Make a Mowing Strip

Leave a 6- to 12-inch-wide mowing strip between the edge of your beds and borders and the lawn to save time and effort in the garden.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • A paved strip between grass and beds or borders means you can mow your lawn without worry of damaging plants or trimming afterward. The ground-level strip enables the blade to cut freely. And making it 12 inches wide provides a stable path to walk on or a dry perch for while working in the bed.

    Rubble, a mix of irregular fieldstones, and broken concrete chunks provide ideal materials for creating a mowing strip. There's likely a shattered sidewalk or driveway ready for recycling and perhaps free for hauling. Road-base gravel is a rough-edge, unrinsed material that also works well as a base for the strip. The quantity of materials necessary for the project depends on the length of your bed and the width of the strip.

    Here's a list of what you'll need:

    -Waterproof work gloves

    -Flour or powdered chalk

    -Coarse sand

    -Road-base gravel

    -Rubble (with at least one flat side) or fieldstones

    -Quick-setting concrete mix

    -Hand brush or broom

    -Garden hose with spray attachment

    -Decorative items, such as colored sea glass, sparkly rocks, or other treasures

    -Sheet plastic or burlap

  • Step 1

    Mark the area for your mowing strip by using flour or powdered chalk. Then use a spade to cut through any sod and remove it, excavating a 6- to 8-inch-deep trench.

  • Step 2

    Cover the bottom of the trench with a 1- to 2-inch-deep layer of sand; top with a 1- to 2-inch-deep layer of road-base gravel.

  • Step 3

    Position the rubble or fieldstones at ground level with flat sides up. Add gravel under pieces as needed to create a level surface. Leave 1-inch-wide or larger gaps between the pieces. Sprinkle gravel into the gaps until they're mostly filled and the area is level.

  • Step 4

    Use a flexible scoop, such as a plastic yogurt cup, to sprinkle concrete mix into the gaps. Brush any excess off the adjacent rubble.

  • Step 5

    Attach a spray nozzle to the garden hose and gently sprinkle the installation with water just until the concrete mix is saturated. Add dry concrete mix to level any areas and saturate.

  • Step 6

    Concrete sets within 15 minutes, so work quickly to add finishing touches, tucking decorative items into the wet concrete. Cover the finished installation with a sheet of plastic or burlap to keep the concrete damp while it cures. Wait two days before walking on it.

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