You have seen those perfectly edged lawns, and now you want one. The only question is how to get that perfect edge that you have seen all over the place, and what equipment you need to achieve that edge.
There are a number of tools you can use to get that perfect edge. There are hand operated shears very similar to scissors that you can use for trimming. These shears should be used for trimming only and not for shearing. I only mention this because electric and gas-powered trimmers can be used to edge. To prevent any misinterpretations, I am pointing out that only the electric and gas-powered trimmers are acceptable for edging and not the hand operated scissors-like trimmers. It is sometimes possible to edge very small lawns with these hand operated trimmers, but it is not easy and should probably be avoided if there is another way.
String and blade trimmers can be used as edgers also. These trimmers can be electrical or gas-powered. The electric trimmers have extension cords that must be plugged into the wall. These electric trimmers are clearly not ideal, since there are recommended maximum distances for the extension cords. In addition to this, you also have to be extremely conscious of where the cord is at all times to be sure that you do not accidentally cut the cord with the trimmer’s blade. The gas-powered trimmer also can work as an edger and should probably be used over the electric trimmer if the choice is between the two, though both can be damaged by and cause damage to concrete, decks, and/or patios making neither of them ideal for edging.
The ideal way to edge is to buy an edger designed for edging. There are different kinds of edgers, but the most popular ones seem to be the rotary edger and the turf edger. Both cut vertically, since they are both designed to edge lawns. It is also a good idea to edge and trim your lawn before you mow your lawn. This will enable the mower to pick up the clippings left over by the edger and/or trimmer.
There is something called permanent edging. Permanent edging can help the lawn significantly by helping the lawn keep its shape and by reducing maintenance by keeping mulch and/or groundcovers from infiltrating your lawn. Preformed edging can also help to reduce damage caused to your lawn by foot traffic, car tires, etc.
There are many different edging options available including plastic, wood, decorative concrete, and even metal. When you edge, edging can be flushed or aboveground. Aboveground edging is usually decorative and anchored in the ground. It provides two main services. It prevents stones and the like from scattering onto the lawn, and it is aesthetically pleasing.
There are obviously pros and cons to any aboveground edging. For example, wood may rot and smell, but wood is light and easy to work with. Bricks and cement are much heavier and much more difficult to work with, but they are much more durable than wood, and typically will last for a much longer time. Ties and stones are durable and relatively easy to work with making them a good choice for aboveground edging. However, they are hard to use on slopes or curves and are therefore not so nice if you want a uniform presentation.
There is another kind of edging called flush edging. Flush edging is actually sunk into the ground with only the very top of it showing above the ground’s surface. These edging are very good for making clear division borders, but they will not be so effective at drawing attention away from the borders. The plastic rolls of flush edging are very easy to work with, relatively inexpensive, and rather easy to install making them a good choice for flush edging, but they more than likely will need to be reinforced occasionally as the ground slowly moves.
Another thing to keep in mind when edging is that after excessive rain, the ground is typically swollen with moisture. If you were to install edging after excessive rainfall, the edging will quite possibly move around when the ground dries. This can give your lawn an uneven look. Therefore, after excessive rainfall, it is best not to edge until the ground has dried.
There are five basic steps to edging:
1. Lay out a line. Stakes and strings are probably the best tools if you’re making a straight line. A garden hose is probably the best if you are trying to edge on a curve.
2. Cut the turf about two inches wide and about five inches deep. These numbers will obviously vary with the specific edging project.
3. Add some sand at the bottom of the trench, and then set the edging into the trench evenly.
4. Fill sand into the bottom of the trench to achieve your desired height for your edging, and then fill in both sides with topsoil.
5. Walk along the edging to firm down the soil around the edging. This will help to keep the edging in place.
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