Do You Use a Lawn Edger Before or After Mowing? Which Is Best?

As any experienced gardener knows, achieving that perfect lawn involves more than just mowing. Lawn edging is an essential step in creating those crisp, clean lines that separate your grass from your walkways, flower beds, or other landscape features. The timing of this process, however, can be a topic of debate: should you edge before or after mowing your lawn?

When it comes to lawn edging and mowing, the order in which to do them is usually down to how long the grass is and personal preference. Mowing first is often the best idea as it will be easier to see exactly where the edge of the lawn is.

In this article, I’ll explore the arguments around which order to do these tasks and why edging your lawn before mowing could actually save you some time, but may not always be the best option. Read on to find out more.

When to Edge  – Before or After Mowing?

Ultimately, the decision to edge before or after mowing will depend on the method that you prefer, how long the grass is, the lawn size, and the tools you have available.

Edge Before Mowing

If your yard contains a large lawn with lots of edges around flower beds, paths, driveways, etc. then edging before mowing may make more sense. This will mean you have a clear guide to follow as you go around with your lawnmower, avoiding damage to any flowers and so on.

However, this only works if you mow regularly and generally keep the grass shorter. Otherwise, it will make it more difficult to see exactly where the edge should be before mowing.

This method is also only suitable if you have an electric or gas-powered edger, as they make the job of edging longer grass much easier than with a hand edger.

Edge After Mowing

If you allow the grass on your lawn to grow longer between cuts, then edging after mowing is going to be the better option as you will be able to achieve a much cleaner, more precise finish.

This is, even more, the case when using a manual lawn edger of some type as it will make the job a lot easier.

This method can also be helpful if you’re using a string trimmer for edging, as it allows for better visibility of the grass height and the borders of your landscape features.

However, edging your lawn last will mean you have to clear up clippings and other debris rather than just letting the mower hoover these up.

Edging Before Mowing – Pros And Cons

One option for lawn edging is to do it before mowing your lawn. This method involves using an edger or other tool to create a clean edge along the perimeter of your lawn, before mowing the grass itself. Here are some pros and cons of this approach:


  • Creates Clear Guidelines: Edging first creates a clean, defined border that can act as a guide when mowing. 
  • Prevents Damage To Flower Beds: Makes it easier to achieve a consistent cut and prevent accidental damage to flower beds or other landscape features as you mow.
  • Clean Up Clippings As You Mow: By edging first, you can suck up most of the resulting grass clippings with the mower as you cut the grass, saving you some cleanup time.


  • Difficult To Achieve A Clean Edge: When you edge before mowing, the grass will be long making it difficult to see exactly where the edge should be. This is the main problem with doing it beforehand.
  • Hard Work With A Manual Edger: If you’re using a manual edging tool rather than a powered one, you will find it’s hard work cutting through the long grass to get a tidy finish.

Edging After Mowing – Pros And Cons

Using a lawn edger after mowing is another popular technique. This involves mowing your lawn first and then using the edger to create a clean and defined edge. It sounds like the best thing to do but comes with its own set of pros and cons:


  • Easier To Get Clean Edges: This is the main benefit of mowing first. Once you’ve mowed you will be able to see where the edges of your lawn should be, making it far easier to go along them with the edger. This can result in a cleaner, more professional-looking lawn.
  • Better For Manual Edgers: Shorter grass will make it much easier to get a clean edge with manual tools.


  • Inefficient Mowing: Without a clear border to guide you, you may find it more difficult to mow close to the edge of your landscape features, resulting in the need for additional trimming or multiple passes with the mower.
  • Risk of Damage: If you’re not careful, doing it this way may result in damage to your landscape features or an uneven border as you could get too close with the mower.
  • Increases Cleanup Time: As you will be edging after you’ve finished with the mower, you will need to collect up the resulting debris by some other means.


The choice between edging before or after mowing comes down to personal preference, lawn size, grass length, and the tools at your disposal. 

By considering the advantages and disadvantages of each method and experimenting to find the method that works best for your garden, you can achieve a beautifully manicured lawn that’s the envy of your neighborhood. 

Whichever method you choose, remember that regular edging and proper lawn care are key to maintaining a healthy, attractive yard.

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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