While an edger is the tool designed to achieve a neatly trimmed, well-defined lawn edge, other methods will provide the same results. You can install various types of permanent lawn edging in the ground or adjust the configuration of your lawn mower so it can slice a sharp, clean edge every time you mow the grass. Follow any of these tips to achieve a crisp lawn edge without an edger.
Step 1 - Adjust Your Lawn Mower Wheels to Lower the Cutting Blade
Using an adjustable wrench, move the wheel well setting for the lawn mower wheels on the same side as the exhaust chute down so that the lawn mower blade sits only about 1/2 inch off the driveway top. Turn the lawn mower around so the unadjusted wheels are on the grass and the lower side wheels are on the driveway. As you mow, the lawn will be shaved cleanly down to the driveway top at the edge.
Step 2 - Add Permanent Lawn Edging
Measure the distance along the ground where you want to install the permanent edging. Mark the row with wooden marking pegs and string to follow the path whether straight, zigzag or arched. Purchase the length of lawn edging needed in the material you wish to use. Dig a shallow trench with a sharp pointed spade about 2 inches wide and 5 inches deep. Lay 1/2-inch depth of fine gravel in the trench bottom.
If you have a sudden burst of rainy weather, wait till the ground has dried before continuing to install the permanent edging. Insert the edging material into the ground flush with the driveway surface, and push down the supplied retaining pins as far as they will go. Pack the soil you dug out firmly against the edging material. Use a sod roller to compress the edging and the dirt around it.
Step 3 - Use Lawn Edging Pavers for Permanent Edging
A much more decorative alternative for permanent lawn edging is lawn edging pavers. These create a well-defined edge for the driveway and prevent people treading on the grass as they get in and out of their vehicles. Pavers are laid in a prepared trench that is the full length or width of each paver, depending on the layout orientation you choose.
Measure and cut the channel, and lay in a 1-inch deep layer of gravel and sand to stabilize the pavers, as they are very heavy. Place the pavers in the channel, ensuring they are level, and fill the spaces between with coarse sand. Run a sod roller over the pavers to settle them into the channel, and compress the lawn soil up against them on the side away from the driveway. Lay new sod down the edge of the pavers if you prefer.
While these methods vary in cost and labor to prepare or install, the time they will save you in lawn work is priceless.