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Lawn edges have always required regular maintenance, as grass grows it encroaches upon flower boarders, paths and patios.
This leads to many hours of weeding, edge trimming and edging. Not only is this extra work it can also lead to an untidy and shrinking lawn over time.
Furthermore, many lawns border other features higher than the lawns surface level. Features such as sheds, raised beds and raised patios are difficult to mow neatly up against leaving strands of un-mown grass.
Brick mow strip
This is because high, vertical sides, act as a barrier to the edge of mowing blades. Over time, continuous strimming can cause damage and deterioration to these vertical features.
Consequently, the best mowing strips have a broad width of at least 100mm. This enables mower blades to easily overlap mow strips without colliding and damaging vertical features.
What is a lawn mowing edge strip?
A mowing edge strip is a strip of material which enables easy mowing and eliminates the need of lawn edging.
The primary concept of creating a mowing strip is having a hard edge completely flush at the same level of the grass. This enables easy mowing, stops grass encroaching on other areas and gives the lawn a clean edge.
More robust mow strips made of paving and natural stone also add the extra benefit of forming landscape structure.
Mow strips made of paving and natural stone can stay in keeping with gardens other surfaces and design theme.
Paving mow strip
Why install a mowing strip to your lawn?
Different types of mow strips
Timber mow strips are typically created using gravel boards. These thin boards are rather flexible and effective for forming organic shapes and curves. The main disadvantages with timber mow strips are they eventually degrade and are often very thin.
Timber mowing edge
Metal edgings, like timber, can be perfect for forming curved lawns and flower borders. Their metallic aesthetics make them effective for a contemporary and modern look. Unlike timber, metal is much less likely to degrade, however their thin profile are not ideal for mow strips.
There are now a number of plastic edgings on the market advertised as lawn edgings. I personally do not recommend using them as mow strips. On an environmental level plastics are suitable for landscape construction. They have a tendency to break easily and degrade within sunlight.
There are rubber edging products on the market that can be used as mow strips. However on a functional, aesthetic, and environmental level I do not feel they are a good option.
Why use paving and stone to edge your lawn?
Paving and stone is a much more effective material for creating mowing strips. Firstly, masonry materials offer wide and flat surfaces which allow mowers blades to reach lawn edges.
Materials such as bricks, setts, and paving as edgings can easily match other garden features such as paths and patios. Masonry is much more durable than other materials and more likely to last the test of time.
The installation of a robust sub-base will also prevent roots of shrubs and perennial weeds encroaching upon your lawn.
Granite sett mow strip
How much do mow strips cost?
The best way to build robust mow strips is with either landscaping bricks or paving. If you want to know how much mow strips cost in these materials visit our costing articles below.
How to make a mowing strip with paving step by step
Mow strip shopping list
Tools you will need
Step 1: Mark out runs for your new mow strip
It is important that you mark out where your new mow strips will be situated. This is so you excavate out just the right amount of soil for your sub-base. Marking out can be done with line spraying paint.
Step 2: Check your completed levels
If you are digging into an existing lawn you will want your mow strips to follow the existing lawns level. This means following any natural undulations and bumps around the perimeter.
In such a case you will have to measure a consistent depth down as you dig. If you are laying a whole new lawn you have the opportunity to lay your mow strips completely flush and level.
Consistent levels can be formed using string lines, timber pegs, sprit levels and laser levels.
Step 3: Excavate your mowing strip edgings
Excavate your mow strips to a depth of around 150mm. Try to keep your excavation neat and square with no loose soil in the base. It is best keep your excavation the width of your completed mow strip.
Step 4: Fill your excavation with sub-base
Fill the bottom of your excavation with 100mm of compactable Mot type 1 sub-base. Spread out the sub-base as level as possible and then compact firmly with a tamping bar.
Step 5: Set up your working area
Set up your working area for laying your new mowing strips. This typically will include a power lead, cement mixer, wheelbarrow and all relevant materials.
Step 6: Cut your paving into mow strips
Measure out your paving into 100mm wide strips or whatever width you prefer. You may preferer a brick or sett effect, if so, cut them down into smaller and consistent sections. If your coping undersides are very flat score in some grip keys with your grinder.
Step 7: Mix up your laying mortar
Mix up your laying mortar for your mow strips. I recommend using a 1:4 sharp sand cement mix with a PVA bonding agent and mortar plasticiser. The mortar should have the consistency of a stiff brick laying mortar.
Step 8: Tamp down your edgings
Tamp down your edgings into position gently making sure they make full contact with the mortar. Check the level as you lay with a spirit level or alternatively utilise a string line.
Step 9: Joint your edgings
Using a strong, weatherproof grouting mix point the gaps between your mow strip units. For more information on how to grout external paving visit our step by step guide here.
Step 10: Make good surrounding ground
Now that you have completed laying your edgings, fill in soil around them and tidy up the surrounding area. If there is a gap between your existing lawn and mow strips, fill with topsoil and seed them.
Thank you for reading our article on creating your mow strips for easy mowing. If you would like us to install a mow strip around your lawn contact us here. Below we have linked to some other mow strip articles you may find useful.
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