Containing Mulch: Landscape Border Construction Containing Mulch: Landscape Border Construction

What You'll Need
Mortar (if you want to mortar the stones)
Tape measure
Black plastic or landscape fabric
Sand or soil to level the area
Safety goggles

Gardeners know that mulch has many benefits including weed suppression and moisture retention. By edging your mulched areas with landscaping stone you can help make sure that the mulch stays where it’s supposed to, and doesn’t spill onto walkways or patios. Additionally, stone gives a more permanent, classic look than other materials like plastic.

Step 1: Research Stone Choices

You need to decide on the stone you’re going to use. There are hundreds of choices of size, color, and even shape. Larger stones can be dry-fitted more easily, and won’t shift easily. If you use smaller stones, you may need to mortar them in place.

Step 2: Measure

Measure the area you’re going to be landscaping. Once you know the dimensions of the border you want to make, you can buy the appropriate amount of stone.

Step 3: Prep the Area

Mark the outline of your border. Clear unwanted grass or debris from the area where you’re installing the border. Line the ground with mylar or landscape fabric to keep grass from growing up around the border. Make sure it extends several inches on each side.

If you are using large stones, you may want to level the ground by scraping dirt out or filling in depressions with sand or loose soil.

You can mark the contours of your border with string or spray paint.

Dig out the area 3 or 4 inches deep, and at least 6 inches wider than the stones. This will allow you to set the first course of stones firmly, and give extra room for weed control.

You can put down a bed of gravel to seat the stones. This is recommended if you are using larger stones.

Step 4: Put stones in place

Place your stones. If you’re using gravel, just dump and spread until even. If you are building a border of larger stones, level your first row first, making sure that each stone fits together tightly. If you need to, use mortar to secure them. You can use the hammer to help level each stone (wear safety glasses if hammering stones).

If you want a second layer of stones, stagger them slightly from the first row, creating an “interlocking” pattern. This will add stability.

Step 5: Fill

Move the mulch up to the edge of your stone landscape edging, and plant away!

One of the joys of working with stone is the feeling of accomplishment when you get them to fit just right. Be prepared to take the time to play with the placement; it will pay off in years to come. The extra time you put in now will ensure a long-lasting, low-maintenance border.

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