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Adding a Mowing Strip

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 193 Projects

Mowing strips are often considered aesthetic improvements, but they are actually excellent ways to prevent ugly and unhealthy edge compaction in a lawn. They also provide many other benefits for both the lawn and beds and garden plots they butt up against. Not only do these strips provide a stable surface for the wheels of lawnmowers, they also block aggressive weeds and plants such as ivies from invading the lawn, and likewise they prevent strong and healthy turfgrasses from growing into tidy garden beds. Lastly, they form a barrier that prevents runoff—that may contain fertilizer, herbicides, or pesticides—from moving between garden bed and lawn. So the question is not whether to add a mowing strip but rather, why would you not? The trick to installing a mowing strip that looks sharp and serves the purpose of a stable platform for your mower’s wheels is twofold. First, you should use a solid, strong edging material. Bricks are a great choice, while mulch is less so. Second, you need to make sure the strip itself is reasonably level and firm. Those aren’t hard objectives to achieve if you work steadily and check the strip as you move along. If you lay a brick mowing strip like the one discussed in the steps shown here, it’s easy to adjust any mistakes by simply pulling out the offending brick or bricks, adjusting the surface below, and then replacing the bricks. In the same vein, you can fix any unevenness that occurs in settling over time by simply resetting the bricks in their place.

Instructions

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    A solid mowing strip is as much protection for flower beds as it is for the lawn. This edge is made from brick pavers set on edge, but many other materials can also be used, including poured concrete, natural stone, or wood timbers.

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    Define the edge with a garden hose or spray paint. Even if you’re adding a mowing strip in front of an already defined bed as shown here, you’ll want to clearly define the edge to make a crisp border.

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    Cut the edge with a garden spade. Follow the line of the hose and use the spade to dig out a squared up trench about 5" deep, and as wide as the bricks are long.

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    Line the bottom of the trench with a U-shaped piece of landscape fabric. Fill the bottom of the trench with sand and tamp the sand down evenly, leaving enough space for the bricks to sit level with soil surface.

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    Set the bricks in place, butting them as tightly together as possible. Check for level side to side and front to back, and adjust as necessary. Spread sand over the bricks and brush it into any gaps between bricks.

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