How to Edge a Lawn Without Using an Edger (8 Alternatives).


If you have been to a neighborhood with many property owners, it is possible that you are curious about their lawn care habits. Edging is a great way to create a beautiful lawn. It’s a great way for your lawn to be bold and clean.

Since most of my friends don’t own an edger, I find that many people want to know how to edge their lawns without one. Edging-specific tools are often out of reach for many people because they don’t get used every mow. There are many options to improve the edges of your lawn. I will be discussing them with you below.

How to Edge a Lawn Without an Edger

How to Edge a Lawn Without an Edger – My Go-To Alternative


I’ll tell you what, when it comes down to how to edge a lawn without an edger, your string trimmer will actually do a great job and is my favorite alternative. My string trimmer is a staple of my life. Yard care. Since I use it so often, I’ve ended up testing it out for a bunch of different tasks. One of those tasks involves edging the yard. Although you might not be able see how a spinning trimmer cuts through enough material, it can.

Edging a Lawn with a String Trimmer

Both electric- and gas-powered trimmers are good for lawn edging in a pinch. However, if you’re going to give it a shot there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first thing to know is that you’ll end up kicking up a pretty noticeable amount of debris. The string trimmer will cut and throw everything, from small rocks to sticks to dirt. Wear safety glasses and long pants if you don’t like your shins being abused.

The last thing to consider is that you won’t get a nice even trim until you practice a bit. It’s really easy to accidentally scalp little patches of your lawn when using a string trimmer to do your edging. To do a good job, you must approach the edges at an angle and move slowly and steadily. But, after a little bit of trial and error, you’ll find that a string trimmer can cut a pretty clean edge without too much trouble. Be prepared to burn extra trimmer lines and collect a lot of dust.

How to Cut Grass Edges Using a Trimmer (7 Other Options).

If you don’t have an edger or a string trimmer to cut the edges of your grass, there are a handful of other tools that you can use. Almost all of these tools run on muscle alone, but if you’re willing to put in the work they will get the job done. For those of you wondering how to cut grass edges without a trimmer, I’ll describe some of the pros and cons of each alternative below.

Flat Shovel

Edging a lawn with a flat shovel

Any type of flat shovel will give your lawn a nice edge. While it helps to use a shovel on the wider side, it doesn’t matter whether you have a spade or a trenching shovel as long as it has a square edge. Landscapers use this method often.

The best part about using a flat shovel is that you probably already have one laying around, and it’s really easy to be precise with your edging. A shovel can also be used to remove large amounts of turf. A flat shovel can be used to clean up some areas of your lawn.

This has two drawbacks: time and exertion. Sure you can be precise, but it’s going to take much longer to dig out the whole perimeter of your yard by hand. I’ve done it this way and it’s no easy feat. But if you have a smaller yard or are feeling especially strong, this classic method won’t disappoint.

Half Moon Edger

Edging a lawn with a half moon edger

Working pretty much the same way as a flat shovel would, these lawn edgers have a wooden handle attached to a blade that’s in the shape of a half-moon. They’re shaped like this so that you can put alternating force on the blade. You can place weight on either end of your blade to cut through the most difficult patches of turf.

Half-moon edges have all the same advantages and disadvantages as flat shovels. Yes, you can give your lawn a crisp edge, but you’ll be working very hard for quite a while to do so. Also, you’re more likely to have to go out and buy this tool whereas you might already have a shovel handy.

The half-moon mower edger also has a problem. If you are cutting off a good amount of material from the edges of your lawn, you can’t really scoop it up with the edger. You’ll probably have to use a rake or shovel. And if you’re using a flat shovel for cleanup, you might as well save a couple bucks and use it for the edging as well.

Manual Lawn Edger

edging a lawn with a manual lawn edger

Also known as rotary edgers, these tools are great for maintaining an already crisp edge, but don’t work as well for cutting new edges into an overgrown lawn.

A circular serrated blade is used to manually edge lawns. These machines can be used for trimming lawn edges that meet the pavement. This tool is great for minor edging. However, if you’re doing some serious edging, or have a larger yard, this might not be the best choice. If you do it often, rotor edgers can give great results. If you have a big yard you’ll exhaust yourself like you would with a shovel.

Reciprocating saw

A Reciprocal sawIf you need to edge a sidewalk, a reciprocating mower is a great alternative to an edger. Although they are used mainly for construction, some skilled landscapers use reciprocating lawn mowers to quickly edge their grass. These lightweight saws can be used for many different projects.

But, there are two major drawbacks when using reciprocating saws. The first is price. Most decent reciprocating saws cost at least a hundred dollars and aren’t always a practical buy for the average property owner. If you have one, you can definitely use it, but I wouldn’t go and buy one just for lawn edging.

The reciprocating saw will put strain on your back. In order to cut an edge in your lawn with this type of saw, you’ll need to be fully bent over and pretty much waddling along the entire perimeter of your yard. Plus, if you don’t have a cordless model, you’ll have to constantly move the extension cord out of the way. However, reciprocating saws are useful for cutting through turf like butter.

Lawn Shears

Edging a lawn with lawn shears

You can edge your yard with Lawn edging tools, grass and/or grassShears are a classic method to keep it tidy.

An edging shear has a pair of blades that are ninety degrees below its handle. It is possible to simply walk along the edge and trim any grass blades that are not straight up.

Like rotary edgers, I wouldn’t suggest using these if you have a lot of turf that needs to get cut away. The same applies to grass shears. Even though you could use them in a classroom, it would be very similar to using scissors in the garden. Your forearms might get a good workout, but your knees will be hurt. Still, you can definitely make do with shears in small or medium-sized yards that don’t require much soil removal.

Utility Knife

Most of the time when you see somebody using a utility knife with their lawn, it’s when they’re throwing down some new sod. If you haven’t put sod down before, you would be surprised at how easily it can be cut with your average box cutter.

If you don’t mind getting down and dirty, you could trace out the edges of your yard with a box cutter. This would be quite labor-intensive, but if you have a small yard or new sod, you’d be able to get the job done relatively easily. Like the other manual edging alternatives, you’re guaranteed to end up with a very neat edge this way.

Lawn Mower

Last but not least, a lawnmower can be a good alternative to most edgers. While mowers aren’t intended to be used for edging, there are a couple of things you can do to get them to shave down the borders of your lawn. It all depends on the layout of your yard. If you don’t have a really level yard with a bunch of straight edges and neat borders, you might struggle to cut out a good edge.

It’s also not as easy to maneuver a lawn mowerAround the perimeter of some yards. It can be difficult to trim yards with curbs or boulevards at one end. While some people might be able to trim their lawn perfectly with their lawnmower, others may need an extra tool to improve the appearance of their edges.

Source: How to Edge a Lawn Without Using an Edger (8 Alternatives).

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