You might be curious about the lawn care practices of these property owners if you have ever been in a neighborhood with many. A beautiful lawn is possible by edging. It is a great way to give your lawn a bold, clean appearance.

Since most of my friends don’t own an edger, I find that many people want to know how to edge their lawns without one. Edging-specific tools are often out of reach for many people because they don’t get used every mow. There are many options available to you to perfect the edges of your lawn, and I will be discussing them below.

How to Edge a Lawn Without an Edger


How to Edge a Lawn Without an Edger – My Go-To Alternative

I’ll tell you what, when it comes down to how to edge a lawn without an edger, your string trimmer will actually do a great job and is my favorite alternative. My string trimmer is a staple in my yard care. Since I use it so often, I’ve ended up testing it out for a bunch of different tasks. One of those tasks is edging the yard. You might not be able to see how a spinning trimmer can cut through enough material, but it does.

Edging a Lawn with a String Trimmer

Both gas- and electric-powered trimmers work well for lawn edging in a pinch. However, if you’re going to give it a shot there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first thing to know is that you’ll end up kicking up a pretty noticeable amount of debris. Your string trimmer will be cutting and throwing everything from small rocks to sticks to dirt. Wear safety glasses and long pants if you don’t like your shins being abused.

The last thing to consider is that you won’t get a nice even trim until you practice a bit. It’s really easy to accidentally scalp little patches of your lawn when using a string trimmer to do your edging. You must approach the edges at the right angle and move slowly and steadily to do a good job. But, after a little bit of trial and error, you’ll find that a string trimmer can cut a pretty clean edge without too much trouble. You should be prepared to burn some extra trimmer lines and kick up a lot of dust.

How to Cut Grass Edges Without a trimmer (7 Other Options)

If you don’t have an edger or a string trimmer to cut the edges of your grass, there are a handful of other tools that you can use. Almost all of these tools run on muscle alone, but if you’re willing to put in the work they will get the job done. For those of you wondering how to cut grass edges without a trimmer, I’ll describe some of the pros and cons of each alternative below.

Flat Shovel

Edging a lawn with a flat shovel


To give your lawn a nice edge, you can use any type of flat shovel. While it helps to use a shovel on the wider side, it doesn’t matter whether you have a spade or a trenching shovel as long as it has a square edge. This method is used often by landscapers.

The best part about using a flat shovel is that you probably already have one laying around, and it’s really easy to be precise with your edging. You can also remove a lot of turf with a shovel. You can use a flat shovel to clean up a few areas of your lawn.

There are two downsides to this: time and exertion. Sure you can be precise, but it’s going to take much longer to dig out the whole perimeter of your yard by hand. I’ve done it this way and it’s no easy feat. But if you have a smaller yard or are feeling especially strong, this classic method won’t disappoint.

Half Moon Edger

Edging a lawn with a half moon edger

Working pretty much the same way as a flat shovel would, these lawn edgers have a wooden handle attached to a blade that’s in the shape of a half-moon. They’re shaped like this so that you can put alternating force on the blade. To cut through the roughest patches of turf, you can place weight on either side of your blade.

Half-moon edges have the same pros and cons as a flat shovel. Yes, you can give your lawn a crisp edge, but you’ll be working very hard for quite a while to do so. Also, you’re more likely to have to go out and buy this tool whereas you might already have a shovel handy.


A half-moon mower edger has one other problem. If you are cutting off a good amount of material from the edges of your lawn, you can’t really scoop it up with the edger. You’ll probably have to use a rake or shovel. And if you’re using a flat shovel for cleanup, you might as well save a couple bucks and use it for the edging as well.

Manual Lawn Edger

edging a lawn with a manual lawn edger


Also known as rotary edgers, these tools are great for maintaining an already crisp edge, but don’t work as well for cutting new edges into an overgrown lawn.

Manual lawn edging machines spin a circular serrated blade. They can be used to trim lawn edges that meet pavement. This tool is ideal for minor edging. However, if you’re doing some serious edging, or have a larger yard, this might not be the best choice. Rotor edgers can produce a great result if you do it repeatedly. If you have a big yard you’ll exhaust yourself like you would with a shovel.

Reciprocating saw

A reciprocating saw is an excellent alternative to an edger if you want to edge a sidewalk. Although they are mostly used for construction, some skilled landscapers will use reciprocating mowers to quickly edge their lawns. These saws are lightweight and can be used on many different projects.

However, there are two major drawbacks to using reciprocating saws. The first is the price. Most decent reciprocating saws cost at least a hundred dollars and aren’t always a practical buy for the average property owner. If you have one, you can definitely use it, but I wouldn’t go and buy one just for lawn edging.


The strain on your back is the next problem with a reciprocating saw. In order to cut an edge in your lawn with this type of saw, you’ll need to be fully bent over and pretty much waddling along the entire perimeter of your yard. Plus, if you don’t have a cordless model, you’ll have to constantly move the extension cord out of the way. This being said, reciprocating saws are used to cut through turf like butter.

Lawn Shears

Edging a lawn with lawn shears

Edging your yard with lawn edging tools and/or grass shears is a classic way to keep it tidy.

Edging shears feature a pair of blades at ninety degrees below the handle. It is possible to simply walk along and trim any overhanging or loose grass blades without reaching the ground.

Like rotary edgers, I wouldn’t suggest using these if you have a lot of turf that needs to get cut away. The same goes for grass shears. Although you could use them, it would be almost the same as using scissors in a classroom. Although you might get a great workout for your forearms, your knees will suffer. Still, you can definitely make do with shears in small or medium-sized yards that don’t require much soil removal.

Utility Knife

Most of the time when you see somebody using a utility knife with their lawn, it’s when they’re throwing down some new sod. If you haven’t put sod down before, you would be surprised at how easily it can be cut with your average box cutter.

If you don’t mind getting down and dirty, you could trace out the edges of your yard with a box cutter. This would be quite labor-intensive, but if you have a small yard or new sod, you’d be able to get the job done relatively easily. Like the other manual edging alternatives, you’re guaranteed to end up with a very neat edge this way.

Lawn Mower

Last but not the least, a lawnmower is a decent alternative to most edgers. While mowers aren’t intended to be used for edging, there are a couple of things you can do to get them to shave down the borders of your lawn. It all depends on how your yard is laid out. If you don’t have a really level yard with a bunch of straight edges and neat borders, you might struggle to cut out a good edge.


It’s also not as easy to maneuver a lawn mower around the perimeter of some yards. Yards with boulevards and curbs on one end can be very difficult to edge with a mower. Although some people may be able to give their lawn a perfect trim by using their lawn mower, others might need an additional tool to enhance the appearance of their edges.

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