Monday, 18 May 2009


Last week Emily asked me about edging the grass and was surprised that I could get away with only doing it every three weeks. I must admit that after three weeks the edges are getting a bit fluffy. I do actually edge the grass every week but I only do a third of it so because of this not all the gardens have fluffy edges so it’s mostly looking okay. When I talk about edging the grass at this time of the year I’m meaning that I go round with a pair of long handled shears snipping off the overhanging grass. In the winter I put a new edge on some of the grass and for this I use an edging iron or half moon.

You really need one of these and not a spade to put a new edge to your lawn. The reason being that it has a straight blade whereas a spade has a curved blade. Also the edging iron is shaped the way it is for a reason which is to cut the turf. A spade can do this but it’s more of a stabbing rather than cutting action which leaves rougher edges. With the edging iron you just use half the blade and you don’t lift it out of the cut. You press down to make the cut, slide along the blade and press down again never lifting the blade entirely from the cut. You can use your foot on the blade to help you press down. This sort of edging is best done in winter or early spring when the soil is moist then you can be sure your new edge doesn’t crumble as you cut. Once you have your new edge you can clean and oil the edging iron and put it away because for the rest of the edging during the summer you use the long handled edging shears.

You aren’t trying to make a new edge anymore you’re just maintaining the ones you already have. As Emily rightly said the soil in the border works its way to the lawn edge when you hoe and weed. Well clearing it back from the edge of the lawn is part of the hoeing job rather than part of the edging job if you see what I mean. It’s a simple matter to use a flat or Dutch hoe turned over to go along the edge and flick the soil back away from the lawn edge and you border will look better for it too.

Below are a couple of pictures showing before and after a new edge was put in place.

One more thing is that if you can edge your grass more regular there is no need to go grovelling around picking up the grass clippings as these are only blades of grass so don’t root and shrivel to nothing in a day. I rarely pick any edgings up. Another thing you can do if you have a leaf blower of some kind is go around the edge with it and blow the clippings away. There shouldn’t be that many so as not to disappear like magic.

This picture was taken just a day after the edges were clipped and they are hardly noticeable, also the weather during that time had been cold and wet, had it been sunny you wouldn’t see any at all.



EB said...

Aaaah. I've been going a little or completely wrong on several points then, and this explains a lot. I've always used our edging iron like a spade - cut down, then lower it, - and thought it was a rather poor tool - ha! Now I see. I will do one bed with shears rather than it being strimmed and see if this this makes a difference. And yes, I am very careless with the hoe and make rather a dog's breakfast of the edge in the process...

If you weren't busy working as a gardener you know you could teach this sort of thing. People seem to teach design, which is fair enough, but practical skills are much more interesting and useful to me.

Kimmie said...




mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted