This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in May 2015.
The impact made by edging the driveway, sidewalks, and stone patio never ceases to amaze me. When I moved into this house, my husband and I spent a good few hours with a flat shovel and a machete making our way around the edges of our hardscapes to define the space. In some areas, the weeds had so overgrown the stone that the rectangular shape of the flagstone was completely disguised. In the driveway, we realized an extra 18″ of width!
Grass and weed overgrowth happens every year, so we like to stay on top of it. These days, we’ve gotten it down to a great process.
Now, admittedly, you can go a long way (doing anything) if you’re wielding a shovel and a machete, but there are lots of mainstream edging tools on the market that make landscaping along your sidewalks and driveway considerably easier.
Take the classic edger for instance! One dollar, garage sale find. Side note: Sometimes old tools are a dime a dozen at garage sales, and this is the time of the year to keep your eyes peeled. I always recommend scoping out garage sales in older neighborhoods, because retirees are consistently the ones offloading the best gadgetry. Stock up!
This basic edger is popular for many few reasons: It’s one step up from a gardening spade shovel. The tool is completely flat, which means straight cuts, and the blade is shallow. The tool is easy to use from a standing position (no hunchback), and it’s light weight too.
If you’re looking for more power, a good cordless string trimmer is great for edging upkeep. Adjust the angle of the trimmer’s handle so that you can comfortably hold the tool at an angle so the string is perpendicular with the ground, don some fitted eye-protection because it will throw debris, and carefully clip your way along the groomed path to prevent overgrowth every time you mow.
Another style of power edgers are the ones that roll along a path on wheels. The blade is on one side of the tool, the depth is variable, and these models are especially convenient if you’re edging over a long, straight distance (it’s harder to use around curves). I owned an electric model and despite its convenience, associate it with that tool-on-sidewalk grinding sound that makes me feel like I’m destroying both the cement and the edger itself. So, it’s not my favorite, but a lot of people swear by them.
When you’re edging along a driveway or sidewalk, what’s important to remember is that you only want to remove a sliver of grass and soil no more than 1/2″ wide. The divot you create also should only be about 1″ deep. This fine delineation between where the sidewalk edge ends and the grass begins is like eyeliner for your hardscape, and when maintained on the regular it will continue to look polished.
Edging a lawn is also one of those easy tasks that makes your home the stand out on the street. When your public sidewalk is edged and your neighbors isn’t, the impact of the clean edges is very obvious. It’s also something you can do to improve your curb appeal prior to selling your home. A little bit of effort goes a long way.
For more tips on maintaining your yard, be sure to check out the landscaping section of DIYNetwork.com, and the below articles: