All about lawn-edge trimming

Trimming lawn edges is a job worth doing to finish your lawn perfectly, but your trusty mower may not be the best tool for the job. Get equipped with the right tools for the neatest lawn edges.

Grass at the base of a tree being trimmed with a STIHL FS 57 cordless clearing saw

Mowing + trimming = perfect results

As a proud gardener, we're sure you have a diligent lawn mowing routine and always want your garden to look its best. But if you have flower borders or raised beds, you’ll know that the mower’s great results rarely extend to the very edge of your lawn. To achieve the perfect lawn edge, you just need the right tool and a little guidance.

Trim first

Here’s a simple and practical tip: always do your lawn-edge trimming before you mow the lawn. This means that the cuttings from trimming will be collected easily by your lawn mower.

STIHL HSA 26 cordless garden shears being used for trimming grass

Living on the edge: lawn-edge trimming tools

Identifying the right tool depends on how much trimming your garden needs and whether you want to trim the lawn edge manually or with some powered assistance. A power tool will help you tackle large plots quickly and conveniently. For smaller lawns, a lightweight, easy-to-handle grass trimmer is an ideal choice. For larger plots, we recommend a more powerful brushcutter or similar tool. We have petrol, electric and battery-powered brushcutters and grass trimmers available. 

STIHL HSA 26 cordless garden shears being used for trimming the edge of a lawn

Cordless garden shears for lawn-edge trimming

Alternatively, if you don’t have too much lawn-edge trimming to deal with, you could opt for the STIHL HSA 26 cordless garden shears; they come with an attachment that is great for quick edge maintenance on your lawn.

These cordless garden shears are a compact, handy tool for trimming the edge of your lawn with precision. They’re also quick and easy to use, whether you’re trimming around the edge of a lawn, flowerbeds, a patio or along fences and walls. When trimming, keep the strokes even and always cut in the same direction.

You can also buy a separate telescopic shaft attachment set to be used with the HSA 26 which means you don't even have to bend down and can use them from a standing position. 


How often do I need to trim my lawn edges?

We recommend edge-trimming every time you mow your lawn. Start by trimming all around the grass edge. Doing it all in one go will give you even results. If your lawn is growing fast in spring, you can mow up to twice a week; when the weather gets dry and warmer, don’t cut the grass more than once a week. That’s a guideline, but remember that every lawn is different. A lawn grown from an ornamental grass seed mix is much more demanding than a simple recreational lawn and will need more frequent mowing and trimming. 

Lawn-edge trimming techniques

If you’re using cordless garden shears for trimming your grass edging, the technique is quite intuitive: just move the tool smoothly at the level you are trimming to. We recommend you do all the trimming of your lawn edge in one go for even results. If you are using a grass trimmer or brushcutter, there are a few extra points to consider.

A woman trimming the edge of a lawn around some bushes with a STIHL FSA 57 cordless clearing saw

Trimming lawn edges with a brushcutter or grass trimmer

If you need to trim the edge of a large lawn or very long grass, we recommend using a brushcutter or grass trimmer. The right technique and balance are important to make the process effortless. Adjust the tool to the right height for your body, and hold it as described in your operating instructions. When trimming at the edge of the lawn, hold the grass trimmer at the right height over the ground and make smooth sweeping motions with it. Don't make the motions too wide as you are more likely to dip the head in the middle of the swing which creates a "bowl" effect in the grass. Also, don’t let the mowing head touch the ground, as this will cause it to wear quickly.

STIHL professional tip: If you have a trimming tool with a mowing line that you haven’t used for a while, we recommend you soak the entire spool in water for a day or more before you start trimming with it. Soaking makes the line flexible and less brittle, so it lasts longer and performs better.

To achieve good results in the long term, read our tips on maintaining and properly storing your grass trimmer.

A woman wearing ear and face protection using a STIHL FS clearing saw to trim the edge of a lawn along a wall

Lawn-edge trimming: the right posture

Make sure you adjust your brushcutter or grass trimmer to suit your height. You should stand up straight while trimming with your tool to prevent back pain. The cutting tool should be just touching the ground when you stand upright. Always hold the brushcutter or grass trimmer with both hands when cutting your lawn edge to be in the best position when using the tool.

Safety considerations when trimming your lawn edge

Make sure that people stay at least 15 m away when you’re trimming your lawn with a power tool. Grass trimmers can kick up small stones, sticks or other debris on the ground, so when using them you should always wear safety glasses with appropriate face protection and suitable work clothes. For petrol-powered tools, you will also need ear protection. Your operating instructions will include more information on personal protective equipment.

Readjusting the mowing line on brushcutters and grass trimmers

If you have a brushcutter or grass trimmer with a STIHL AutoCut mowing head, it’s easy to extend the mowing line even while you’re trimming the edge of your lawn: when the tool is up to speed, just tap the rotating mowing head on the ground to release the line-holding mechanism, and about 30mm of mowing line with be automatically fed out of the mowing head.

If the mowing line is initially too long after adjustment, the mechanism may briefly become noisy because of the excess mowing line hitting the guard. There’s no need for concern if this happens, as the blade integrated into the guard will cut the line to the right length after two or three rotations. 

You should regularly replace your grass trimmer wire and heads.

Summary: lawn-edge trimming

  • Trim all around your lawn edge before you start mowing.
  • Include trimming as part of your routine every time you mow the lawn.
  • Use a brushcutter or grass trimmer for large areas and long grass or cordless garden shears for details and smaller spaces.
  • Maintain a safety distance of 15m when trimming the edge of your lawn with a brushcutter or grass trimmer.