How to Prevent Having to Trim Around a Fence

The old saying is that good fences make good neighbors.

An afternoon's work of paving reduces many seasons' work trimming along a fence.An afternoon's work of paving reduces many seasons' work trimming along a fence.
A good fence accomplishes a multitude of tasks: It creates a clear boundary between your yard and another's, gives privacy, keeps pets and children within the yard and keeps strangers out. Mowing around a fence can be a problem if you allow the lawn to edge up against the fence, because the grass must be trimmed by hand to give a clean look to the yard. The easy solution is to lay paving stones along the fence line, level with the yard. When the mower cuts close to the fence the wheels go over the pavers, allowing the blade to cut the grass.

Dig a trench along the fence line 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep.

Fill the trench to 2 inches with pea gravel. A 4-inch depression will remain.

Fill the first 3 feet in length with 2 inches of construction sand, starting at the beginning of the trench. Smooth the sand level across the 3-foot length.

Press the first paver block into the sand vigorously. Start at the beginning of the fence line. The block should be about 1/4 inch above the level of the soil of the lawn. If not, take the block out, adjust the level of the sand and try it again. If the paver is seated correctly, move on to the next block. The weight of the paver and the settling of the material underneath it will move it down to be level with the soil over the course of a few weeks.

Add the next paver, leaving 1/4 inch between it and the first paver. Continue to add more sand and pavers until the length is complete.

Go back to the first pavers you laid and carefully dribble sand into the cracks between them. Sweep the sand between the pavers until any air pockets are gone. Continue to do so until all the pavers are complete. The sand and the gaps allow the pavers to shift with the weather without excessive buckling.

Things You Will Need

  • Square-bladed shovel
  • Pea gravel
  • Measuring stick
  • Construction sand
  • 12-inch square paver stones, 2 inches thick

Tip

  • The pea gravel allows drainage from under the pavers. If you live in a dry climate, or if your yard has excellent drainage already you might be able to skip that step. In that case, dig only a 4-inch deep trench.

Warning

  • Before cutting into your grass, especially along a fence line, check with the local utilities for hidden gas, water or cable lines several days before you start. Calling 811 from any location will connect you with the right department.

About the Author

Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.