Now that spring is on the horizon, it’s time to start planning projects for when your lawn and garden wake from their long winter slumber. For me, spring means mower maintenance, mulching my garden beds, applying a good pre-emergent to the lawn, and edging my lawn and garden beds. If you’re looking for ways to upgrade your curb appeal and cut your yardwork time this season, consider mow over lawn edging. It is a lower-maintenance alternative to traditional edging styles, and every time you mow you’ll thank yourself for installing it in your yard.
What’s Wrong with Traditional Edging?
We’re all familiar with traditional lawn edging. So, why do something different?
Standard garden edging, like those plastic strips you tack down with landscaping spikes, or pavers, wood or brick blocks along a garden’s perimeter can all work well for their intended purpose.
The plastic tubing that you’ve certainly seen will keep your grass from spreading via rhizomes and entering your garden beds (which is why it’s there).
The point of any good lawn edging product is to separate the yard and garden to prevent weeds from spreading and grass from entering your garden, and many of these options do the job.
However, after you’ve installed traditional edging, you’ve made extra work for yourself. Now you will need to use a string trimmer or edger to clean up the grass growing right up against it. You know – the stuff you can’t get to with your mower.
It’s unlikely that you will be able to get close enough with a mower, and even if you can you may damage your edging, and your lawn edges won’t look neat and tidy.
That’s why so many people install mow-over edging instead.
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Why I Love Mow Over Lawn Edging
Mow over edging provides several inches of margin flush with your lawn. This allows your lawn mower to safely ride over it, with one set of wheels coasting along comfortably with no risk of damage to your mower, edging, or plants.
You’ll be able to enjoy a neatly trimmed lawn edge that is flush with the ground, without having to worry about using a trimmer or edger.
There are several varieties of mow over edging to choose from. You can choose the one that is best for you by thinking about the effort you’d like to put into its install, and how permanent you want the edging to be.
You can find simple pavers that only need to be bolted in at your local box or hardware stores or even on Amazon.
There’s no effort required to dig or install these, so you can usually install about 60 feet of edging in just an hour.
The Low-Effort Option
This type of mow over edging made by EMSCO Group is selling on Amazon right now for between $4 and $5 per foot. For me that’s pretty pricey, but you’re paying for the convenience, and it may work well for homeowners with small areas to edge.
It is made with durable polyethylene plastic, which helps it hold up to damage from the sun’s UV rays. It comes in a variety of styles and colors to match any home and garden.
These edgings have decorative wall that is several inches tall with a flat lip that lays on the ground. Plastic bolts connect the top portions together, and shorter stakes connect the base in the ground. Most of the reviews are positive, but some reviewers complained of discrepancies in coloration between orders, and thought they looked cheap (but were too expensive).
Personally I agree with the criticism, and would encourage you to go another route if you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves.
The Best Options for Mow Over Lawn Edging
You can install more permanent fixtures with a bit more effort. These include stone, pavers, brick, and even concrete.
DIY mow strips range from a functional 6-inch width to as wide as 12 to 14 inches. Wide strips are great if you’d like them to double as a garden path.
You’ve got to make sure that the edging is flat on the ground, so that the lawn mower can easily move over it and create flush cut grass.
You’ll need to dig up the ground to securely insert pavers and bricks. You should also use a layer of sand if you want a particularly sound base.
Bricks tend to be more expensive, but they offer more options for setting up patterns, creating a quaint and traditional look.
Stone requires more effort in design to ensure that all of the pieces are flat to the ground, but it lends a charmingly rustic look. Flagstone and limestone tend to be flat and are both very good choices.
Stone allows for more customization than brick and can amplify your creative touches.
Poured concrete is the most durable of your options. It is a fantastic choice if your garden has unusual shapes or curves.
Concrete is also great in how easy it is to create an even surface that your lawnmower can easily maneuver over.
You can use some misshapen stones by placing them in concrete, and you can add decorative stones in a variety of colors as an accent.
Budget-Friendly Mow Over Lawn Edging
A friend of mine built some raised beds for a small vegetable garden behind his home while home during the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020. He asked for my advice on how to define the space with low-cost and low-maintenance lawn edging.
These timbers have a nice flat edge on either side, and We dug the soil down the depth of the timbers (flat-side to flat-side), staked down the landscaping fabric in the area to prevent weeds, and then cut the timbers to length and secured them around the perimeter of his new garden with galvanized spikes.
Next we back-filled around the garden beds with pea gravel, which helped the garden pop and really defined it as a separate space from his lawn.
Since the landscaping timbers cost under $1 per foot, this is a great cheap option for the edge of any garden bed. They are pressure-treated and should hold up for 10 years or more without issue.
His are still going strong 3 years later.
Maintenance on Mow Over Edging
The right kind of edging maintenance will depend on how much foot traffic happens in the area you put it in.
It’s very likely the stones and pavement will crack over time, and any material can heave with frost or as the ground settles.
While plastic edging options aren’t organic options that can break down, in my experience wood and stone products last a lot longer anyway.
These are easy to repair or replace. If the edging is flush with the ground, you’ll make sure that your edging and lawn mower blades will live in blissful harmony.
If you’re a renter or don’t want to install anything permanent, you should go with temporary edging.
Do You Have Low-Maintenance Ideas for Edging Your Lawn?
Overall, I highly recommend installing permanent mow over lawn edging around your beds and borders.
Yes, it takes some time and effort, especially if you want a permanent fix.
But you’ll be glad you have this style of edging when you’re mowing your lawn. It makes maintaining a lawn a lot easier, and looks great.
Now over to you – do you have an idea or solution you’d like to share with others? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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