giving your lawn an edge today!

Photo of author
Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.