Imagine you have a beard. Then imagine that beard starts taking over your entire face, engulfing your eyes, mouth, and nose. Then it starts attaching itself to other people’s faces. Sounds like the plot of a bad horror movie, right? Well, having a monster beard is a lot like having an overgrown lawn – without trenching the edges, it can not only ruin the appearance of your yard, but grass can leak onto other people’s property. Landscape edging is an easy way to clean up your lawn and keep it under control. So it doesn’t turn into some low budget sci-fi film.
What is Edging?
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Lawn edging is creating clean edges along walkways, flower beds, driveways, and anything else that borders your lawn. If you don’t edge, grass will bleed over, creeping its way onto undesirable areas, resulting in an unkempt look and a nightmare lawn to maintain. And whether you want your house to look like the palace that it is or just enhance curb appeal, edging your lawn is essential.
There are two ways you can go about edging a lawn. One way is to use power tools, like a string trimmer or a power edger. Using these is great for lawn maintenance but can run a tad bit expensive and should probably be handled by professionals. Which brings us to option two – manual tools. Using a half-moon or a shovel to build an edging trench is by far the more affordable choice and has lasting benefits. While it can be labor intensive and cause a good sweat, manual trenching is the best DIY way to take care of your lawn and prepare it for professional landscapers. And exercise is good for you, right?
The Manual Method
Mow first. Before you start edging a lawn, you always have to begin with a good mow – it makes life exponentially easier. After that, you’ll want to get to know your half-moon and make sure it has a sharp blade. Drive the tool into the surrounding area with your foot, rock side to side, and then scoop up the desired amount of earth. To maintain a distinguishable edge, make a guideline. You can either use spray paint or a garden hose for this. If you don’t have a half-moon, it’s okay to use a square shovel, just know that the lawn gods will look down on you.
Edging a flower bed is a bit more involved. Again, use a guide – this way you can shape or even expand your garden area. After the trench is built you will need to fill it with mulch, as your exposed soil could easily, and rapidly, germinate with weeds. Also, fresh mulch allows you to easily plant or redistribute your garden throughout the trenched area. If you are planning on expanding your garden, you’ll need to use a half-moon, a rake, and a shovel to get up all that unwanted turf and so you can spread mulch.
The Power Method
If you decide to go this route, remember, mow first. Then you’ll want to make sure the grass is level by trimming anything the lawnmower missed. Take your string trimmer and flip the head so it’s vertical. Since string trimmers usually rotate clockwise, you’ll want to start your edge right and move left. Walk along a set path and move your body only, not your arms. This is a key element in keeping an even cut. Trim along the path and try to maintain a close distance to the area you are edging.
Power edgers are more complex. After you’ve read the manual and figured out the controls, walk along the desired line, start with a shallow cut and then go through again on a deeper setting. Safety is important here. Make sure nothing is in your way and remove all stones. Let the machine do its job, take your time, and don’t force anything. Patience is a virtue when you don’t want a mutilated lawn. Or lost toes.
Edging may seem like a harmless dad-tivity. And it is. But somehow people get hurt every year while trimming their yard. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid embarrassing lawn edging injuries:
- By wearing protective eyewear you’ll eliminate any chance of becoming the “eye patch person” in the neighborhood.
- Long pants keep ankles and shins from getting an unwanted hair trim.
- Boots are a lawn edger’s best friend. Sandals make for stubs.
- Be careful not to slice into electrical wires if you are digging into the ground with a half-moon or a shovel. Call 811 to ensure there are no hidden hazards.
- Earplugs may be a little overkill, but if you value your hearing, by all means, plug those babies up.
Maintain Your Work
Once you’ve established an edge, don’t let your hard work go to waste. Keep them looking sharp with power edging touchups every 1-2 weeks. Sounds like too much upkeep? If you need someone to perform routine maintenance, we might just know someone to handle the job. And they come highly recommended. We’ll give you the cleanest shave… we mean edge maintenance… your lawn has ever seen.