How To Make a Mow Strip - Backyard Boss
We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.

How To Make a Mow Strip

Trying to mow around the perimeter of your lawn can be a difficult task. Barriers such as fences or garden walls often get in the way, leaving patches of uncut grass along with their bases. Trying to cautiously mow close to the surrounding plants or garden beds can also be a frustrating and time-consuming job.

Save yourself some strife and create a six to 12-inch mow strip around the perimeter of your lawn using solid materials such as brick, concrete, wood, or stone. These materials create a flat surface to run your mower over at the edges of your lawn. This way, you can reach the toughest areas of your lawn, eliminating the need for trimming afterward.

The Benefits of a Mow Strip

New steps in a garden or back yard leading to a raised patio, alongside a new raised flowerbed made using wooden sleepers. A mowing strip of bricks is in front of newly laid turf.
Image credit: Christine Bird via Shutterstock

A mowing strip saves you time and effort while mowing. It also provides benefits to both your grass and any surrounding plants.

Mow strips are a great way to prevent edge compaction around the perimeter of your lawn. They may be used as a walkway between your grass and surrounding garden beds, preventing compaction from foot traffic as your work in the garden.

Mow strips also provide an important barrier between your grass and surrounding plants that may be damaged by a mower. In addition, they prevent run-off mixing between your garden bed and lawn that contain fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.

A mowing strip is a great tool for blocking aggressive weed and plant species from invading the edges of your lawn. It also prevents strong turf grass from creeping into your tidy garden beds.

Aesthetically, mow strips create an organized look in your backyard space. Get creative with the materials you use, creating a decorative or more uniform look!

Materials Needed to Make a Mow Strip

stone finish exterior
Image credit: nobic83 via Shutterstock
  • Waterproof work gloves
  • Flour, powdered chalk, or a long garden hose
  • Coarse sand
  • Road-base gravel
  • Brick or flat-sided stones
  • Quick-setting concrete mix
  • Yogurt cup or another flexible container
  • Hand brush
  • Garden hose with spray attachment
  • Sheet plastic or burlap fabric

A Step-By-Step Guide on How To Make a Mow Strip

Step One: Mark Your Mow Strip

An easy way to create a defined edge around your lawn is by trailing a long garden hose around the border. Alternatively, use powdered chalk or flour to create a distinct line.

Step Two: Cut Your Edge

Man people person working on vegetable winter garden for post raised bed cold frame in Ukraine dacha and closeup of shovel spade digging
Image credit: Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock

Using a garden spade, follow your hose or chalk line digging down about five inches. It enables you to tweak your border to perfection before digging a trench.

Step Three: Dig a Trench

Once you are satisfied with your mow strip edge, use your spade to break up and remove any sod along your mow strip. Dig a trench around six to eight inches deep and wide enough to lay your bricks or stone pieces.

Step Four: Fill the Base of the Trench

To create a solid mow strip, it is best to begin by adding a one to two-inch layer of sand, followed by a one to two-inch layer of road-base gravel. This provides a sturdy foundation on which to lay your paving materials. Leave enough room to create a level surface with your stones or bricks.

Step Five: Add Your Main Material

While pouring concrete into a mow strip creates a nice, flat surface for your mower, you can up the aesthetic appeal by adding bricks or stones. Ensure you use stones with at least one flat side, adding more sand or gravel beneath to create a level surface. Leave about an inch between your stone pieces and fill the gaps with gravel.

If you are using bricks, lay them side by side as close to each other as possible.

Step Six: Add Concrete or Sand

Use a flexible container such as a recycled yogurt cup to carefully pour a quick-setting concrete mix around your level stone pieces.

For a brick mow strip, use a hand brush to sweep sand over your bricks, ensuring you fill any cracks or gaps.

Step Seven: Wet Your Concrete

Hose nozzle spraying water on plants outdoors on a sunny day.
Image crredit: BIGANDT.COM via Shutterstock

Using a spray nozzle hose attachment, saturate your concrete mix, adding more dry concrete to fix un-level areas. A quick-setting concrete mix usually dries in about 15 minutes, so work quickly if you’d like to embellish your mow strip further!

Step Eight: Embellish

Detail of a beautiful old Venetian ceramic mosaic outside as a decorative background
Image credit:Tetiana Cherkashyna via Shutterstock

Add any decorative items you’d like to display in your mow strip before the concrete sets. Try adding colored beach glass or sparkly stones for a creative twist.

Step Nine: Cover

Three Outdoor Tarps in Different Colors
Image credit:Roca Mharas via Shuttersttock

Keep your concrete damp while it sets by covering it with a layer of sheet plastic or burlap. Wait a full two days before walking on your brand new mow strip!

Enjoy Mowing with Ease

A mowing strip not only pulls your backyard space together but also provides much-needed mowing ease in hard-to-reach places around the perimeter of your lawn.

Use a mow strip to save your surrounding plants and garden beds from mower damage. It will also prevent turf grass and weeds from overtaking your tidy landscaping.

Keep your lawn looking pristine, and enjoy the efficiency and ease of mowing with a mow strip! Let us know if you tried this in the comments below!