Mowing strips and garden beds

by Sandy Garland / FWG

Brick mowing stripRegular visitors to our Backyard Garden may be wondering what we are doing along the edge of some of the flower beds. Until recently, most beds were edged with a double row of bricks. This “mowing strip” allowed the lawn mower to run along with one wheel on the brick path and trim the grass right to the edge. Nice and easy for the volunteers who mow.

BUT, the volunteers who maintain these beds complained that it was very difficult to weed between the bricks – in fact impossible, and weeds kept growing back as fast as they were pulled out. Others added that the bricks did not create a very “natural” look in a wildlife garden.

dirt stripSo, out they came! To help the mowers, we are trying to replace the bricks with a packed strip of soil around each bed. Time will tell whether this solution works for everyone.

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2 thoughts on “Mowing strips and garden beds

  1. Have you considered using an ‘English edge’ to the flower beds? It’s a simple way of undercutting the edge – hard to describe in words but easy to do – which stops the grass from growing into the bed. The mower runs close to it, and if it is the kind where the wheels are inside the cutting swath, it cuts right up to the edge. Otherwise you just run along the edge with the whipper-snipper. It does take some maintenance – you have to re-make the edge about yearly – but looks good, is quick to do, and avoids all edge weeding. It doesn’t work if the soil is very loose and sandy, though.

    • A very good point. Mowing edge areas around naturalised beds or yards, or providing some sense of ‘order’ is highly recommended for aesthetic value. At FWG, we recently decided to remove the brick edge borders around some of the beds in the BYG as they made weeding significantly more work though they made mowing very easy. After a group discussion where the lawnmower team indicated that they needed to be able to easily manoeuvre on flat surfaces, the group decided to opt for flat English-edge type borders. The flat area of exposed soil will be easier to weed, though will require more constant plant monitoring than the common dipped soil edge (a small trench).

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