How to Edge With String Trimmers


The creation of clean lines bordering the driveway, sidewalk and garden edges lends a finished appearance to a freshly mowed landscape. If you're admiring the neatly trimmed edges of the neighbor's yard, break out the string trimmer to tidy up the edges of your property. Landscapers use string trimmers, also called whips or whackers, for a variety of trimming tasks throughout the property. Trimmers run on either electricity or gas and feature a rapidly spinning plastic thread that slices through grass blade.

Step 1

Schedule edging immediately after mowing the lawn. Grass grows quickly during the warmer months and waiting causes differences in blade heights.

Step 2

Flip the string trimmer over to examine the length of filament extending from the center of the spool. String must extend to the edge of the protective cover (blade guard). To release more string, press the center of the spool with one hand and pull on the string with the other hand.

Step 3

Remove sticks or rocks from the area to avoid being hit by flying debris.

Step 4

Plug the trimmer to an extension cord or fill the gas tank according to manufacturer recommendations.

Step 5

Hold the trimmer firmly with one hand on the trigger mechanism. Place your other hand on the loop stabilizer handle on the main arm of the trimmer. Take note of the position of the blade guard to make sure it adequately covers the spinning string for protection from flying grass.

Step 6

Begin edging at one end of the garden by placing the blade guard about 5 inches from the grass. The flat part of the spool will face the ground with the protective cover directly over it. Gradually lower the head of the trimmer until you obtain the correct cutting height as the blade spins horizontally. It's far easier to correct grass that is trimmed too high, so start tall and work down slowly until you get the hang of operating a trimmer.

Step 7

Edge walkways by tipping the trimmer so the cutting edge is vertical. This process allows trimming along retaining walls, walkways and driveways.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear goggles, protective clothing and shoes. The plastic filament of a string trimmer spins at high velocity and can shred skin easily. String trimmers aren't the optimum tool for edging paved areas, so use with great care. The plastic string will degrade faster as it makes contact with the pavement. Always turn off the machine and unplug it before pulling more string length out of the spool.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Goggles


  • University of Hawaii: Guidelines for Professional Turf and Groundcover Management
  • University of Missouri: Lawn Care Safety
Keywords: string trimmer edging, edging, lawn edging

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.