Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Edge your Paving!

For all the do-it-yourselfer gardeners out there, this post is a flat-out informational piece in hopes of having you learn from my mistake.  And this particular one concerns the importance of using "paver edging" for your brick paver projects.  Please do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do (did).

About two years back, during my preparation for having my garden appear on the local area Annual Garden Tour, I erected an octagonal gazebo from scratch (kids, don't try that at home!).  Because of the prevailing gale-force winds of Kansas, I erect all outdoor structures with the anticipation that a tornado will appear over the next ridge at any moment, and so my structures are overengineered to last wherever possible; no less so this gazebo which is anchored by eight posts cemented into the ground.  For a floor, since I disdain wooden raised gazebo floors under which snakes and pack rats may breed in private perpetuity, I laid brick pavers for an approximately 10 foot square floor.  I'd had good luck with pavers elsewhere in contained areas, so I knew to place a good sand base down and level the pavers, but I'd never made a free-standing form in the middle of the yard before, and I'd never heard of brick paver edging.  Such are the mistakes made by those who think they can just muddle into the job.

Alas, you can guess that the result was having the bricks at the edge eventually shift away from the center on all the edges, as pictured at left above, leading to an unattractive affront to my in ordnung sensibilities.  Fortunately, the K-State Gardens had recently installed a paver walkway and I had carefully observed the construction and learned of the importance of paver edging.  Paver edging is a simple commercial strip of plastic, "L"-shaped in cross section, that we lay down beneath and along the edges of our paver constructions to prevent just such migrations.  Priced at approximately the weight of the plastic in gold, it should nonetheless be viewed as  a necessity in your paver designs.

The result of a few minutes work yesterday was to lift the bricks at the edge, lay the paver edging and re-square my gazebo floor.  Happily, the Gardening Gods gave me a 60oF November day to make it all work out.  Now, hopefully, a real tornado won't come over the hills and send my gazebo to New York by air mail, but if it does, I have a nice ten-foot square dance floor in the middle of my garden that should hold up to foot traffic for years to come.


  1. Thanks for the reminder on edging brick/stone. I hope you don't lose your gazebo to a tornado, but if it should land in my upstate NY garden I'll be sure to follow your instructions for edging! Jane

  2. testing to see if I reply to this, do I get the reply on email.


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