Edging and Trimming the Lawn; UK and Australia Compared

Grass. It’s everywhere.

It’s horrible when it’s long and wispy, it looks marvellous when it is cut short and looks like a green velvet carpet. For it to look perfect though, you need to trim the edges so that they do not overlap the path.

Without proper care the edge of your lawn can take on a life of its own. Your lawn could creep in a direction you do not want it to creep to. Straight lines are best.

Like this…

Straight grassI first noticed these incredibly straight lines when walking the 1.2 kilometres home from my local pub, sometimes in a not so straight-line. I noticed that a straight line on lawns around the pavements was definitely ‘the go’ here in Australia.

I decided to conduct an experiment; armed with my camera I walked out the front of my house and turned left inspecting the lawn edging around the paths in my street. I wondered how far I would get before I came to one that had been neglected.

Here’s how that went…

The straight grass test

This one is good…

grass 2

This one is excellent…

grass 3

And this one is perfect…

grass 4

Not bad, a bit of damage in the corner though…

grass 5

Another beauty…

grass 6

Ooh, lovely…

More straight grassBut when I got to the tenth house, I’m afraid it looked like this…

wonky grassAfter this exhausting and thorough experiment I think we can safely conclude that 90% of households in Australia trim their lawn edges properly and 10% don’t.

There was a time when my lawn was not straight around the path like the one above, but that was before I made the realisation that I was in the minority. I quickly pulled myself (and my lawn) in line and now my pathway looks like this…

my grassImpressive, eh?

What’s the big deal here though Bob?‘ I hear you ask. ‘People in the UK as well as many other countries like to keep their lawn edges straight as well you know.

Yes, this is true, but it’s how they do it that’s so different.

Lawn edging UK and Australia compared

I have found a couple of fantastic education videos for you; let’s start with how to trim a lawn edge in the UK…

Now over to Australia where you will notice things are a little different. Whilst our man in UK is very happy with his giant scissors on a stick, here in Australia it’s done differently.

Meet the whipper snipper, or weed whacker. You might call it a lawn trimmer or edger. Welcome back to Greg the gardener

Yes, whipper snippers, we love them.

whipper snipper
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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Jacklin July 31, 2020, 9:45 pm |

    Lawn mower service Melbourne

  • Richie Jen November 21, 2019, 9:38 pm |

    Great information for establishing a lawn in Australia. As we are planning to lay our new turf in our backyard, our turf supplier recommends Zoysia grass for our yard which is best to grow in both shade and sunlight with less maintenance, I prefer Empire Zoysia turf. Here I got ideas of Zoysia turf to use for the various purpose and soil types. Thanks for Sharing.

    • BobinOz November 22, 2019, 3:23 pm |

      If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was an advert Richie 🙂

  • Tish Drury December 24, 2015, 9:57 pm |

    Thank you so much for this page. I am however left wondering why if the English are so good at doing edges (with whatever they choose) my neighbour who is an Englishman sees no reason to trim his edges at all, nor weed the garden, nor does he “do the lawn” very often.

    We moved to this area some 5 years ago to be nearer to green – it is a minor rainforest area, having previously lived near the beach which was dry sandy and distinctly weedy with dead nature strips which nobody trimmed, because the “green” was mostly dead without regular rain (or watering care by the owners) and looked the area ended up looking like a spikey ghost town.

    Whilst this may seem a minor matter, it has a serious impact on the rest of the street – we live in a cul-de-sac of some 12 houses and his is one at the entry end, it really annoys and sets the scene badly from the start.

    The other problem is that my neglectful neighbour is a great guy, would love to gently remind him that he is living in Oz where we take care of those things, like trimming edges and doing lawns, no matter how busy we are – we all have busy lives and we manage to take care of our green areas. Anyone any suggestions?

    • BobinOz December 30, 2015, 8:22 pm |

      As you have discovered, not all Englishmen are the same.

      The problem you have here is that whilst long grass in the UK is an eyesore, here in Australia it’s actually a hazard. Snakes love to live in long grass and snakes can kill. That’s why most sensible homeowners keep their lawns nice and tidy here.

      When I first moved to Australia, the house I bought already had a severe long grass problem, it was above waist height. I received a letter from the council about two weeks after moving in, a neighbour had complained and the council quoted some regulation or other effectively labelling my back garden a dangerous hazard.

      They told me to sort it out pronto, or face a fine. I’m not suggesting you contact your local council and dob this bloke in, but maybe a friendly chat explaining the dangers will do the trick.

      If that doesn’t work, then you can dob him in 🙂

      Good luck, Bob

  • Charles September 17, 2015, 3:28 pm |

    Hi Bob! Thanks for the article – it’s good to set things straight, literally. I live in Sydney and have Sir Walter Buffalo turf in my backyard and I use a traditional edger to get a nice clean cut on the edges. It has a straight blade that does not curve unlike that of a spade and it’s also easy to push into the ground without much effort.

    • BobinOz September 17, 2015, 5:47 pm |

      Your link didn’t work for some reason Charles, so I had to deaden it, but thanks for the info, sounds like a straight blade does the job. Cheers, Bob

  • Maggie July 15, 2015, 7:37 pm |

    what robbash.

    • BobinOz July 16, 2015, 12:14 am |

      Great effort Maggie, thank you. I think you deserve a lie down after that 🙂

  • djmcbell July 2, 2015, 5:30 pm |

    Quick question. Generally in the UK, the local council ensures that grass verges adjacent to the road (and other grassed areas) are cut and maintained.

    Obviously I can understand a home owner cutting down to the roadside if their garden extends that far (when I visited my parents there were no pavements and gardens extended down to the roadside, but there was a painted off bit of road for pedestrians), but in the situations you’ve photographed where there is a public path going through, would the resident cut the grass down to the road, or would this be the local council’s responsibility?

    • BobinOz July 2, 2015, 8:57 pm |

      An interesting question and one I’m really not 100% sure about, even though I’ve lived in this same house for over seven years.

      ‘I think’ that the council is responsible for the thin bits right next to the road and that the bits close to the walls of some of the houses are the responsibility of the house owners. You can see it more clearly on my house because my wall is set a bit further back, so I have quite a wide bit of grass that is my responsibility, the thin bit is technically the councils, I think.

      That said, whenever I do my bit of grass at the front, I also do the thin bit, otherwise it looks a bit ridiculous. The council do definitely turn up here on a regular basis to trim it all up, but I’m not sure how regular and if they see it’s under control they just do the bits that aren’t. In fact I swear that even when my thin bit needs doing and they turn up, they don’t bother because they know I’ll get around to it in the end.

      Maybe I’ll leave it for a year, see what happens 🙂

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