While giving your lawn a fresh cut instantly improves the overall appeal of your home, it’s the detailed string trimming that gives it that clean and precise look. You probably have lots of places that need string trimmed from time to time – along sidewalks or driveways, next to landscaping, or maybe a large area of tall grass or brush that needs tamed.
Instead of going out and hacking away this time (I’m guilty of this, and the patches of scalped dirt along my sidewalk can attest to that), here are a few helpful tips from landscaping pro Mark Clement that can help you make this trim your best one yet.
which way your line spins
Trimmers cut best when they’re ejecting grass and material away from its cutting path. If your trimmer spins clockwise, it’s going to spit out material from the right and will cut best going left. If it spins counter-clockwise, it’s going to eject it from the left and will cut best going right.
When cutting opposite of this, especially in heavy grass or brush, it’s much easier for the trimmer and line to get clogged because you’ll keep dragging the already cut material into the path of travel.
Clement notes four different cutting techniques you can use in different situations:
Tapering involves holding the trimmer head and line so it cuts at a slight angle. This allows the transition from your mowed lawn to the trimmed edge to be more gradual. Many times, trimming it with the trimmer head flat gives you a nice clean trim, but is also noticeably shorter than the grass you mowed. Tapering allows it to more evenly transition from mowed grass to trimmed grass and won’t give you a trip of extra-short grass around a tree or fence.
Edging is used best where two different surfaces are parallel – like your yard and driveway or sidewalk. To edge, you simply turn the trimmer so the head is vertical and walk into the cut path. Clement notes that it’s very easy to pull up grass and dirt doing this, so it may take a few weeks of trimming to get a nice, clean edge.
Scything is using the trimmer kind of like you would a grass whip or (naturally) a scythe. In heavy brush, move the trimmer from side to side in a U-shaped path, gradually trimming closer and closer to the ground until you’ve got it down to the length you want.
Screeding is a technique for getting weeds and grass out of cracks in your sidewalk or driveway. Clement says to tip the trimmer slightly so the trimmer line is barely scraping the surface. Don’t get too close, or the concrete may chew up your line extremely fast. Once you have the depth right, position the trimmer at the weeds’ base and cut it flush to the surface.
If you’re in the market for a new trimmer, be sure to check out our trimmer and edger category right here at doitbest.com. We’ve got a variety of options, from gas-powered trimmers to lithium-battery-powered models from Greenworks and DeWalt.