What Is The Difference Between Edging and Trimming? Our Guide Here!

Written By James
Updated March 17, 2022 by James

What Is The Difference Between Edging and Trimming? Our Guide Here!

Trimmers Vs Edgers - What's The Difference Between Them?

If you're looking into lawn care, you might have seen that edging and trimming are two terms that seem to be used interchangeably.

Edging and trimming often get mixed up due to their similar use, however, edging tools are designed to make vertical lines in your garden, such as where walkways are while trimming is used for getting rid of weeds and uneven edges of the lawn.

Down below in our guide, we will take you through the exact difference between edging and trimming below, how to do edging and trimming on your lawn as well as some tips and tricks for both kinds of lawn care. 

What Is Edging? 

Let's start with edging, this basic lawn care refers to making vertical cuts to define places such as a flower bed and walkways in your garden.

Edging can actually be achieved with both an edger and a string trimmer, which is why people often get confused between the two.

Lawn edgers are excellent for making an initial lawn outline and stand out borders since they put an 'edge' in the soil to make space. Still, improper edging can damage plant materials so the process of edging must be done slowly. 

What Is Trimming? 

Trimming on the other hand is often achieved with electric trimmers or gas string trimmers, they are best used for getting into places that a lawn mower cannot reach, such as lawn trimming around plants or getting rid of weeds. 

This string trimmer is used horizontally and typically is done after using a lawn mower so that the grass heights can match. Once again, when using a weed whacker you need to make sure you are not scalping the landscaped lawn, these tools are very powerful.

How To Edge a Lawn 

Both an edger and a string trimmer tool can be used for edging and trimmer, but to highlight differences, we will discuss how to edge a lawn and trim a lawn below.

  1. Begin by mowing your lawn, don't cut more than a third under the grass height, this will make the edging height match later and avoid the green lawn looking too bare.
  2. Next, it's a good idea to plan the path that you will be edging, this is especially important for beginners. You could use a rope to do this, skip this if your edging will be on a sidewalk.
  3. Put on your safety gear and ensure there are no objects where you will be edging, we suggest doing a practice first on larger lawns. Take your edger and hold it with both hands steady vertical, cut around 2-inches deep with your manual edger.
  4. After edging your lawn you can also use the tool to edge around any flowers or plants carefully, make sure to clean up the debris straight after to avoid it settling.

How To Trim a Lawn 

  1. Put on your protective gear and pull out 6-inches of wire on the trimmer, for gas models you might need to start it by cranking the starter cord or pressing the button on cordless models which are electric. 
  2. Use the right technique, one hand should be on the trigger while the other one is on the handle of the tool. Lower the trimmer down one inch from the ground and sweep it side to side slowly. 
  3. Cut at the very top of the line, turn the trimmer 90-degrees for cutting long harder surfaces.

Tips For Both Trimming & Edging a Lawn 

Lawn trimming and edging is essential for creating a well-manicured lawn and are easy to do once you get the hang of it. 

We've listed some tips and tricks for doing both of these lawn care practices below. 

  • Avoid nicking plants - Edgers and string trimmers are both very powerful tools, try not to nick plants with them, this can make them vulnerable to all sorts of pests and insects if so.
  • Wear safety protection - Flying debris can happen when trimming and edging so wearing protection for your eyes and hands is important during edging tasks.
  • Don't scalp - Scalping is one of the most common disasters of edging and can leave your garden looking very bare, only trim and edge the uppermost point of your grass.
  • Do not edge near plastic edging - Avoid edging tasks near plastic, this can cause debris to fly up.
  • Use a stringer with automatic feed - A stringer with an automatic feed makes your life much easier rather than having to feed it constantly.

Frequently Asked Questions About Edging & Trimming Lawns 

What are the different kinds of edgers? 

There are manual edgers, electric edgers and gas edgers for lawn trimming.

Can I use a string trimmer for edging? 

Yes, a string trimmer can be used for edging and vice versa for an edger.

Should you do lawn trimming before or after trimming?

Lawn trimming should always be done before edging and trimming, this is so as the lawn can be of an even height, avoid edging first otherwise, you might cut your lawn too short, this is scalping.

How often should you trim your lawn?

Every time you mow you should technically be trimming any weeds and edges of your lawn, this is so as the lawn can have a blended and uniform look, avoid mowing too often, your grass should never be under a 1/3 of an inch long.

Final Words 

To conclude, edging and trimming is essential for a well-kept lawn, edging is typically used for making outlines while trimming is used for weeds and difficult to reach places. Always wear safety equipment before using both of these tools to avoid injury and use them very slowly to avoid cutting anything you don't need.

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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