Nothing finishes off a garden better than a crisp neat grass edge. Even the finest, lovingly maintained lawn is let down by a scruffy edge. Not only are they unsightly but an untidy edge can lead to weed grasses spreading into your freshly weeded borders.

The good thing is that it’s dead easy to create the perfect grass edge and we will show you how to do it so you can keep it looking good all year long.

Step 1. Recut the edge

Spring is the best time to tackle this job, the soil will be soft and the young spring grass will be easy to remove. 

The first step if you have collapsed or crumbled grass edge is to recut using a half moon edging tool. This small edging spade is used to dig away soil to a depth of around three to four inches, leaving behind a neat line of soil.

Start in one corner and work your way along the edge, removing the excess soil as you go. Dig down into the soil at a slight angle away from you, sloping very slightly towards the border. This makes the edge stronger and less likely to crumble, compared to if it is cut vertically downwards. It’s a good idea to have a wheelbarrow to hand for the offcuts so that you can fill it up as you move along the border.

You can use a guide string tied between two tent pegs to make sure you are following a nice straight line, or you can cut against a plank of wood to get a really perfect edge.

If your borders aren’t a straight line you can simply follow the existing curves, just cut roughly half an inch inwards from the old grass edge.

If you are looking to add a completely new curved design, lay a length of garden hose in the desired pattern and use this as your guide to cut up against.

Be sure to weed out any small tufts of grass that may have spread into your border as you go along. They will be small and easy to remove now but if left will rapidly spread into the borders as the summer approaches. 

Step 2. Move and trim

Now that you have created your border it’s a simple job to keep it looking crisp and clean.

Mow your lawn as normal, getting as close to the edge as possible. A mower with a rear roller will allow you to mow over the edge of the lawn without risk of scalping.

The simplest, cheapest and best tool for the job is a pair of long handle edging shears. These sharp scissor-like blades will produce the cleanest cut and leave a perfect edge, without you having to bend down or get on your hands and knees.

Start at one corner and cut along the edge, moving a couple of inches per cut. It takes a bit of practice but you can soon work up a quick rhythm. Once you reach the end of the lawn, clippings can be left to decompose or removed and put onto your compost.

For larger areas shears may be too slow. In this case the use of a line strimmer or a dedicated powered lawn edger will do a much faster job. Follow the edge of the lawn, working carefully and steadily. Get too carried away and one slip could remove a large clump of grass. Always wear safety glasses to protect yourself from a loose stone or twig.

The finished edge will not be as sharp as using edging shears but a good result can still be achieved. Make sure when choosing an edger you look at several options, a lighter battery powered machine may be easier to control than a heavy petrol powered trimmer.

How to edge along a path

If your lawn has significantly grown over the edge of a path you may need to remove the soil and grass to reveal the edge again. Use a sharp knife ( a secret of turf layers is to use an old bread knife ) or edging spade to trim away the soil and grass. Work your way along the edge of the path, keeping the blade pressed up against the stone. Then simply discard the removed soil. If the soil is particularly thick you may need to use a spade to scrape it from the surface.

Once a lean edge is revealed it can easily be maintained with your shears or strimmer  after each mow. Little and often is key. It’s much easier to keep an edge looking sharp than to start from scratch every few weeks.

Permanent Edging

Different types of plastic or metal lawn edging can be laid around the lawn to give a more permanent finish. They prevent grass from spreading out from the edge of your lawn and provide support to stop lawn edges crumbling away. 

Edging strips are usually hammered into place to a depth level with the soil surface. The best time to install this edging is once you have recut the edge in the Spring. The soft soil will make it far easier to install than if you wait until summer.

Not only do these save you from having to redefine the edge every year, it also makes it much easier to trim with a strimmer, resulting in a perfect edge every time. This type of edge can be expensive to buy and cumbersome to fit,  but should last many years once installed.

Edging stones can give a great look to the lawn border and when laid slightly below the level of the lawn can make it a doddle to mow over the edge of the lawn without fear of scalping.

We hope this has helped but if you need any more tips or guidance when edging your lawn drop us an email and we will be more than happy to advise.