Homeowners and gardeners use landscape edging equipment to create a straight, clean edge where grass meets hard features, such as garden pavers, sidewalks and driveways. Unlike a mower, which functions to cut grass horizontally, edging equipment cuts the grass on the vertical. The quality of the edging depend on the type of equipment.
There are two basic types of landscape edgers: motor-powered and hand-operated. Hand-operated edgers include garden sheers and push-powered edgers. Motor-powered edgers range from units that operate like weed-eaters featuring string-based cutting to larger units mounted on wheels.
Each type of edger works differently. When working with garden sheers, the gardener has complete control of every cut. This type of edging works well in tight spaces or around irregular borders. Push-powered edgers feature a cutting wheel that turns as the operator maneuvers it along the edge of the grass, functioning much like an old-fashioned reel mower.
String-based edgers function like a weed-eater, but with the head turned so that the cut is made vertically. Larger, wheel-based landscape edgers feature a blade on the right side of the machine that makes the vertical cut.
The type of landscaping edging equipment used affects both the time invested and the finished quality of the landscaping. Motor-powered edgers work quicker and with increased efficiency over sheers or even string-based edgers. According to Aubuchon Hardware's online learning center, the wider cutting radius and increased motor power makes heavy-duty models suitable for larger jobs. However, string-based edgers work well on smaller areas and light grasses.
When performing any type of maintenance using landscaping equipment, always wear the proper safety gear, including gloves, goggles, shoes and long pants. Before using a landscaping edger, examine the area and remove rocks, branches and other debris that may potentially become a projectile. Inspect the edger to ensure the blade is attached firmly to the machine and rotates freely when turned. If the edger encounters a problem or strikes a foreign object, stop the edger, turn it off and disconnect the spark plug wire before inspecting the machine for damage.
In addition to mechanical edging, gardeners have the option of using chemical means to edge grass. A wide spectrum herbicide is applied along the edge of the grass in order to completely kill the grass. The equipment necessary for chemical edging includes a chemical sprayer, either motor-driven or hand-pumping, with a hand-operated spray wand. While the process is quick, the cost less and the effects longer-lasting that traditional mechanical edging, the effects are not as clean along hard landscaping elements, such as sidewalks or pathways. Chemical edging works well along mulch and other soft landscaping.