How To Use a Hand Lawn Edger: A Detailed Guide

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If you’re a fan of manual-powered tools, learning how to use a hand lawn edger is a fantastic project.

Using an edger gives you the ability to create the perfect professional look for your property.

Homeowners interested in learning how to create sharp edges around walkways, driveways, and gardens by hand will love this guide.

What Are Hand Lawn Edgers?

Hand lawn edgers are often referred to as manual edgers since they don’t require fuel or a battery for power.

Instead, your physical strength will be what pushes the tool forward, allowing it to edge your property.

There are two primary types of the best lawn edgers to consider: rotary and half-moon or step edgers.

Rotary Edgers

Rotary edgers can be a beneficial option if you’re managing lines surrounding solid parts of your property.

For example, they’re often preferred when cutting along driveways and sidewalks to maintain straight lines.

You’ll also find rotary edgers are the favorite tool to use to maintain existing divisions in your lawn.

These tools have rotating blades that cut into the grass when you push the device forward.

You can also pull it back to double-back on previously cut spots.

On one side of the edger, you’ll find a rotary wheel designed for balance, while the other side houses the blades.

Half-Moon or Step Edgers

Half-moon or step edgers are another popular alternatives, especially when edging your lawn for the first time.

These tools are designed to be used to create divisions in your lawn with your physical power and weight.

You place the tool’s tip on the ground where you want to edge and step on it as it sinks into the ground.

Half-moon steppers are shaped somewhere between an oversized spade and a shovel, making them easy to wield.

The button of the spade is typically designed with a sharp edge, making it easy to be pushed into compacted soil.

You’ll find that foot placement is the most crucial part of using this manual edger, as it determines the cut’s straightness.

The vast majority of half-moon edgers will have specialized footplates to help you find an appropriate placement.

With its wider width, you’ll find it works significantly faster than using a hand spade.

However, if you’re edging a minimal area, opting for a hand spade can be preferable.

Edging Shears

The last option, and least common option, to edge your lawn is to use edging shears.

This tool is better used on properties that don’t have excess soil that needs to be removed.

They’re straightforward to use, especially if all you need to do is clip long grass around your lawn’s edges.

Homeowners who will benefit the most from edging shears are those who regularly maintain their property.

Instead of having to completely re-edge your lawn throughout lawn care season, you simply upkeep your edging with shears.

One of the favorite aspects of edging shears is that they’re lightweight and effortless to use since they work like scissors.

However, they take a little bit of experience, as they need to be held steady to create precise cuts.

By working steadily, you can perfect your lawn without accidentally cutting too much or little.

how to use a hand lawn edger

How To Use a Hand Lawn Edger

Once you’ve had the chance to choose the ideal tool for your edging, it’s time to begin the project.

Fortunately, manual lawn edgers require limited experience and can be easier to handle than powered tools.

How To Use a Half-Moon Edger

First, let’s look at the steps for using a half-moon edger.

Step #1: Plan the Cuts

Just as you would with an electric edger, you want to ensure you plan the cuts you’ll make with a manual edger.

Using rope, tape, or chalk, mark the areas of your yard where you’re going to make a new division.

A great idea is to hammer stakes at either end of where you want your straight line.

You can then take a string and tie it between the two stakes to use as a visual guide.

A garden hose can often be preferred to mark your territory if you’re creating curved edges.

Step #2: Begin Edging

Using comfortable gardening gloves, start at one end of your marked line.

Put the edger’s rounded edge on the turf near the starting point of your boundary and in line with your string.

Ensure you hold the handle at a 45-degree angle and put your foot on the footplate to insert the blade in the ground.

You’ll want to push down on the tool with enough weight until the rounded edge is up to three inches deep.

Consider rocking the edger back and forth to get the most precise cut possible, which also helps loosen the turf.

Once you’re finished, remove the edger and repeat this step along your planned route until you reach the other end.

Step #3: Complete a Second Pass

Once you have the initial cut finished, it’s time to return to your starting point to begin again.

You’ll want to make a second cut approximately one to two inches apart from the first.

After you’ve finished, remove the loose soil with a straight-edge shovel and add fresh mulch along the edge.

If you’re edging along a sidewalk or driveway, you won’t have to make a second pass in most cases.

You should be able to remove all of the loose dirt from your first cut with ease.

Also, mulch won’t be necessary if you’re working against a hard surface.

Step #4: Inspect Your Work

At this point, you should have a perfectly edged garden bed.

It’s essential to inspect your work to ensure your line is as straight as possible.

You’ll also want to ensure there aren’t any jagged lines that require further edging.

If you’re satisfied with the results, the job is finished, and all that’s left to do is clean your tools.

Always ensure you remove any traces of dirt; otherwise, it can get compacted and stick to your edger.

How To Use a Rotary Edger

The other option for edging your lawn is to use a rotary edger, which is best for driveways and sidewalks.

This tool is also highly recommended for maintaining previously made edges, such as the ones you made last year.

Step #1: Find Your Existing Edge

The first step is to find the edging that you completed the previous year with a flat-edge shovel.

The shovel can help you move around vegetation until you find where overgrowth has taken over your lines.

Using the shovel, remove as much vegetation as possible so that you can see where the rotary edger needs to go.

Step #2: Begin Edging

Once your edging line is clearly indicated, choose one end of the driveway or walkway to begin edging.

Ensure you hold the rotary edger firmly in your hand and position the tool, so the wheels are on the hard surface.

The blades or cutting spikes should settle between the hard surface and the edge of your lawn.

Slowly push down on the rotary edger and begin walking forward and backward, maintaining downward pressure.

Depending on the thickness of overgrowth, you might have to repeat this process two to three times.

Continue edging until you have a clean edge and then move onto the next section, working in ten-inch increments.

Step #3: Clean Up

Now that you have a perfectly edges walkway or driveway, it’s time to do a little bit of clean-up.

Grab any loose dirt or clippings removed by the edger and finish the project by hosing the hard surface and tools.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to use a hand lawn edger is a simple task that requires little experience but more physical effort.

With the right manual tools, you can perfectly maintain your lawn for the most professional results possible.

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