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How To Use A Half Moon Edger [Step By Step Guide]

Did you buy a new half moon edger and it's your first time using it? Or maybe you've tried using it but not getting the results that you want. Unfortunately, these items don't usually come with a manual, so to help you out, we've researched the step-by-step guide and various techniques on how to use a half moon edger.

To use a half-moon edger, here are the steps:

  1. Hold the edger vertically toward the ground and grip the handle firmly
  2. Step on the flat end to help push the tool down on the ground
  3. Rock the edger to the sides while pushing down for a deeper cut
  4. Repeat the process until you have cut through the entire length of your project

Would you like to learn more trenching techniques using a half moon edger? Read on below and we'll give you more details (step-by-step). We also have information on how to use it to dig a trench and why edgers are often confused with a garden spade.

A man in steel-toe cap boots presses down onto a metallic lawn edger to excavate earth beneath it, How To Use A Half Moon Edger [Step By Step Guide]

How To Use An Edger For The First Time?

A half moon edger, also called a step-edger, is a simple, straightforward, and versatile garden tool that's easy to use. You just need a little bit of muscle to use this tool for manual digging.

Man using an old edger tool to create a neat vegetable plot in the garden

How To Prepare Your Ground For Edging

  1. Check the softness and consistency of the ground. If it's too dry, run a garden hose on the areas where you're going to dig to soften the soil. If the ground is hard and rocky, make sure to remove most of the debris and use a high-quality, sturdy edger.
  2. Outline the area where you will run your edger. You can use a guide rope or garden-safe marking spray paint (see a sample of this below).
  3. Make sure the edger's blade is clean and sharp.

Check out this Rust-Oleum temporary marking spray paint on Amazon.

How Do You Use The Half Moon Edger?

When you order a lawn edger it will sometimes arrive in pieces and you need to assemble it yourself. The product should come complete with wrenches, bolts, and assembly instructions. Follow the packaging instructions.

Check out this long-handled T-grip step edger on Amazon.

To use the half moon edger, follow the steps below:

  1. Adjust the length of the handle (if adjustable) to your desired height. Place the edger blade vertically into the ground and grip the handle firmly.
  2. Step on the flat end of the edger and use your leg and arm strength to push the tool down on the ground, cutting into the soil.
  3. Wiggle the edger back and forth to the sides while pushing down for a deeper cut.
  4. Remove the edger upward. You should see a clean, cut line into the ground.
  5. Repeat the process until you have cut through the entire length of your project.
  6. After digging, clean the edger before placing back in storage.

Here's a short video on  how it's done:

Before you dig, you should first identify what project you want to accomplish. Are you using the edger to create clean lines on the sidewalk, for landscaping, or to dig a trench? For more complex projects like trenching, you will need additional gardening tools for digging such as a spade, shovel, or trowel.

Check out this popular Ashman 48-inch drain spade on Amazon.

If you've tried using a half moon edger tool before and the results are not as you expected, there might be a few factors hindering it from working smoothly such as:

  • The ground is too hard or dry
  • The edger's blade is not sharp
  • The edger isn't sturdily made

What Is A Half Moon Edger Used For?

Shallow focus of a steel lawn edger.

The main purpose of half moon edgers is to create neat and clean edges on lawns and gardens. Its sharp edge should be able to cut through grass and roots on the ground to make distinct lines to divide the grass and soil.

A good quality half moon edger should be sturdy and last you for years. You should be able to sharpen the edge with a grinder if needed as it gets dull over time with repeated use.

A manual edger does not need maintenance, only a good cleaning before you put it back in storage. You can wash off any dirt with water or place it in a bucket full of sand to help remove sticky soil.

How Do I Get Perfect Edges On My Lawn?

sharp edges on driveway with perfect lawn

Below we will show you the different ways you can use a half moon edger to create clean, perfect lines on your lawn to make it look clean and immaculate.

Creating A Clean Line Between Grass And A Path

To edge a sidewalk and create a clean line between the grass and the path, you will need the following:

  • a half moon edger
  • a flat shovel
  • a sweeper

What to do:

  1. Position the edger on the division between the grass and the pathway. Push it down to cut through the ground and grass overgrowth.
  2. Use the flat shovel to pick up the cut grass and soil.
  3. Use the broom to clean up the remaining bits of grass and soil.

The process is very easy but it takes a bit of hard work depending on how long a pathway you need to edge. Check out this very helpful video below to help you visualize the procedure.

Creating A Clean Line Between Grass And Soil

You can make a clean, defined line between the grass and the ground soil or a mulch bed using only a half moon edger. Here's how to do it:

  1. Place the edger on the grassy part of the ground.
  2. Put your foot on the edger while gripping the handle firmly and push it down to cut through the grass.
  3. Rock the edger sideways a few times then pull it out.
  4. Repeat the process until you have covered the entire length of your project.
  5. Now do the same procedure on the opposite side parallel to the existing line to create a strip.
  6. Pull the strip of grass out then put back some of the soil in the shallow area and pat firmly to create a cleaner look.

Check out this video below for more visual instructions. 

Using An Edger To Dig A Shallow Trench

To dig a shallow trench, you can use a tool that's both an edger and a trencher. Trenches are often used to bury cable lines, wires, and irrigation pipes in the ground. Here's how to use the tool:

  1. Hold the tool vertically on the ground and push it down to cut through the grass.
  2. Rock it back and forth (not sideways) to loosen the soil and create a deep opening for the trench.
  3. Repeat the procedure until you cover the entire length of your project.

See how it's done in this video below.

Half Moon Edger Vs. Spade

Lawn edge seen being used for digging in a flower bed area

There's sometimes confusion between an edger and a spade because some types of spades have a flat edge that can also be used for edging. These tools are also often used together for more edging and gardening efficiency. However, the blades on the two tools are distinctly different.

A lawn edger has a heavy-duty sharp blade or saw-toothed edge to make it easier to cut through grass and roots on the ground. A garden spade does not have this feature.  

Think of the spade as a type of shovel. Typically, garden spades have a pointed or rounded edge that is often used when digging and trenching, but spades with flat edges and double as edgers in a pinch. Here's what it looks like below.

Check out this Fiskars flat square garden spade on Amazon.

Wrapping Up

A man in steel-toe cap boots presses down onto a metallic lawn edger to excavate earth beneath it

Using a half moon edger only requires three steps. Position the edger vertically on the ground, push it down on the ground, then take out the strip of grass to clean the area. If the cut-up strip is wide enough, you can actually replant it somewhere else.

Thank you very much for reading through the procedures. We hope we were able to give you edging techniques to make your lawn and pathways look cleaner.

For more edging techniques and other lawn care topics, do check out these other helpful articles below.

Can You Use An Edger Along A Fence [Without Causing Damage]?

Can You Edge Wet Grass? Should You?

How To Remove A Metal Fence Post From The Ground [Step By Step Guide]