Edging and Trimming Your Lawn

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Is it absolutely necessary to trim and edge your lawn? The answer is yes, since without it, your lawn could develop weed growth in corners and around the edges of sidewalks. The good news is that trimming and edging need to be done only a few times per season. A complete trimming job should be done about every three to four mowings, and edgings need to be done only several times per year.

Is all this lawn care too much for you to handle in your busy life? Find a landscaper who can help you with your lawn maintenance.


While trimming is cutting the edges of your lawn horizontally, edging is doing so vertically. Edging can make your lawn look finely groomed along the borders and prevent grasses from growing outside their boundaries. The vertical cut is commonly made in a straight line along the grass boundaries between sidewalks and driveways. The most effective way to edge is with a gas or electric-powered edger. If you have a smaller lawn that requires minimal edging, you may want to use a pair of vertical cutting shears to do the same job. However, if you have more than a quarter acre of lawn, you may want to look at gas-powered and electrical options. 


Trimming is the horizontal cutting of any area of your lawn where a lawnmower cannot reach. Trimming is often necessary near swing sets, benches, flowerbeds, poles, mailboxes and so on. Trimming should be done in order to level the remaining grass so it is flush with the mower-cut grass. The 1/3 cutting rule applies with trimming. If you trim more than this amount, the trimmed areas may become scalped and look worse than they did prior to trimming.

Here is another trimming tip: When trimming grass around trees, wrap a tree trunk protector around the base of the tree before starting. Damage to the cambium layer (under the tree bark) can kill off trees or cause serious damage. Alternatively, cut back grass at least 12 inches from the tree base and surround with mulch or bark chippings.

Edging and Trimming Safety Tips

When edging and trimming, you must take certain safety precautions to protect yourself from harm. Large and small bits of debris can fly up into your face or body while you are edging and trimming.

  • Always wear protective glasses
  • Wear long pants
  • Wear closed shoes
  • Wear gloves
  • Consider hearing protection if your trimmer is very loud

Updated February 14, 2018.

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