How to - Lawn Care

Separate your lawn and garden with mowing strips

Beckie Fox
Photography by
Roger Yip (main) and Beckie Fox

Put an end to the chore of edging by installing a border for your lawn mower

Installing a mowing strip isn’t complicated, though it does require planning and patience. You can do it in stages, but make sure you have enough materials to complete the project.

Decide if you are going to set the concrete bricks side by side (perpendicular to the edge of the bed) or end to end. Side by side is more stable, provides a wider surface for a mower’s wheels and just looks better, I think. Of course, this will require more bricks than end-to-end placement. Another caveat: it’s probably easier to install a mowing strip after you dig a bed but before you plant it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option for this border.

  • Tools: straight-edged spade, trowel, spirit level, flat piece of wood, stakes and string
  • Concrete bricks: divide the length of the mowing strip by the width of the brick to estimate the number needed. Bricks are sold by the square foot,but store personnel can advise you of the number contained in a square foot
  • Fine limestone screenings

Step 1: Use several stakes to mark where the front edge of the concrete bricks will meet the lawn. In our case, we wanted a straight 1.5-metre-wide border, so we used a tape measure to make sure the edge was equidistant from the trellis screens at the back of the border. Install stakes at either end, then run a taut string between them. (If precision isn’t an issue, or if the border is curved, just remove the turf from the edge of the lawn equal to the width of your mowing strip.)

Step 2: With a sharp, straight-edged spade, and using the string as your guide, slice down through the turf. Peel off the sod (use it to patch your lawn or put it in the composter).

Step 3: Dig a trench about 2.5 centimetres deeper than the concrete brick, measuring down from the soil level of the turf. Make the trench one to two centimetres wider than the width of the strip. (This will give you room to make adjustments so the front edge of the brick is aligned.)

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