How Deep Should I Set My Lawn Edger?

Lawn edging is the perfect solution for maintaining a clean and polished look for your yard, but it can be tricky to figure out exactly how deep to set your lawn edger to get the best results and avoid any issues.

When using a lawn edger, setting it up so it cuts down to between 1 and 2 inches is often ideal. This depth is enough to stop grass from creeping onto adjacent paths, walkways, etc. but not deep enough to cut through any underground cables or water hoses.

In this simple guide, I’ll discuss how to set the perfect depth for your lawn edger, along with helpful tips for each edging scenario. Let’s jump right in!

The Ideal Depth For Your Lawn Edger

The primary goal of lawn edging is to create a well-defined barrier between your lawn and other landscape features. The depth of your lawn edger plays a crucial role in achieving this goal. 

The perfect setting for your lawn will depend on a few factors:

Grass type: Different grass species have varying root depths, which will affect the ideal edging depth. Warm-season grasses typically have deeper root systems than cool-season grasses.

Soil type: If you have compacted or clay-heavy soil, you may need to edge deeper to prevent grass from spreading into adjacent areas.

Lawn height: A taller lawn may require deeper edging to achieve a clean and polished appearance.

Landscape features: Consider the height of adjacent walkways, driveways, or garden beds when determining the depth of your edger. You want to create a clear separation without digging too deep.

As a general rule of thumb, a depth of 1 to 2 inches should be sufficient for most lawns. This depth will create a well-defined border and prevent grass from encroaching on other areas.

Keep an eye on whether the grass is consistently encroaching on walkways or garden beds, as you may need to set your edger to a deeper cut to effectively prevent further spread.

Also, make sure you pay attention to the roots of any nearby trees or bushes. Cutting these can be detrimental to the plant’s health so if possible, set a cutting depth that doesn’t harm them. This can be a tricky subject, so I wrote an article about it – you can check it out here if you are interested. 

How Deep Does A Lawn Edger Cut?

Lawn edgers are designed with cutting depths ranging from 0.5 inches to around 3.5 inches. This range accommodates various lawn types, soil conditions, and landscape features, ensuring a clean and precise edge.

To determine the appropriate cutting depth for your lawn, consider factors such as the variety of grass, how stony the soil is, adjacent landscape features, and any possible underground utilities or obstacles.

As you become more experienced with the process, you may find that certain sections of your lawn require different cutting depths. Just adjust the depth setting on your edger to accommodate these variations and achieve a consistently polished appearance.

While it’s essential to set your edger to the appropriate depth, be cautious not to set it too deep. Over-edging can damage your lawn’s root system and make it more susceptible to pests and diseases.

What Depth Is Best For Each Type Of Edge?

While keeping the edger set to the same depth wherever you’re working makes the job easier, changing it to suit different scenarios is a great technique for an even better finish. Let’s explore various edging situations and the recommended depths for each.

Garden Beds And Walkways

For garden beds and walkways, a depth of 1 to 2 inches is generally sufficient to create a clean border and prevent grass from encroaching on these areas. If your grass type has deeper roots or if you have compacted soil, consider setting your edger to a depth closer to 2 inches.


Driveway edging may require a slightly deeper cut, around 2 to 3 inches, to account for the height difference between the lawn and driveway surface. This depth will create a well-defined edge and discourage grass from growing onto the driveway.

Tree Rings And Shrub Borders

When edging around tree rings or shrubs, a shallower depth of 0.5 to 1 inch is typically suitable. This depth helps protect their roots from damage while maintaining a neat appearance.

Sloped Or Uneven Lawns

For lawns with slopes or uneven terrain, adjust the depth setting on your edger as needed to maintain a consistent edge appearance. This may involve varying the depth from 1 to 3 inches, depending on the slope and grass type.

The Benefits Of Proper Edging Depth

Setting your lawn edger to the right depth can provide numerous benefits:

Aesthetic Appeal

Edging to a good depth gives your lawn a polished, professional look that enhances the overall appearance of your yard.

Barrier Maintenance 

When deep enough, it helps maintain the barriers between your lawn, garden beds, and walkways, preventing grass from spreading into unwanted areas.

Root Health

Encourages healthy root growth by preventing grass from growing too wide and shallow.


Regular edging to the right depth reduces the need for manual trimming, saving you time and effort in the long run.

Choosing The Right Lawn Edger For Depth Control

There are three main types of lawn edgers, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks when it comes to setting the depth:

Manual edgers: These tools require manual effort to push and operate. They’re suitable for smaller lawns or those on a budget, but they can be physically demanding and time-consuming. You will need to judge by eye how deep you are cutting.

Gas-powered edgers: Gas edgers are powerful and efficient, ideal for larger lawns and tough terrain. However, they can be noisy, require more maintenance, and produce emissions. Adjusting the depth of the cut is usually done by simply adjusting the angle of the guide wheel.

Electric edgers: Available in corded and cordless varieties, electric edgers offer a quieter and more eco-friendly alternative to gas-powered edgers. They’re best for small to medium-sized lawns, but their power may be limited compared to gas-powered models. As with gas-powered models, it’s easy to adjust the cutting depth by changing the guide wheel angle.

Consider the size and layout of your lawn, as well as your personal preferences when selecting the ideal lawn edger for your needs. If you are still having trouble choosing, this article I wrote about this very topic may help you.


Setting the perfect depth for your lawn edger is a crucial step in achieving a clean, professional-looking edge. By considering factors such as grass type, soil type, lawn height, and landscape features, you can determine the optimal depth that works best around your yard. 

You can also tailor the depth to suit each situation to achieve a well-manicured and visually appealing landscape. Happy edging!

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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